G. M. B. Dobson

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George Dobson
Born George Miller Bourne Dobson
(1889-02-25)25 February 1889
Died 11 March 1975(1975-03-11) (aged 86)
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Known for Dobson ozone spectrophotometer
Awards FRS (1927)
Scientific career
Institutions University of Oxford

Gordon Miller Bourne Dobson FRS[1] (25 February 1889 – 11 March 1975) was a British physicist and meteorologist who did important work on ozone.[2][3]


He was educated at Sedbergh School and Caius College, Cambridge where he graduated with an Ordinary MA (Cantab and Oxon). He was later awarded DSc (Oxon).[4]

Research and career[edit]

He was appointed University Lecturer in Meteorology, Oxford. By studying meteorites he noticed that the temperature profile of the tropopause was not constant, as had previously been believed (hence the name stratosphere). In fact there was, he showed, a region where the temperature sharply rose. This, he proposed, was happening because UV radiation was heating ozone in what has become known as the ozone layer. He noted the connection between sunspots and weather, and measured the ultraviolet levels of our star.[5] He built the first Dobson ozone spectrophotometers and studied the results over many years. The Dobson unit, a unit of measurement of vertically integrated atmospheric ozone density, is named after him. The Brewer-Dobson circulation is a semi-eponymous model of atmospheric currents that explains the distribution of ozone by latitude.

Awards and honours[edit]

Dobson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1927,[1] awarded their Rumford Medal in 1932 and delivered their Bakerian lecture in 1945.[6]

He served as president of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1947 to 1949 [7] and was awarded their prestigious Symons Gold Medal for 1938. He was made CBE in 1951.


  1. ^ a b Houghton, John T.; Walshaw, C. D. (1977). "Gordon Miller Bourne Dobson. 25 February 1889 -- 11 March 1976". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 23 (0): 40–57. ISSN 0080-4606. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1977.0003. 
  2. ^ Dobson G. M. B. (1968). "40 Years Research on Atmospheric Ozone at Oxford - A History" (PDF). Applied Optics. 7 (3): 387–405. Bibcode:1968ApOpt...7..387D. PMID 20068600. doi:10.1364/AO.7.000387. 
  3. ^ Dobson G. M. B. (1973). "The laminated structure of the ozone in the atmosphere". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 99 (422): 599–607. doi:10.1256/smsqj.42201. 
  4. ^ G.M.B.Dobson Archived 2006-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/104/725/252.full.pdf
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 20 December 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Presidents of the Society". Royal Meteorological Society. Retrieved 20 December 2010.