José Ángel Pérez Colón, a researcher with the National Hurricane Research Project (NHRP) in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away this week. He was born in Caomo, Puerto Rico, in 1921. He got his start in research while at the University of Puerto Rico during World War II, receiving his bachelor degree in mathematics and chemistry. He was hired to study the ionosphere’s effects on long-range communications for the US Navy, and later began graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he earned a Professional Certificate in Atmospheric Sciences in 1945, Master’s degree in 1950 and doctorate in 1960 when he became the first Puerto Rican to obtain a PhD in the field. His professional career began at the Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Rio Piedras (1945-1946). He was an instructor in mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico (1946-1949). He eventually got a job as a forecaster with the Weather Bureau in San Juan (1954-1959). In late 1958, he met Bob Simpson who invited him to join the NHRP, then in West Palm Beach, FL, and he moved with NHRP to Miami the next year.
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