News Release

Annotated photos highlight long-term international collaboration in atmospheric sciences

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Group Photos 1921 and 2016

image: Named participants at expert meetings in July 1921 (top) and November 2016 (bottom) view more 

Credit: University of Bergen Library (top) & Hans Volkert (bottom)

International cooperation is an essential prerequisite for long-term success in atmospheric sciences, an enterprise of global scale by its very nature. Knowledgeable scholars from many countries, and through them also their home institutions, have been taking part in focused workshops for more than a century. Group photographs from such occasions are regarded as visual datasets, the value of which is much enhanced if full names and national context of the participants are displayed as well.

In a recent contribution to the "News & Views" section of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, Hans Volkert (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt [DLR], Germany) briefly recalls the gradual development of organized voluntary cooperation in atmospheric sciences under the auspices of non-governmental as well as inter-governmental bodies, as, respectively, the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which tend to structures their work in technical commissions. Annotated group photographs from two workshops, separated by no less than 95 years, are presented and discussed alongside a number of references to other examples in the accessible literature.

"We should never forget that scientific research does not constitute an abstract aim, but it is always undertaken by people for people. 'Putting faces to names' underscores the human(e) dimension of scientific endeavours" says Volkert. The article should also be of interest to colleagues from history of science and sociology.


Dr. Hans Volkert was the Secretary General of International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) during 2007-2015. In June 2015, he was appointed by the Council of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), as chair of the IUGG Working Group on History (WGH), which has the Union's centenary in 2019 as a special target for its activities.

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