Walter Orr Roberts

Building HAO, NCAR, and a Foundation for Scientific Innovation in Boulder

Map of High Altitude Observatory campus in Climax, Colorado, including Wollander Residence, Quonset Residence, Physics lab, water and sewer lines.

High Altitude Observatory

Map of the High Altitude Observatory at Climax, Colorado

The High Altitude Observatory (HAO) was founded in 1940 by Walter Orr Roberts and his doctoral advisor, Donald Menzel. The solar observations conducted at the observatory proved very useful to the war effort during World War II, and the laboratory continued to grow after the war. HAO expanded to include facilities at Sacramento Peak Observatory, and eventually Mauna Loa Observatory. Roberts and HAO also partnered with the University of Colorado, and ultimately Roberts became the first leader of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and HAO became its first laboratory.

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