Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Lally, Vincent E.


Vincent Lally, a retiree of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), holds degrees in meteorology, electronic engineering, and engineering administration from the University of Chicago and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He first became involved with balloons as an Army Air Corps meteorologist and radar officer during World War II in Saipan, where he tracked radiosonde balloons to measure winds over the Pacific Ocean. He came to NCAR in 1961 at the invitation of the center's first director, Walter Orr Roberts, to establish a National Scientific Balloon Flight Facility. The first launch facility, located in Palestine, Texas, is still in business, although it is now operated by NASA.

Lally worked at NCAR as a manager and senior scientist until his retirement in 1991. He was involved in a program to develop long- duration superpressure balloons to make atmospheric measurements over the Southern Hemisphere. He helped launch the first balloon to circumnavigate the world in 1965, while simultaneously developing instruments to measure and transmit atmospheric data back to scientists on the ground.

Some of his other projects over the years included balloon-borne instruments for sampling the atmosphere, systems that use an inverted balloon to act as a ballast for a superpressure balloon, a shipboard launching system, a sounding system for wind data research, and coatings to shed water off the outside surface of balloons. He also promoted the use of Global Positioning System technology for superpressure balloons. Since his retirement, he has continued to provide NCAR with technical advice.

In 1990, the American Meteorological Society honored Lally with the Cleveland Abbe Award for distinguished service to the atmospheric sciences by an individual.
Author: UCAR Communications

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) Records

Identifier:  - GARP
Scope and Contents The Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) called for an international effort that would be spread over a decade and aimed at greatly increasing knowledge of the global behavior of the atmosphere. A global observing system and a series of field programs and computer experiments were planned as part of the Program with the goal of extending the range of large-scale weather forecasts beyond the then limit of three to five days.The GARP Records include budget information,...

Vincent E. Lally Papers

Identifier:  - 04-VEL
Scope and Contents The Vincent E. Lally papers document over thirty years of using high-altitude balloons in the atmospheric sciences. Dr. Lally's papers include the many projects he oversaw as well as his work at the National Scientific Balloon Facility. These papers include correspondence, research notebooks, data, maps, graphs, photographs, and films. Selections from Dr. Lally's papers are available online.