Celebrating Black History Month – Charles E. Anderson

Celebrating Black History Month – Charles E. Anderson

The SoM is proud to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of some of our field’s most important names.

We begin with Charles E. Anderson (1919 – 1994): Born in 1919, Charles Edward Anderson was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology. That degree was from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960.

For his original meteorological training, Dr. Anderson attended the Army Air Forces Meteorological Aviation Cadet Program at the University of Chicago in 1943 and was assigned to the Tuskegee Army Airfield weather detachment. Anderson served as a weather officer at several Army Air Force bases around the US until his release from active duty in 1948.

From 1961-65, Dr. Anderson worked at the Atmospheric Science Branch of Douglas Aircraft Company, California. He served as Director of the Office of Federal Coordination in Meteorology in the Environmental Science Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 1965 to 1966.

From 1967 to 1969, Charles Anderson was appointed as Professor of Space Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. From 1966 – 1987, Professor Anderson served as the Professor of Meteorology and Chairman of Contemporary Trends Course and in 1970, Professor Anderson was appointed Professor of Afro-American Studies and Chairman of the Meteorology Department. In 1978 Professor Anderson was elevated to Associate Dean at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr. Anderson was a professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, from 1987 until he retired in 1990. He was a major contributor to a program at the university that has received national recognition for its forecasting of severe storms. In addition to his dissertation for MIT, he did pioneering work in reducing contrails of high-altitude jet aircraft as well as work focused on cloud and aerosol physics and meteorology of other planets.

Taken from the AMS page for his namesake award.