Later, he attended the University of Chicago, where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1953.
He is considered the father of satellite meteorology. He invented the Spin Scan Radiometer, which for many years was the instrument on the GOES weather satellites that generated the time sequences of cloud images seen on television weather shows. The Suomi Nuclear Power Plant polar orbiting satellite, launched in 2011, was named in his honor.
(The family surname, Suomi, is of Finnish origin and means Finland in Finnish) He was the sixth of seven children.
He outlived all but two sisters, Esther and Edith. He received his first degree from Winona Teachers College (now Winona State University).
He taught high school science. Together with Robert Parent, in 1965, Suomi founded the Space Science and Engineering Center (Space Science and Engineering Center) there.
From this, came the first weather satellite to provide imagery from a geostationary orbit and was named the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-1), launched on 6 December 1966, that included a Spin Scan Radiometer.
The subsequent ATS-3, launched in November 1967, using a spin scan camera, made what would be known as the first color images of the whole earth. Suomi led the development of McIDAS (Manitoba-computer Interactive Data Access System) in 1972, displaying the images produced by his satellites such as SMS-1 in 1974. A very popular professor, he formally retired from teaching in 1986.
By 1948, Suomi was among the earliest faculty members of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.