About ASRC

In 1960, Oscar Lanford, Dean of the New York State College for Teachers at Albany, recruited Vincent Schaefer as a Lecturer in Earth Sciences. This hire was part of the expansion of the science faculty as the College planned for its transformation into the University at Albany, one of four university centers under construction by the State University of New York.

Knowing that they would be developing several graduate level science degree programs, Schaefer, along with Dean Lanford, President Evan Collins, and Eugene McLaren, Science Department chair, began discussing the creation of a research institute dedicated to earth and atmospheric sciences. Schaefer’s original vision for a Mountain Research Center at Whiteface Mountain evolved, in 1961, into the creation of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.”

Vince Schaefer successfully leveraged his political connections and personal charisma to persuade SUNY System Administration, the SUNY Research Foundation, and key members of the New York State Legislature to get approval for the concept of the research center based at Albany that would serve the entire State University system. With leadership from Oscar Lanford, Vince Schaefer began recruiting researchers and developing the blueprint for the ASRC—which was to function in partnership with the Department, while providing an environment for independent research Schaefer and colleagues championed the unexpected opportunities that arise in research, referring to it as ‘serendipity,’ the idea that ‘chance favors the prepared mind.’ Schaefer recruited several of his former colleagues from Project Cirrus, the cloud seeding research program led by Irving Langmuir at General Electric.

Over the next 50 years, ASRC has made significant contributions in many areas of atmospheric science, including:

  • Microphysics of Aerosols and Cloud Droplets
  • General aerosol size distribution studies
  • Fog studies
  • Boundary layer meteorology
  • Environmental and Radiative Energy Exchange Processes
  • Surface-Atmosphere Exchange Phenomena
  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Instrumentation and analytical methods to measure particulate matter
  • Mesoscale meteorological modeling capabilities
  • Climate System Sciences
  • Solar and wind energy studies