Battan, Louis J

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Louis Battan


Louis Joseph Battan 1923 (Italy) - 1986


Louis Joseph Battan was an American atmospheric scientist who was born in northern Italy and immigrated to the United States with his parents, Anibale and Louise Battan. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1953, where he was hired to work in the field of the physics of clouds and precipitation. In 1958 he was appointed professor of meteorology and associate director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He was a pioneer in cloud physics and radar meteorology.

Along with his colleague and close friend, Dr. David Atlas, Dr. Battan underwent rigorous training in radar engineering and meteorology in the U.S. Army Air Corps, at Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during World War II. He received his B.S. from New York University (NYU) in 1946 and then moved to the University of Chicago where he obtained his M.S. and a Ph.D. in 1953. During the Thunderstorm Project (1946–48), Dr. Battan used radar analysis to show precipitation initiation from coalescence in midlatitude convective clouds. He, along with Dr. Roscoe Braham Jr. and Dr. Horace R. Byers, conducted one of the first randomized experiments on cloud modification by the artificial nucleation of cumulus clouds.[citation needed]

After obtaining his Ph.D., he remained at Chicago until 1958. Then he became a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Institute for Atmospheric Physics, University of Arizona, and served as its director from 1973 to 1982. There he conducted research on clouds, precipitation processes, lightning, and radar relationships. He led the development of the first 3-cm Doppler weather radar to measure vertical motion and particle sizes in thunderstorms in 1964.[citation needed]

He was the American Meteorological Society (AMS) president from 1966 to 1967 and served on numerous national and international committees including the U.S. President's National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere in 1978. He was instrumental in the founding of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He received many awards including the AMS Meisinger Award in 1962 and the AMS Half Century Award in 1975.

He has been honored by the AMS with the establishment of two annual "Louis J. Battan Author's Awards"

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Louis Battan made fundamental contributions to the understanding of storm clouds and formation of rainfalls. He was a pioneer in the use of radar for the measurement of rainfalls.

Reference Material[edit]

Source: Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences

Source: Louis J. Battan Wikipedia Page

Major Publications[edit]


  • 1964. The nature of violent storms (La Naturaleza de las Tormentas, en español, EUDEBA). 158 pp.
  • 1980. The unclean sky; a meteorologist looks at air pollution. 153 pp.
  • 1962 Cloud physics and cloud seeding, Anchor Books, Garden City, NY
  • 1969. Harvesting the Clouds: Advances in Weather Modification. 148 pp.
  • 1984. Fundamentals of Meteorology.
  • 1983. Weather in Your Life. 230 pp. ISBN 0-7167-1437-X
  • 1959 Radar meteorology, University of Chicago Press
  • 1973 Radar observation of the atmosphere, University of Chicago Press
  • 1974 Weather. Foundations of Earth Science Series. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0139477624.
  • 1964 The Thunderstorm, Signet Science Library
  • 1978. The Weather. Omega Ed. 144 pp.. ISBN 84-282-0436-5
  • 2003. Cloud Physics: A Popular Introduction to Applied Meteorology. 160 pp.


AMS "Louis J. Battan Author's Awards"