Forrest M. Mims

Fellow, Center for Science and Culture

Forrest M. Mims III is an instrument designer, science writer and independent science consultant. He has made regular observations of the ozone layer, solar ultraviolet radiation, photosynthetic radiation, column water vapor and aerosol optical thickness since 1989 at his Geronimo Creek Observatory in Texas. He cofounded MITS Inc., the company that introduced the first personal computer, and Science Probe magazine, which he edited.

Mims' columns have appeared in Scientific American, Popular Electronics, Computers & Electronics, Modern Electronics, Computercraft, Science Probe and The Citizen Scientist. His scientific publications have appeared in Nature, Science, Photochemistry and Photobiology, The Journal of Molecular Evolution, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, Applied Optics, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, EOS, Journal of the American Foundation for the Blind and other peer-reviewed journals. His general publications have appeared in more than 70 magazines and newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Harper's, Philadelphia Inquirer, Science Digest, Popular Photography and National Geographic World. Mims has also published over 60 books with publishers including McGraw-Hill, Prentice-Hall, David McKay, Osborne-McGraw-Hill, Tab, Radio Shack, Master Publishing, Sams and Consumer Guide. His Radio Shack books have sold 7.5 million copies. His book on the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory will be published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2008.

Mims, who served as an intelligence officer and engineer in the U.S. Air Force, has been a consultant for GLOBE, National Science Teacher's Association, TERC, the Concord Consortium and RadioShack. He was co-principal investigator of the GLOBE program's haze project (1998-2006). He studied the effect of biomass burning on the atmosphere for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Brazil in 1995 and 1997 and in the Western U.S. in 1996. He currently serves as a consultant for NASA's Langley Research Center and is editor of The Citizen Scientist (2004 to present). Mims is also the site operator for the United States Department of Agriculture UV-B monitoring site at Texas Lutheran University, a position he has held since 2004. Mims is the past chair and present vice-chair of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science (2004 to present), and has represented Guadalupe County, Texas, on two government air quality committees in South Texas since 2003.

Mims is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Rolex Award for Enterprise (1987) alternate and 1993 (laureate). He received the Industrial Research IR-100 Award for inventing a miniature eyeglass-mounted travel aid for the blind. He is currently expanding his regular atmospheric measurements to include studies of airborne bacteria, mosquito visual response and tannin distribution in annual growth rings of Taxodium distichum (baldcypress). His scientific pursuits, science data and publications can be viewed online at