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Mr. Walter Davis Lambert, Chief, Section of Gravity and Astronomy, retired March 31, 1947, after more than 40 years’ service. In addition to his duties with the Survey, Mr. Lambert is president of the International Association of Geodesy, and is recognized as an outstanding authority in geodesy, both in this country and abroad.

Mr. Lambert was born in West New Brighton, New York. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and later studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent 6 years in teaching mathematics and astronomy at the following universities: Purdue, Maine and Pennsylvania. He served two years as first lieutenant with the Engineers, U.S. Army in World War I.

Mr. Lambert is a member of the Philosophical Society of Washington, American Geophysical Union, American Mathematical Society, Washington Academy of Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi and others. He has held the presidency, chairmanship or vice-presidency in several of the above organizations.

Mr. Lambert received the honor of being elected Harrison Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently he was elected to the Paris Academy of Sciences. He has made numerous original contributions to the science of geodesy, particularly earth tides, latitude variation, and figure of the earth in general. His contributions have been printed as special publications of this Bureau and in many scientific journals. He also wrote the chapter on latitude variation in the Handbuch der Geophysik and the section of “Geodesy” in Encyclopedia Brittanica.

At an informal gathering in the office of the Chief of the Division, Mr. Lambert was greeted by his associates and presented with a traveling bag as a token of their respect for him as a co-worker. Mr. Lambert’s pleasant personality and willingness to cooperate on all matters, whether it involved a highly technical problem or answering some of the many odd letters that the Bureau received, made him a popular person. He has hosts of friends, both here and abroad, and his reputation as a scientist and scholar have done much for the Bureau. He will be greatly missed by his co-workers, and the Buzzard joins in their wishes for a happy life of leisure.

In: “The Buzzard,” Vol. 15, No. 13, pp. 7-8. April 3, 1947.

Editor’s Note: Walter Lambert was much more influential than this modest account indicates. As indicated above, he was President of the IAG from 1946-1951 and elected a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences. He was elected a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1949 and received a Department of Commerce exceptional service medal (gold medal) the same year.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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