Bernard Vonnegut, Ice-17, Ice-9, chicken-plucking, and tornadoes

Bernard Vonnegut, that most surprising atmospheric scientist, gets appreciated in an Italian-language essay called “Ice Numbers“, by Franco Bagnoli of the University of Florence, published in Ciencia y Cultura. Here’s a machine translation of bits of Bagnoli’s essay: At the end of 2016, at the Institute of Complex Systems of the CNR in Florence, Italy, a new […]

Building protective high, high walls along Tornado Alley

A bold physicist is about to present his plan — a bold plan — to build gigantic walls to protect people and property against tornadoes. The physicist is none other than Rongjia Tao, chair of the physics department at Temple University. Here’s notice about his planned announcement: Session Q30: The Physics of Climate 2:30 PM–5:06 PM, Wednesday, March 5, […]

How does one measure the wind speed inside a tornado?

How does one measure the wind speed inside a tornado? Bernie Vonnegut looked back at an early state-of-the-art method, and wrote a report called “Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed” [published in “Weatherwise,” October 1975, p. 217]. Vonnegut told the world why that early method, which involved a chicken carcass and a cannon, may have […]

Blowing the feathers off a chicken

In a 1975 monograph called Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed, Bernard Vonnegut considers what might happen to a dead chicken if it were fired from a cannon. He explains: “One way of estimating the wind in a tornado vortex is to determine by experiment what air speed is required to blow all […]