Fifty Years Later


  • Anders Persson Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute


In 1974 I had the privilege of meeting and talking to Jacob (Jack) Bjerknes in Bergen, Norway, a city immortalized in the history of meteorology thanks to the "school" that Jack and his father founded in 1917. We were in Bergen for the 9th Nordic Meteorologist Meeting (NMM9), held every two years in one of the Scandinavian nations on a rotating basis. This was during a rare spell of dry and sunny weather, unusual for this part of rainy western Norway, and the hosts had invited two of their most legendary meteorologists: Bjerknes, who had come all the way from Los Angeles and Sverre Petterssen who was supposed to come from London. But these were the times of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, and Sverre Petterssen had renounced his U.S. citizenship in an angry letter to the White House (Petterssen, 2001). Stateless and thus without any passport, he could therefore not leave the UK.