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Windswept – Research at the Observatory - A History of Survival

The story of the scientific endeavor at the core of the Observatory's mission. By Guy Gosselin

photo
Guy Gosselin tending to salad crops grown for Sylvania in the cellar bunkroom. Circa 1970

The origin of the Observatory has been treated in detail in previous issues of the millenium volume of this publication. It is important, however, to stress the extent to which science was at the core of its formation. Early observers may have been motivated equally by the adventure involved in an extended stay on the summit, but the bulk of the impetus and support necessary to ensure a winter-long occupation came from those who believed that the expedition of 1932-33, as part of the overall scientific effort of the International Polar Year Commission, could add something significant to the existing body of polar and alpine knowledge.

It is particularly important to note that Joe Dodge, who had long wanted to indulge in the adventurous aspect of reoccupying the summit of Mount Washington, was very serious about the scientific benefit of recording weather on Mount Washington. He had become a member of the American Meteorological Society, and was already involved in taking readings at Pinkham and throughout the hut system, and believed that the dawning of the International Polar Year was propitious for his dream.

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