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Bernard Vonnegut
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    (August 29, 1914-April 25, 1997)
    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
    Atmospheric scientist
    Worked in the General Electric Research Laboratory (1945-52)
    Professor at the University of Albany (1967-85)
    Received 28 patents
    Discovered that silver iodine could be used in cloud seeding to produce snow and rain
    Brother of Kurt Vonnegut
    The principles behind cloud seeding had previously been demonstrated by fellow GE scientist Vincent Schaefer, who used dry ice.
    The Pentagon attempted (without success) to use cloud seeding as a weapon.
    His experiments also inspired ultimately futile efforts to use cloud seeding to eliminate hurricanes.
    He received an Ig Nobel Prize for his report ‘Chicken Plucking as a Measure of Tornado Wind Speed.’ (1997)
    The silver iodine he used was much more effective than Schaefer’s dry ice.
    Silver iodine is still used for rain and snow making.
    He quit GE and went into academia over ethical concerns about the military trying to weaponize his discoveries.
    His got his brother a public relations job at GE; Kurt’s interviews of the corporation’s scientists inspired the novels ‘Player Piano’ and ‘Cat’s Cradle.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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