Inventor of Cloud Seeding Process:
Vincent Joseph Schaefer(1906-1993)
Humanity has dreamed of controlling the rain since the first ancient tribes made appeals to their weather gods.
The man who made it real, who took the first small step toward scientific weather modification, was Vincent Joseph Schaefer.(image left)
As a teenager, Schaefer dropped out of school to support his family.
He worked several odd jobs and studied tree surgery before getting a position as a machinist for General Electric.
Schaefer managed to transfer to GE's research department, where the great Nobel-winning chemist Irving Langmuir (image at right) (1881-1957) took Schaefer under his wing.
Langmuir and his protégé worked together on a number of projects in GE's lab during World War II, including machines for producing smoke that could conceal troops.
They also studied clouds to figure out how ice forms on airplane wings. Schaefer had a lifelong fascination with snowflakes, and he used a home freezer in the GE lab to create miniature clouds.
In the summer of 1946, Schaefer accidentally created precipitation in his freezer by adding "dry ice" (frozen carbon dioxide).
On November 13, 1946, Schaefer duplicated his experiment on a grand scale, dumping several pounds of dry ice pellets from an airplane into a cloud over Mount Greylock in Massachusetts -- resulting in the first snowstorm induced by man.