Monday, October 24, 2005

A letter from Forrest M. Mims III

I received this e-mail from Forrest M. Mims III on 24 October 2005, indicating it was sent on 22 October:

On 12 October 2005 your blog included this,

"Finally, for what it's worth, I note that Forrest M, Mims, who's listed as an "Atmospheric Researcher," is primarily a popular _electronics writer_ ( , and that the institution he lists as his affiliation, the "Geronimo Creek Observatory" is described on his _website_ ( as "an open field near Geronimo Creek in South-Central Texas.""

In your effort to discredit advocates of Intelligent Design, you got it wrong. I used to be primarily an electronics writer, but I have not written a book about electronics in several years. Because you visited and linked to my web site(_www.forrestmims.org_ ( ), you know that. The dates are there.

Since writing all those electronics books, I have concentrated on atmospheric research. You also know this, for my peer-reviewed science papers are also listed on my web site.

I have established a dialogue with several leading skeptics over the Intelligent Design issue, most recently during a visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. While we totally disagree over many issues, our discourse is always cordial. And none of them have ever attempted to misrepresent my background.

As for Geronimo Creek Observatory, many meteorological observatories are located in open fields. That's where they are supposed to be to avoid heat island and other anthropogenic effects. I moved my Yankee shadowband radiometer (the only one in the world with LEDs as spectrally selective detectors) from Geronimo Creek Observatory (the open field) to a roof at Texas Lutheran University for a long term comparison with the USDA radiometers that were installed there by Colorado State University. Those USDA instruments were installed there solely because of the long-term atmospheric measurements at Geronimo Creek Observatory. I'm site operator of this installation, and we will have 2 full years of data in March 2006.

Meanwhile, I continue long term sun and sky observations from the open field we call Geronimo Creek Observatory every day at solar noon when clouds do not obscure the sun. This time series began on 5 February 1990 and now includes total column ozone, total water vapor (PW), photosynthetic radiation (PAR), UV-B, the vitamin-D irradiance at 295 nm, aerosol optical thickness at a dozen wavelengths from 300 nm to 1020 nm, and a variety of other measurements. Since fall 1998, each day of measurements includes photos of the solar aureole and the sky over the north horizon. Many of my instruments have been calibrated at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory during annual visits since 1992.

All of my atmospheric instruments were first tested and regularly used at Geronimo Creek Observatory. This includes TOPS (Total Ozone Portable Spectrometer), various total water vapor hygrometers, various sky polarization monitors, various full-sky solar radiometers and various sun photometers that use light-emitting diodes as spectrally-selective photodiodes (see various peer-reviewed papers listed on my web site, including F. M. Mims III, Sun Photometer with Light-Emitting Diodes as Spectrally Selective Detectors, Applied Optics, 31, 33, 6965-6967, 1992). The original sun photometers used by the GLOBE program (_www.globe.gov_( ) to measure optical depth and column water vapor were developed here and field tested and calibrated at Geronimo Creek Observatory.

The first published calibration drift in NASA's primary ozone satellite was found at Geronimo Creek Observatory and published in a leading scientific journal (F. M. Mims III, Satellite Monitoring Error, Nature, 361, 505, 1993). Various other satellite problems have also been identified here.

Bow waves in the ozone layer during the total solar eclipse of 1991 were detected by my son Eric from Geronimo Creek Observatory while I detected wake waves during the same eclipse from a ship off Baja (F. M. Mims III, and E. R. Mims Fluctuations in Column Ozone During the Total Solar Eclipse of July 11, 1991, Geophysical Research Letters, 20, 5, 367-370, 1993).

Rare pollen coronas caused by pollen drifting overhead from mountain cedars (Juniperus ashei) in the Texas Hill Country were first documented from Geronimo Creek Observatory and published in a peer reviewed journal (F. M. Mims III, Solar corona caused by juniper pollen in Texas, Applied Optics 37, 1486-1488, 20 March 1998).

My daughter Sarah validated the presence of African dust at Geronimo Creek Observatory, a finding that earned her a first place in the Texas Junior Academy of Science.

So far the most significant discovery at Geronimo Creek Observatory was Sarah's discovery of living fungal spores and bacteria in biomass smoke arriving here from Yucatan. All of her original mold and bacteria cultures and all of her spore samples were collected from a 3-meter instrumentation tower in that open field. She also burned various biomass samples in the field to verify her discovery.

Sarah's discovery has resulted in many science awards, including another first place at the Texas Junior Academy of Science and a 2005 Breakthrough Award she received in a ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History _BREAKTHROUGH AWARDS 2005_
( .

NASA has devoted a 4-page web site to Sarah's discovery at Geronimo Creek Observatory: _EO Study: Smoke’s Surprising Secret_ (

Sarah's discovery is displayed in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Sarah's discovery has resulted in her first scientific paper: Sarah A. Mims and Forrest M. Mims III, Fungal spores are transported long distances in smoke from biomass fires, Atmospheric Environment 38, 651-655, 2004. I am listed as coauthor only because I advised her during the 2-year project and transformed her Seimens-Westinghouse report into a formal scientific paper. The discovery and the original research were hers alone.

Finally, Geronimo Creek Observatory has been the site of findings regarding the spectral response of Culex mosquitoes and a novel hypothesis about the distribution of tannin in wood. All the preparation and field testing for my studies of airborne bacteria in Brazil for NASA during the burning seasons of 1995 and 1997 were made at Geronimo Creek Observatory. See my web site for more about these projects.

I like the up-to-date GOES animated GIF on your blog, thought you might have an interest in atmospheric science and decided to send you these details, which I will send to the next skeptic blogger who pans the open field outside my office window from where various discoveries and many thousands of observations have been made.

Should you want to write more about Geronimo Creek Observatory, I hope you will accurately represent the research that has been conducted in that open field since 1990. I'll be glad to answer your questions about the research here and send you an aerial photo made from a 3-meter meteorological blimp some years ago. Many more details can be found on my web site and in the papers it lists. I am writing a comprehensive book about the findings made here and am planning many new experiments.

Best regards,


Forrest M. Mims III
_www.forrestmims.org_ (
Geronimo Creek Observatory

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/24/2005 02:45:00 AM | write me | | | HOME | MAIN SITE

Ed Fitzgerald

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