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Bender, Morris
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Bender, Morris

Using Math to Predict Hurricane Tracks

Morris Bender is a senior researcher at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, N.J. He has been on the hurricane research team at GFDL since 1976, developing highly accurate models for hurricane forecasting and more recently exploring the influence of climate change on hurricane activity. 


Why does your research matter?

Our research has led to the development of the GFDL operational hurricane model that is still being used in operations and has been a vital part of the hurricane guidance that has led to significant improvements in hurricane prediction over the past decade.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

Being able to make important contributions to something of national vital interest.

"Our research...has been a vital part of the hurricane guidance that has led to significant improvements in hurricane prediction over the past decade."

Where do you do most of your work? In a lab? In field studies?

At our lab, GFDL in Princeton, N.J.

What in your lab could you not live without?

Hard question to answer. Perhaps the extremely positive working environment and encouragement from our supervisors to pursue what we believe to be the major areas of focus of our work. 

If you could invent any instrument to advance your research and cost were no object, what would it be? Why?

A computer with enough power that we could run our models at high enough resolution to really address the hurricane intensity issue and other related science questions that require computer power not currently available.

When did you know you wanted to pursue science?

By the second year of college, prompting me to change my major from music to mathematics/physics with the intention of perusing graduate work in Meteorology.

Do you have a personal favorite book?

The Bible

Do you have an outside hobby?

My wife is an ordained Assemblies of God Pastor.  I assist her in her ministry, working in inner city Trenton in much of my spare time.  This involves Christian outreach,  as well as helping in various community-based programs such as food distribution,  medical clinics., etc.

What would you be doing if you had not become a scientist?

By now I would be likely pursuing full-time work in the Christian ministry, along with my wife.  I plan to do this after I retire rather than just a part-time basis, as I presently do.

Who is your favorite historical scientist and why?

Albert Einstein.   He lived in my home town during the second part of his life.  Although a great genius, who impacted the 20th century more than any other scientist, he was also a very deep theological thinker who had strong beliefs in God as creator of the universe.  Although he was a practicing Jew, he had a great fascination and highest respect for the life and teachings of Jesus who he regarded as more than just a man.  He was also a very devoted humanitarian who considered the betterment of the human race as his greatest desire.


Morris Bender holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Ohio State University and a master's in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. NOAA logo.




Phone: 301-713-2458
Address: 1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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