Founder of Mauna Loa Observatory Celebrates His 100th Birthday

Dr. Robert Simpson, who founded the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s best-known atmospheric monitoring station, recently celebrated his 100th birthday in Washington, D.C. He also served as the first director of the National Hurricane Center.

In 1948 Simpson supervised the construction of an unmanned weather station atop Mauna Loa. The station began collecting data in 1951 but was abandoned a few years later because maintaining the road to the summit proved too difficult. Later, a chance meeting with Ralph Stair, a scientist who was attempting to measure the intensity of light from the sun, would lead directly to Simpson’s founding Mauna Loa Observatory.

Simpson wrote the Foreword to Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere, by Forrest M. Mims III, published by UH Press in 2011.