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Philip Duncan Thompson Papers

Identifier:  - 06-PDT

Scope and Contents

These papers document the career of Philip Duncan Thompson (1922-1994), whose research focused on the large-scale dynamics of the atmosphere, numerical weather prediction, and the statistical theory of hydrodynamic turbulence. The materials cover his career as a regular officer in the United States Air Force in meteorology beginning in World War II, continuing at the Institute for Advanced Study's Electronic Computer Project, the Air Force Cambridge Research Labs, the Joint Numerical Weather Prediction Unit, MIT, and the University of Stockholm. Much of the collection documents his critical administrative work for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he served in many directorial positions. The papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, speeches and lectures, articles and manuscript drafts, teaching materials, notes and calculations, clippings, awards, printed matter, photographs, oral histories, and other materials.


  • Creation: 1944-1990s
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1960-1989
  • Other: Date acquired: 19940900


Conditions Governing Access

Some materials in the collection are restricted, contact the Archivist for access. Select materials in the Financial and Correspondence/Memoranda subseries and the Personal series are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


33.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arrangement is by material type. The collection consists of ten series in twenty-two boxes: Series I: NCAR/UCAR Subseries A: Administration Subseries B: Board and committee materials Subseries C: Financial materials Subseries D: Reports Subseries E: Program/Project files Subseries F: Research files Subseries G: Meetings and conferences Subseries H: Trips Series II: United States Air Force Subseries A: Miscellaneous Subseries B: Orders Subseries C: Reports Subseries D: Trips Series III: Personal Subseries A: Education Subseries B: Biographical materials Series IV: Correspondence and memorandum Series V: Presentations and speeches Series VI: Publications Series VII: Organizations Subseries A: AMS Sub-subseries 1: Presidency materials Sub-subseries 2: Committee materials Sub-subseries 3: Conference materials Subseries B: NASA Subseries C: CAS Subseries D: WMO Series VIII: Raw data Subseries A: Charts and graphs Subseries B: Calculations and equations Subseries C: MIZZI printouts Series IX: Visual materials Subseries A: Photographs Subseries B: Awards Subseries C: Oral histories Series X: Miscellaneous Subseries A: Press releases/Newsletters Subseries B: Reports Subseries C: Subject files Subseries D: Unidentified materials

Physical Access Requirements

The collection must be viewed in the Archives during normal business hours.

Custodial History

The majority of materials were transferred from Thompson's NCAR office to the Archives. Some other materials were retained and stored by the family until they were donated in 2000.

Source of Acquisition

NCAR Climate and Global Dynamics Division

Method of Acquisition

Materials were collected from Thompson's NCAR office after his death in 1994. Additional materials were donated by Thompson's family in 2000.

Appraisal Information

Publications were examined for Thompson's handwritten notes. Those containing his notes were retained, all others were discarded. Copies of photographs beyond 1 copy, copies of documents beyond 2 copies, and routine correspondence were discarded.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

The Papers of Philip Duncan Thompson is related to many collections in the NCAR Archives due to the natural relationship of NCAR records. Some related materials in the NCAR Archives include the Records of the Climate and Global Dynamics Division (CGD) and the UCAR/NCAR Oral History Project.

Processing Information

Processing was completed in December 2009. Upon acquisition, materials had little order.

Materials were re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents were interleaved with acid-free paper as needed and visual materials were housed in archival sleeves. Metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips when needed. Folded materials were un-folded and flattened when possible.

Correspondence materials are arranged by the sender.  When the sender sent two or more pieces of communication, those materials were placed in their own folder and titled by the sender's name. All other correspondence was arranged alphabetically in one folder and labeled "A-Z."

Materials are arranged by type and folders are arranged alphabetically by title. Oversize materials are located in box 22, arranged by type and then alphabetically.

Diane Rabson revised by Colleen M. McCorkell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Archives Repository