Storied Women of MIT: Eugenia Kalnay

Meg Rosenburg for MIT Video Production Services
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Eugenia Kalnay sets an inspiring example as the first woman to receive a PhD in Meteorology from MIT.


World-renowned meteorologist Eugenia Kalnay studies atmospheric dynamics and global weather forecasting. Born in Argentina she moved to the United States where, in 1971, Kalnay became the first woman to earn a PhD in Meteorology from MIT. Advised by Jule Charney, her doctoral thesis concerned the circulation of the atmosphere of Venus.

After joining the faculty of MIT's Meteorology Department -- the first woman to do so -- Kalnay moved to NASA where she directed the Global Modeling and Simulation Laboratory from 1984 to 1986.

Over the next 10 years, Kalnay directed the Environmental Modeling Center and oversaw the development of a new global data set describing the state of Earth's atmosphere.

Among many other honors Kalnay received the International Meteorological Organization Prize in 2009 and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board to the United Nations and NOAA's Science Advisory Board.

A weather science pioneer, Eugenia Kalnay is devoted to furthering understanding of our world. In her words "I am proud that during my career I have nurtured many young scientists... I have found that encouragement and enthusiasm for other people's achievements, which doesn't cost any money goes a long way."

Kalnay spoke at the recent celebration of the lives of Jule Charney and Ed Lorenz MIT on Chaos and Climate hosted by the department at the beginning of February.