International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics

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The International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics was a branch of the International Meteorological Committee founded in Paris, France, in September 1896 at the International Meteorological Congress. Members included directors of Meteorological Institutes in all countries. Its objective was to investigate conditions holding in the atmosphere up to the highest limit attainable by kites and balloons. Observations were published in the Veröffentlichungen der Internationalen Kommission für wissenschaftliche Luftschiffahrt. Met seven times from 1898–1912.


From 1896–1912, Professor Hugo Hergesell of Strassburg, was the President and editor of the Veröffentlichungen.

By one account, the genesis of this organization lies in the discrepancy between English and German data, discovered by Richard Aßmann c. 1890 reviewing James Glaisher's measurements from the 1860s. The international scientific community began to pursue the idea of simultaneous measurements, which were initiated by Gaston Tissandier. The first of these were taken on 14 July 1893, in Berlin and Stockholm.[1]

The group, organized formally in 1896, began by creating subcommittees located in Strassburg, Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg.[2] Simultaneous experiments were conducted in these locations and in and Vienna and Warsaw. Additional research was conducted by Léon Teisserenc de Bort's Observatory in Trappes, Rotch's Blue Hill Observatory in Massachusetts, and von Bezold's aeronautical observatory in Berlin.[3]

Through international comparison of data, the group confirmed that atmospheric weather does vary over time and space. As stated by Hergesell in his introductory speech at the Berlin conference in 1902:

It had generally been believed that Glaisher's results were correct and that at fairly low levels the temperature remained constant throughout the year. But this has been shown to be altogether wrong. There is eternal change even at great heights, and the temperature varies just as much at levels of 30,000 ft. as at 1,200 ft. Moreover, at the same heights above Paris and St. Petersburg there may be differences of temperature amounting to 60° or 70° F. Our observations have also proved that the variation of temperature is not continuous, but that the atmosphere is composed of layers, as it were, which often show considerable differences of temperature. This layer-formation is one of the most important subjects at present under investigation.[1]

From Nature's article about the sixth meeting of this commission:[4][5]

The sixth Congress of the International Commission for Scientific Aëronautics commenced at Monaco on April 1. Thirty-three members were present, representing fourteen countries. The Prince of Monaco, by whose invitation the meeting was held at Monaco, placed the rooms of the new Oceanographical Museum at the service of the commission. Among the members present were Prof. Hergesell (the president), Profs. Assmann, Berson, and Captain Hildebrandt from Germany, M. Teisserenc de Bort from France, Prof. Hildebrandsson from Sweden, Prof. A. L. Rotch from the United States, Generals Rykatcheff and Kowanko from Russia, Colonel Vives y Vich from Spain, Prof. Bierknes from Norway, Prof. Palazzo and Dr. Oddone from Italy, Hofrat von Konkoly from Hungary, M. Vincent from Belgium, Captain Ryder from Denmark, and Messrs. P. Alexander and C. J. P. Cave from [Britain] . . .
  • Address: Meteorologischer Landeseienst, Strassburg i. E. (1906)

People affiliated with International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics

Publications by or about International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics

International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics participated in these events:

Some of the template data might be focused on the Strassburg subcommittee.


Other sources


  • Membership list for 1907: Report of the Eighth Meeting of the International Meteorological Committee, Paris, September, 1907, pp. 94–95.

Organization names International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics; Commission internationale aéronautique; Internationalen Kommission für wissenschaftliche Luftschiffahrt; Commissione Internazionale di Aeronautica Scientifica
Entity type
Country Germany
City Strassburg, Alsace-Lorraine
Affiliated with
Scope international; scientific
Started aero 1896
Ended aero
Key people Hugo Hergesell, Arthur Berson, Georges Besançon, Abbott Lawrence Rotch, Léon Teisserenc de Bort, Hermann W. L. Moedebeck, Wilfrid de Fonvielle, Prince Albert I
Wikidata id