do clouds form when and where
they do? Why do some
clouds rain and some do not?
questions like those is the primary motivation for my research. As a
graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I spent a lot
of time thinking about and investigating the properties of aerosol
particles that make them more likely to serve as the seeds for cloud
droplets. (The pictures above are all from that time.) Most of my
research was in the field. I took an instrument which I helped to
develop and deployed it in various spots around the world, measuring
aerosol particles, subjecting them to varying levels of water vapor
concentration, then measuring again to see which ones became cloud
droplets. Back then, I swore that I would never do research in ice. Too
As a faculty member at Michigan Tech, I've spent most of my time
thinking about ice.
I'm trying to understand what makes certain substances more likely to
cause freezing, which has implications for weather, climate, and
aviation, to name only three.
I've also lately come back to issues involving liquid water clouds, as
the Pi Chamber has opened up some exciting avenues of inquiry.