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 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.
“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 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.