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Assigned Reading: The Weather Guys

Steve Ackerman and Jon Martin’s literary lineup includes pie, mystery, and American history.

Two men smash snowballs on each other's head. To the left, Jon Martin wears a tan overcoat with a black scarf and glasses. To the left, Steve Ackerman wears a black overcoat with a blue shirt and glasses. They are standing in front of a building topped with large satellite dishes.

During a normal workday, meteorologists Steve Ackerman and Jon Martin pore over weather radars and pressure maps. In their spare time, they reach for, well, everything else. Ackerman is the recently retired vice chancellor of research and graduate education at UW–Madison, and Martin is a professor in the UW Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Together, they’re the Weather Guys, a dynamic duo translating meteorological knowledge and interpreting weather patterns for lay audiences through their weekly column and monthly appearances on Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Meiller Show. If you’ve already read through their Weather Guys archive, here’s what they’d recommend picking up next:

What books or other media do you assign your students?

Ackerman: When I taught Introduction to Weather and Climate, it was an interactive ebook: Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere by S. Ackerman and J. Knox.

Martin: I assign my students a textbook that I wrote in 2006 (Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics: A First Course) to help them with atmospheric dynamics and the study of midlatitude weather systems.

What book or other media do you return to over and over again?

Ackerman: Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by Kate Lebo.

Martin: I return to reading Seamus Haney’s translation of Beowulf over and over again for its beautiful language and universal themes.

What book or other media do you enjoy in your free time?

Ackerman: Detective and mystery novels or audio books.

Martin: Generally, I like to read biographies and history books (nonfiction). I don’t often read fiction.

What book or other media have you been meaning to get around to?

Ackerman: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

Martin: I don’t really have an agenda to my reading. I just read what looks interesting to me at the time.

What book or other media do you think everyone should read/watch/listen to?

Ackerman: I think they should ask their parents what their favorite books are and read those.

Martin: I think everyone should read the Constitution of the United States of America as well as the Gettysburg Address.

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