August 29, 1914|
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
April 25, 1997 (aged 82)|
Albany, New York, US
|Alma mater||MIT (B.S., 1936; Ph.D., 1939)|
|Known for||atmospheric chemistry, cloud seeding, atmospheric electricity and lightning|
|Fields||Atmospheric sciences, chemical engineering|
|Institutions||General Electric Research Laboratory, SUNY-Albany|
Bernard Vonnegut (August 29, 1914 – April 25, 1997) was an American atmospheric scientist credited with discovering that silver iodide could be used effectively in cloud seeding to produce snow and rain. He was the older brother of American novelist Kurt Vonnegut.
Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to architect Kurt Vonnegut Sr (November 24, 1884 – October 1, 1957), partner in the firm of Vonnegut, Wright & Yeager, and homemaker Edith Sophia Lieber (d. May 14, 1944). He was named after his grandfather, architect Bernard Vonnegut Sr, co-founder of the firm of Vonnegut & Bohn. He attended Park School (Indianapolis, Indiana) and earned a B.S. in chemistry (1936) and Ph.D. in physical chemistry (1939) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1945, Vonnegut went to work at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. It was there, on November 14, 1946, that he discovered that silver iodide could be used as a nucleating agent to seed clouds. Seeding clouds involves inserting large quantities of a nucleating agent into clouds to facilitate the formation of ice crystals. The intent of this process is to cause the clouds to produce rain or snow. Rain- and snow-making companies still use silver iodide as a nucleating agent in seeding clouds.
Vonnegut left General Electric in 1952 and went to work at Arthur D. Little, Inc. In 1967, Vonnegut became a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University at Albany, The State University of New York. He was named a professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1985.
- "Biographical on Kurt Vonnegut, Sr." Archived 2011-04-11 at the Wayback Machine. Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy; Culver, Marshall, Indiana
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2004-11-24.
- Shields, Charles (2011). And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life. Macmillan. p. 93. ISBN 9781429973793.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (27 April 1997). "Bernard Vonnegut, 82, Physicist Who Coaxed Rain From the Sky". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-25. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- Genealogical Biography with photo
- Professional biography - University at Albany website
- Bernard Vonnegut's obituary, The New York Times, April 27, 1997
- Bernard Vonnegut on IMDb