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Did you know that...

Group of men lowering the computer into the Mesa Lab with ropes.The first production model of the CRAY-1 supercomputer was delivered to NCAR in 1977 in two refrigerated electronic vans. More than 30 construction workers, engineers, and helpers were needed to move the five-ton machine into the computer room.

  • the first name proposed for NCAR was National Institute for Atmospheric Research? (Incidentally, that’s “rain" spelled backwards.)
  • NCAR's first major computer was a Control Data 3600. Acquired in 1963, this computer had 256 kilobytes of memory.
  • part of the Woody Allen film “Sleeper” (1973) was shot at the Mesa Lab. About a dozen extras were selected from UCAR/NCAR staff and paid $20 per day.

Woody Allen dangling from rope from Mesa Lab.Woody Allen suspended from the Mesa Lab’s A Tower.

  • NCAR's CRAY-1 supercomputer, which arrived in 1977, weighed 2.25 tons.
  • the very first Up-the-Hill Race took place in 1980. Winners of the bike race were Ben Domenico (Unidata) and Alice Lecinski (HAO), while Rick Katz (CISL/IMAGe) and Caryn Wasserman won the foot race.
  • interdivisional e-mail and file exchange came to NCAR in 1981, via NCARnet.
  • the first-ever Staff Notes “Random Profile” ran in March 1989, featuring former RAF staff member Jeff Bogen.
  • the organization’s first Ethernet link was established in HAO in 1985.
  • Margaret Thatcher visited the Mesa Lab in 1990. She is the only head of state to have visited the organization.

Carving on an eagle from an old tree outside Mesa Lab.“Old Jake” was transformed into this golden eagle in 2005.

  • the NCAR cafeteria underwent a health upgrade in the early ‘90s, purging tropical oils and monosodium glutamate and introducing cholesterol-free mayonnaise, lard-free beans, and more vegetarian options.
  • Peggy LeMone became NCAR’s first female senior scientist in 1992.
  • Policy 1-1-22, which states that "UCAR is committed to protecting the environment," was added to the Policies and Procedures Manual in 1994.
  • the “blue bike” program started in 1999.
  • the golden eagle carving in front of the Mesa Lab used to be “Old Jake,” a stately ponderosa pine tree named by I.M. Pei and Walt Roberts. Old Jake, who had been slowly dying throughout the Mesa Lab’s existence, was carved into the eagle in 2005.