Papers of James Paton (fl 1928 - 1973), meteorologist

Scope and Content

Research papers of James Paton, 1940s - 1970s, including papers relating to the International Geophysical Year Antarctic Expedition, 1960, the International Year of the Quiet Sun, 1964 - 1965, and various scientific councils with which Paton was involved; correspondence, 1940s - 1970s; papers relating to teaching duties, 1940s - 1970s; printed papers of works by Paton and others, relating to meteorology, 1950s - 1970s; photographs and slides of aurora and noctiluscent cloud phenomena (mostly without location or date), c 1960s - 1970s; field notebooks of C.T.R. Wilson, 1920s.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Paton joined Edinburgh University Department of Natural History in 1928, and in 1944 became their first lecturer in meteorology. When a separate Department of Meteorology was created there in 1964 he was appointed head of department, a role in which he remained until his death in 1973. An active member, and for several years, director, of the British Astronomical Association Aurora Section, he published many works on auroral and noctiluscent cloud phenomena, and in 1964 initiated an annual report on noctiluscent cloud studies (NCS) in the Meteorological Magazine. This work was undertaken under the auspices of the Balfour Stewart Auroral Laboratory, which was based in Edinburgh University Department of Meteorology, with a geophysical unit of the British Anatarctic Survey, from 1965 - 1974. It was continued after his death by staff of the Department of Meteorology, and in 1983 taken over by the officers of the Aurora Section of the British Astronomical Association.

A short biographical sketch is given in Royal Meteorological Society, Weather, 54 (Sept 1999), 275


None observed - listing in progress. Papers presently arranged into broad subject-based series - as described in Scope and Content.

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University in Jan 1985, through the office of Dr Gadsden, Department of Natural Philosophy, University of Aberdeen.

Other Finding Aids

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


No accruals expected

Related Material

Papers of the Balfour Stewart Auroral Laboratory, Department of Meteorology, University of Edinburgh, 1931 - 2000. (GB 231 MS 3152) This collection, which extends to 165 boxes, comprises auroral observations and associated papers gathered by the Balfour Stewart Auroral Laboratory and the Aurora Section of the British Astronomical Association from 1931 - 2000.

Papers of C.T.R. Wilson, relating to his work on atmospheric physics, 1890 - 1959 (GB 231 MS 3525)


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original