Haurwitz, Bernard

views updated


HAURWITZ, BERNARD (1905–1986), U.S. physical scientist. Haurwitz was born in Glogau, Germany, and studied mathematics and science at the Universities of Breslau and Gottingen before getting his Ph.D. in geophysics at the University of Leipzig under the supervision of Ludwig Weickmann (1931). After a lectureship in Leipzig (1931–32), he visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit) and the California Institute of Technology. Electing not to return to Nazi Germany, he worked at the University of Toronto as a Carnegie Institution fellow (1935–37) and with the Canadian Meteorological Service (1937–41). He returned to mit as associate professor (1941–47) before moving to New York University as professor and chairman of the newly formed meteorology department and research associate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He moved to Boulder, Colorado, initially as professor of geophysics at the University of Colorado and research associate at the High Altitude Observatory (1959–64), and then to the National Center for Atmospheric Research to direct the Advanced Study Program (1964–67). On retirement (1976) he became senior research associate. During the period 1964–85 he was also research associate and then visiting professor at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Haurwitz's research interests centered on dynamic meteorology, defined as the application of mathematics and physics to studying the atmosphere and ocean tides. He was a theoretician who also excelled in precise observation and analysis. He made major contributions to analyzing the physical state of the upper atmosphere and its effects on ocean tides, the influence of solar activity on the atmosphere, and the nature of noctilucent clouds which form at very high altitudes and usually at high latitudes. His work had practical applications to weather forecasting, of particular importance during World War ii. Haurwitz was a renowned teacher and his papers and books are models of clarity. His honors included election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1960), the Carl-Gustaf-Rossby Award of the American Meteorological Society (1962), and the Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Union (1972). He served on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Haurwitz was twice married, the second time to the scientist Marion Wood. He was passionate about hiking and skiing, activities that largely influenced his choice of working location. He died in Fort Collins, Colorado.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]