Seymour Hess

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Seymour Lester Hess
Born(1920-10-27)October 27, 1920
DiedJanuary 15, 1982(1982-01-15) (aged 61)
Alma materBrooklyn College
University of Chicago
Known forHead of meteorology for Viking program
AwardsRobert O. Lawton Distinguished Professorship
Scientific career
FieldsAtmospheric sciences
InstitutionsUnited States Army Air Forces
Lowell Observatory
Florida State University

Seymour Lester Hess (October 27, 1920 – January 15, 1982) was an American meteorologist and planetary scientist.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York. After earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College, in 1943 he entered the University of Chicago as an Army Air Cadet. He completed his master's degree in 1945,[1] then, following his release from military service as a lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces,[2] he became a doctoral student in the meteorology department. In 1948 he explored an interest in planetary meteorology, and spent his time at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona observing Mars.[3] His dissertation was titled, Some Aspects of the Meteorology of Mars.[1] On May 20, 1950, Hess had the unusual distinction of reporting a UFO sighting from Flagstaff, saying it was a bright disk cutting through clouds and "definitely was not an airplane".[4]

In 1950, he joined the newly formed meteorology department at Florida State University, where he would spend the remainder of his career and later twice served as the department chairman. Starting in 1966, he was associate dean at the University for several years.[5] He served as head of the meteorology science team for the Viking landers,[6] and helped design the weather instruments for the Viking 1.[5] On July 21, 1976, he made the first ever extraterrestrial weather report, giving the atmospheric conditions at Chryse Planitia, Mars.[7] In 1978, he received the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professorship, the highest honor awarded by FSU. His work titled Introduction to theoretical meteorology was published in 1959; it was reprinted in 1979. He died from complications following surgery for cancer.[3] In 1983, the Seymour Hess Memorial Symposium was held in his honor by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.[8]


  1. ^ a b Hess, Seymour L. (February 1950). "Some Aspects of the Meteorology of Mars". Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 7 (1): 1–13. Bibcode:1950JAtS....7....1H. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1950)007<0001:SAOTMO>2.0.CO;2.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^ Hess, Seymour (September 1945). "A Statistical Study of the Deepening and Filling of Extratropical Cyclones". Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 2 (3): 179–184. Bibcode:1945JAtS....2..179H. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1945)002<0179:ASSOTD>2.0.CO;2.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  3. ^ a b Baum, W. A. (1985), "Seymour Lester Hess (1920–1982)", in Garry E. Hunt (ed.), Recent advances in planetary meteorology, pp. ix–ix.
  4. ^ Spignesi, Stephen J. (2000). The UFO book of lists. Citadel Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8065-2109-0. Retrieved 2011-07-28.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. ^ a b "In Remembrance: Our Man on Mars". Research In Review. Florida State University. Fall and Winter, 1997. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2011-07-28. Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  6. ^ "Mars Experiments, Science Teams, and Investigators". On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet. 1958–1978. SP–4212. NASA. Archived from the original on 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2011-07-28.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  7. ^ Smith, Arthur E. (1989). Mars: the next step. CRC Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-85274-026-3.
  8. ^ G. E. Hunt, ed. (1985). "Reviews". Geological Magazine. 122: 673–673. doi:10.1017/S0016756800032155.CS1 maint: postscript (link)

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