Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes

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Bjerknes, Vilhelm Frimann Koren

(vĭl`hĕlm frē`män kô`rən byĕrk`nĕs), 1862–1951, Norwegian physicist and pioneer in modern meteorologymeteorology,
branch of science that deals with the atmosphere of a planet, particularly that of the earth, the most important application of which is the analysis and prediction of weather.
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. He worked on applying hydrodynamic and thermodynamic theories to atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions in order to predict future weather conditions. Bjerknes was professor at the universities of Oslo (1907–12, 1926–32); Leipzig (1912–17); and Bergen (1917–26), where he set up a geophysical institute. His work in meteorology and on electric waves was important in the early development of wireless telegraphy. His publications include Fields of Force (1906) and the classic book On the Dynamics of the Circular Vortex with Applications to the Atmosphere and to Atmospheric Vortex and Wave Motion (1921); he is also coauthor with J. W. Sandström (on Vol. I) and with T. Hesselberg and O. Devik (on Vol. II) of Dynamic Meteorology and Hydrography (Vol. I and II, 1910–11; Vol. III, 1951). He evolved a theory of cyclones known as the polar front theory with his son Jakob Aall Bonnevie Bjerknes, 1897–1975, who became a U.S. citizen in 1946. Jakob Bjerknes served as professor of meteorology at the Univ. of Bergen (1931–40) and at the Univ. of California (from 1940).

Bjerknes, Vilhelm Frimann Koren


Born Mar. 14, 1862, in Christiania, now Oslo; died there Apr. 9, 1951. Norwegian physicist and geophysicist.

Bjerknes was a professor at the Bergen Geophysical Institute (1917-26) and the universities of Oslo (1926-32) and Stockholm (after 1895). Bjerknes was responsible for studies of electrical resonance, under the direction of H. Hertz (1890-91), which were very important for the development of the radio. Bjerknes proved a theorem about the circulation rate of fluids and, with its help, explained the origin of marine currents and winds. He developed dynamic methods of weather forecasting and founded the weather service in Norway (1917).


Dynamic Meteorology and Hydrography, vols. 1-2. Washington, 1910-11.
Physikalische Hydrodynamik. Berlin, 1933. (With coauthors.)