Greetings from Purdue / New book!

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you read about me in The Tornado Scientist by Mary Kay Carson and Tom Uhlman, and were curious whether this blog was still active. If so, welcome! Yes, I am still alive. It was never my intent for this blog to “go dark” when I left Norman three-and-a-half years ago. I’ve simply got enough professional obligations to fill 200% of my available working hours every week. Academic life is not for the faint of heart! On top of all that, Dan and I added a second child to our family in 2017 – double the fun! I’m usually asleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow every night, so blogging is been far from my first priority. If you really care about what I’m doing or thinking on a daily basis, follow my @tornatrix Twitter feed.

Robin presenting a poster about Purdue's new radar at the 2018 AMS Severe Local Storms Conference in Stowe, Vermont.
Presenting a poster about Purdue’s new radar at the 2018 AMS Severe Local Storms Conference in Stowe, Vermont.

It’s not like I have any shortage of stuff to write at about. Here are some highlights of the last few years that I hope to write up at length:

  • I started my own lab at Purdue – The Weather Radar Research Laboratory (WRRL – see what I did there?), where I’ve had two or three grad students under my tutelage since 2016. It’s been such a privilege to work with them all.
  • I was a co-PI (principal investigator) for VORTEX-Southeast in 2016 and 2017. VORTEX-Southeast is a very different animal from VORTEX2. (Speaking of which, I recently realized this year marks TEN YEARS since VORTEX2 began. When did I get so old?!?)
  • I participated in field work remotely while caring for a tiny baby – something that would not have been possible during VORTEX2. I sure hope I can write about that experience sometime.
  • Dan and I started a new class at Purdue called “Severe Storms Field Work”, where we give eight lucky students a taste of the Great Plains chasing life each year in exchange for their assistance collecting meteorological data. You can follow our adventures each year on the class Twitter feed, @eaps_spottr.
  • I spearheaded an effort to get a weather radar installed at Purdue – a dream that finally came to fruition last summer. The X-band Teaching and Research Radar (XTRRA) has been up and running since September 2018.
  • I landed an NSF grant for more than half a million dollars to study polarimetric radar signatures in potentially tornadic supercells.
  • I’ve also developed a burgeoning interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, mainly so I can improve my teaching abilities for the dozens of students I teach and mentor every year.
  • I led a pilot study to test storm spotter reactions to shortwave infrared (SWIR) imagery of thunderstorm cloud bases, in collaboration with an undergraduate student and Sensors Unlimited.
  • I’ve presented at about half a dozen meteorological conferences in locations ranging from Portland, Oregon to the Netherlands. Those conferences provide rare chances for me to reconnect with my “Oklahomies.”
  • I hosted an educational deployment of a Doppler on Wheels as part of my Radar Meteorology class at Purdue last spring.
  • Last but not least, I had the privilege to work with Mary Kay Carson and Tom Uhlman on The Tornado Scientist. The book proposal was appealing to me because the target age range is 8 to 11 years. I wanted to put myself out as a role model, particularly for young teens at risk of losing interest in STEM careers.

To all my new followers, I extend my greetings, and invite questions. I can’t always guarantee responses in a timely manner, but I will do my best!