Investigating the Weather
from Aristotle to Ozone

20 Nov 2012 – 7 Apr 2013

An exhibition by the Museum of the History of Science in collaboration with Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics and the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

Everyone wants to predict the weather. Farmers, mariners, aviators and generals depend on it, and it affects us all. Yet understanding and prediction have always been an extreme challenge, troubling ancient philosophers as well as contemporary meteorologists and climate scientists.

This exhibition focuses not on weather events themselves – the sunshine, wind, clouds and rain of daily experience – but on how these events have been investigated. Meteorology’s long history has resulted in a huge range of devices for measurement and prediction. These instruments and observations provided the historical foundation for the intense current concern with global climate.

‘Atmospheres’ draws on the Museum’s collection, featuring many objects never previously displayed. It also includes material preserved in the University’s science departments, providing Oxford examples of the broader development of meteorology from ancient origins to modern space science.

>> MHS objects in the exhibition.

From Travels in the Air by James Glaisher (1871)