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Distributed for American Meteorological Society

A Scientific Peak

How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science

Distributed for American Meteorological Society

A Scientific Peak

How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science

Scroll through a list of the latest incredible scientific discoveries and you might find an unexpected commonality—Boulder, Colorado. Once a Wild West city tucked where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains, it is now home to some of the biggest names in science. Research centers, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are based there, while IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace would come to reside alongside a dynamic start-up community.

A Scientific Peak chronicles Boulder’s meteoric rise to eventually become “America’s Smartest City” and a leader in space and atmospheric sciences. In just two decades following World War II, a tenacious group of researchers, supported by groups from local citizenry to the State of Colorado, managed to convince the US government and some of the world’s scientific pioneers to make Boulder a center of the new space age. Joseph P. Bassi introduces us to the characters, from citizens to scientists, and the mix of politics, passion, and sheer luck at the start of Boulder’s transformation from “Scientific Siberia” to the research mecca it is today.

296 pages | 20 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2015

Earth Sciences: Meteorology

History: General History

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"Goes beyond a simply recounting of history to explore how the changing world of sponsorship and funding contributed to Boulder's development as a scientific mecca and arguing that local citizens were as responsible as Uncle Sam."

Daily Camera

“This is fundamentally a history of a ‘city of knowledge,’ but not in the way that planned cities of the Cold War era emerged in such places as Los Alamos, New Mexico, or the ‘Research Triangle’ of North Carolina. . . . In the end, a combination of capital, leaders, skilled workers, and institutions—supported by sufficient capital investment largely from the federal government— succeeded in establishing a ‘mecca’ of scientific investigation and output. . . . It is a story of progress, writ large. . . . A Scientific Peak makes an important contribution by laying out the creation of a climate science community. I welcome its publication.”

Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution | Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms
List of Archives Consulted
1 Introduction
2 Sun-Earth Science Arrives in Colorado
3 From Leadville to Boulder
4 A Scientific Peak Begins to Develop in Boulder
5 “Nothing but a Fundraiser”
6 Global Science in One Place
7 An Atmosphere of Change
8 NCAR and Boulder’s Entry into the “Environmental Era”
9 Conclusion

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