Today in 1920, the birthday of Ted Fujita, a pioneer in meteorology who was so revered by colleagues he became known as “Mr. Tornado.”
He was born Tetsuya Fujita in Japan.
His formal training was in engineering, but he was interested in many fields of science, especially the science of storms.
Fujita had a knack for spotting details about tornadoes, really useful ones that had often been hiding in plain sight.
Up to that point, science didn’t know a ton about how tornadoes formed, moved and caused damage.
After a tornado, Fujita would walk through the path of the storm and document everything he could about what had happened.
This kind of damage survey is common after big storms today.
It’s work that Fujita first did in Japan, in the aftermath of the atomic bombs of World War II.
In studying storms, Fujita solved a lot of mysteries about the conditions that lead to tornadoes and the elements of a tornado, like how many tornadoes have more than one vortex.
This work not only gave us new insight into tornadoes, it gave us new language to describe them too.
If you’ve ever heard someone talk about an EF-5 tornado, that stands for Enhanced Fujita Scale.
And Mr. Tornado kept making important discoveries.
Later in his career, he discovered the weather phenomenon known as microbursts, that had been causing some airplanes to drop out of the sky but were also small enough that they didn’t show up on radar.
Fujita’s findings helped the industry develop pre-flight safety checks that have kept planes safe from microbursts for decades.
These discoveries were big leaps forward for science, but they were also really practical ones, discoveries that saved lives and kept people safe in severe weather.
And Ted Fujita was proud of them.
He said that after discovering microbursts, any time he was on a plane he would insist on going into the cockpit with the pilots to watch them check for microbursts.
He said, “I listen for that wind-shear check and smile.”
You’ve heard of milk and cookies, but how about milk and manga?
A group of Japanese companies is trying to encourage youngsters to drink their milk by printing comic strips around milk bottles.
But they’re printed in white, so the only way to see the whole story is to drink the whole bottle.
And just like that, we have a whole generation of cows who love manga.
Today in 1920, the birthday of Ted Fujita, a pioneer in meteorology who was so revered by colleagues he became known as “Mr. Tornado.” Plus: a group of Japanese companies is trying to encourage youngsters to drink their milk by printing manga around milk bottles.
Pioneering research by late UChicago scholar Ted Fujita saved thousands of lives (University of Chicago)