Photo of Helmut E. Landsberg

Helmut E. Landsberg

  • National Medal of Science
  • Physical Sciences

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge and the applications of climatology, his furtherance of academic achievement and educational programs in the field; and for the exceptional leadership he gave to the climatological sciences and services of the United States government.

Helmut E. Landsberg may have relentlessly pursued climatology throughout his life, but he was himself a force of nature. He was arguably the most influential climatologist of his generation, and his tireless work has left an indelible mark on his field and the country.

Landsberg used his expertise in meteorology and atmospheric science during World War II to help the U.S. with weather analyses to support the military. Under President Truman, he would go on to influence regulations concerning air pollution and its effects on health.

Landsberg would also tackle public opinion and science education. He was key in developing regional meteorological networks and shifted cultural perceptions about climate.

Perhaps most importantly, Landsberg would ensure the next generation of climatologists and meteorologists were equipped and willing to carry his mantle. His life’s passion was using climatology as a tool for the betterment of society. Even when his science was deeply unpopular, Landsberg persevered through sheer force of will.

By Melissa Ayala