Monday, September 24, 2007

My favorite things: Dr. Ted Fujita

Posted By on 09.24.07 at 01:02 PM

Former U. of C. prof Dr. Ted Fujita, one of the most innovative meteorologists of the past century, is most famous for the Fujita Scale, which gives tornadoes the F0-F5 ratings you're probably familiar with. But perhaps his most innovative discovery was the discovery of microbursts, small, fast-moving columns of air that are notorious for bringing down planes and trees.

In 1945, Fujita, still in his native Japan, did aerial surveys of the damage left by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, where he observed the starburst pattern left by such a violent, downward force that he would later correlate with microbursts. The Nagasaki bomb, incidentally, was originally intended for Kokura Terminal, three miles from where Fujita was living at the time, but it was redirected to Nagasaki because of weather.

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