How Americans Came to Watch the Weather Like Pilots

Science on Tap
Monday, October 10, 2022
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
National Mechanics
22 South 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States


Weatherman cartoon

Cartoon by Bo Brown, in Sparring with the Weather, by Robert N. Buck (booklet published by Aero Insurance Underwriters, 1940).

Courtesy of Roger Turner

Science on Tap returns to National Mechanics for our October event! Seats are available first come, first served.

Say “meteorologist” and most Americans will think of a TV weatherman. But digging into the invention of the television weather report reveals the surprising influence of aviation on modern atmospheric science. Talking to pilots during World War II transformed how meteorologists talk to the rest of us, especially once they learned how well pilots responded to cartoons and humor.

Lots of rarely seen images illustrate this talk about flying, the moods of clouds, and the bitter struggle by male meteorologists to keep women out of the weather report.

Science on Tap will return to a virtual format for November’s event. If you’re feeling sick on October 10, we ask that you please stay home and join us online next month.


Roger Turner headshot

Roger Turner.

Science History Institute/Jay Muhlin

About the Speaker

As the Institute’s curator of instruments and artifacts, Roger Turner studies how our daily lives are affected by the invisible work of nerds. He is an historian and storyteller with expertise in 20th-century atmospheric science, scientific instruments, and environmental monitoring.

About the Series

Science on Tap is a monthly virtual speaker series that features brief, informal presentations by Philadelphia-based scientists and other experts followed by lively conversation and a Q&A. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people. Come join the conversation!