Louis J. Battan papers

MS 682
Early Doppler Radar mounted on a plane for weather analysis during WWII's Project Thunderstorm

Early Doppler Radar mounted on a plane for weather analysis during WWII's Project Thunderstorm.

Collection area: History of Science

Collection dates: 1946 to 1986

About this collection

Papers, 1946-1986, of Louis J. Battan, atmospheric scientist, author, and University of Arizona professor for 28 years. Well-known for this research on radar meteorology and cloud physics, Dr. Battan was an authority on weather modifications in the Soviet Union. He contributed much to the study of thunderstorms, hailstorms, and tornadoes. Includes research project files detailing Battan’s involvement in weather-related projects at both the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona; publications and other manuscripts written by Dr. Battan, primarily on topics regarding weather phenomenon and cloud physics; meetings, conferences, and lecture files outlining Battan’s presentations before various scientific and professional societies; organization’s files pertaining to his membership, leadership, and scientific and advisory committee work in professional organizations; and supplemental papers dealing primarily with evaluations of Arizona cloud seeding and other cloud seeding projects, along with correspondence with varied individuals. The bulk of Dr. Battan’s papers pertain to research and organizations from 1946-1986.

Historical background

Louis J. Battan, born February 9, 1923 in New York City, was a prominent atmospheric scientist, author, and University of Arizona professor. Married to his wife Jeanette until his death, he had two children.

He attended New York City College in 1941, and transferred to New York University in 1943 to study mechanical engineering. In 1944, he joined the Army Air Force and was sent to Harvard and M.I.T. to study electronics and radar use; he was then commissioned as radar weather operator. After being discharged from active duty in 1946, Battan returned to NYU and earned his B.S. in meteorology. He worked for the Weather Bureau at the University of Chicago as a research meteorologist on the Thunderstorm Project until 1951. While there, he received his Master’s in meteorology in 1949, and his Ph.D. in 1953. He lectured at the University of Chicago from 1951 to 1958. In 1958, Dr. Battan came to the University of Arizona as the associate director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and as a professor of meteorology. In 1973, he became the head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and served as director of the institute until 1982. He taught classes there until his death in 1986.

Dr. Battan was involved in the National Academy of Sciences, serving in various positions relating to Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysics from 1973 to 1981. He was also involved in the American Geophysical Union, serving as president of the Meteorological Section for 1974-1976, and as chairman of the U.S. National Committee of the International Association on Geodesy and Geophysics for 1980-1984. He was president of the American Meteorology Society for 1966-1967, serving in other positons within the organization as well, and was chairman of the Planning Commission for 12 years. He also helped found the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Battan died on October 29, 1986.

Access this collection

Visit us in person to access materials from this collection. Our materials are one-of-a-kind and require special care, so they can’t be checked out or taken home.

How to cite

Learn how to cite and use materials from Special Collections in your research.