The Weather's Face

Features of science in the story of Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Bergen school of meteorology

By Ralph Jewell

In The Weather's Face the philosopher Ralph Jewell creates a fascinating and compelling portrait of Vilhelm Bjerknes, an internationally prominent Norwegian physicist, who today is largely remembered for developing the Bergen School of Meteorology. Drawing copiously on Bjerknes's letters and writings, most of them translated into English for the first time, Jewell's telling of the Bjerknes story has a poetic immediacy that enthrals the reader. Through Bjerknes's experiences and thoughts, as well as Jewell's own reflections derived from a profound understanding of the history and philosophy of science, the reader learns about the making and living of science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, crucial aspects that are now often neglected or underestimated: the role of the individual, of personality and creative inspiration, of communicative style spoken and written, of community and team-building, and of mediating intellectual leadership. In all these aspects Vilhelm Bjerknes embodied special qualities and abilities that enabled him (and his co-workers) to achieve remarkable scientific successes, most especially a method of viewing and understanding weather behaviour, which laid the groundwork for scientific prediction of that intractable natural phenomenon. *** Jewell's sensitive and thoughtful account is a stimulating contribution to the history and philosophy of modern science and culture in Norway, Europe and North America, and not least in Bergen. I enthusiastically recommend his work to both specialists and non-specialists."--William H. Hubbard, Professor Emeritus, Concordia U. (Montreal) and U. of Bergen (Norway) [Subject: Meterology & Climatology, Earth Science]

Publication Date: 9/1/2017
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788245014419