Joanne Simpson

Joanne Simpson (March 23, 1923 – March 4, 2010) was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology, and throughout her career at Woods Hole Institute (WHOI) and at NASA, she made fundamental contributions to provide quantitative mechanisms for atmospheric convection, clouds, and precipitation. She was among the pioneers of modern research on tropical clouds and hurricanes. She was among the first to develop numerical models of a cumulus cloud and wrote seminal papers on the role of “hot towers”, convective clouds, in maintaining the trade wind circulation, and on aspects of hurricane dynamics.

Major awards: 1954 – 1962 – American Meteorological Society (AMS) Melsinger Award; 1967 – Department of Commerce Silver Medal; 1968 – Elected fellow of the AMS; 1983 – the AMS Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal; 1988 – elected to the National Academy of Engineering; 1994 – elected fellow of the AGU; 2002 – International Meteorological Organization Prize from the World Meteorological Organization.