Genesis of the International Geophysical Year



The plan for a third International Polar Year, later broadened in scope and renamed the International Geophysical Year 1957–1958, originated on April 5, 1950, at a small dinner party of geophysicists at my home at 1105 Meurilee Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland. The basic concept was put forward by Lloyd V. Berkner. He and Sydney Chapman were principally responsible for developing and enlarging the concept to a persuasive level of detail and potential implementation, with the help of suggestions by others present: Ernest H. Vestine, J. Wallace Joyce, S. Fred Singer, my wife, Abigail, and myself. I will give a brief account of the context within which this meeting occurred and of the evening's discussion.