The Verner E. Suomi Award

The Verner E. Suomi Award

Verner E. Suomi (1915–1995)

Verner E. Suomi is considered the father of satellite meteorology.

Suomi was born in Eveleth, Minnesota and received his first degree from Winona Teachers College.  He taught high school science and later, went on to attend the University of Chicago, earning a PhD degree in 1953.

By 1948, Suomi was among the earliest faculty members of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Together with Robert Parent, in 1965, Suomi founded the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), which designed the first satellite to provide weather imagery from a geostationary orbit.  It was named the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-1), included a Spin Scan Radiometer, and was launched on 6 December 1966.  Suomi also was a leader in the development of McIDAS (Man-computer Interactive Data Access System) in 1972, displaying the images produced by his satellites such as SMS-1 in 1974.

On January 24, 2012, NASA renamed a recently launched NPP Earth monitoring satellite after Dr. Suomi.  On that occasion, John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said that "Verner Suomi's many scientific and engineering contributions were fundamental to our current ability to learn about Earth's weather and climate from space".