The Arthur H. Waynick Memorial Lecture

The Arthur H. Waynick Memorial Lecture was established in 1986 by the family of Arthur Waynick to support one distinguished lecture each spring semester from a global expert in radio science, atmospheric research or a related field. Waynick served as the head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and the founder and director of the Ionosphere Research Laboratory (now the Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory) until his retirement in 1971. Information about upcoming and past Waynick Memorial Lectures can be found below.

Spring 2021 Waynick Lecture

Title: A New Paradigm in Earth Observations: Micro Satellite Constellations
Speaker: Chris Ruf, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
When: Wednesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. EST
Where: Zoom
Link to Zoom recording: 

Abstract: Several recent technological revolutions have converged to make possible a new paradigm in spaceborne Earth observations. One is the miniaturization of low power, high performance digital electronic systems, largely driven by commercial products like smart phones and laptops. Another is the rise of “CubeSats” and their transition from educational student projects to highly capable, high reliability small satellites. The third revolution is one of perception. Until recently, major space organizations such as NASA, NOAA, DoD, ESA, and the private sector tended not to view SmallSats as a serious part of the toolkit of technologies available to meet their core objectives. But that perception has changed. Not only are SmallSats becoming a mainstream element of spaceborne technology, they are enabling new types of measurements and new science and applications that would not otherwise be possible. One example of this is the ability to resolve short time scale geophysical processes such as extreme weather events, made possible by placing large constellations of SmallSats in low Earth orbit. One such SmallSat constellation is the NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System. CYGNSS is a constellation of eight 25 kg satellites which together can measure near-surface wind speed over the ocean and flood inundation over land with sufficient frequency to capture events like the rapid intensification of hurricanes and the flooding that follows when they make landfall. The CYGNSS mission will be highlighted in this presentation, including descriptions of its engineering design and mission architecture and examples of recent scientific results, including hurricane weather prediction, ocean microplastic dynamics, inland flooding, and the detection of precursors to locust outbreaks.

Biography: Chris Ruf is the Fredrick Bartman Collegiate Professor of Climate and Space Science at the University of Michigan. He received the B.A. degree in Physics from Reed College and the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, then worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and on the faculty of the Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory at Penn State before moving to Michigan. Prof. Ruf’s research interests involve microwave remote sensing of the Earth environment from space, with a focus on sensor technology development, geophysical inversion methods, and spaceborne mission execution. He is Principal Investigator of the NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission.

Prof. Ruf serves on the U.S. National Academies of Science Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space and served on their 2006 and 2016 Earth Science Decadal Survey Panels. He is also a member of the United Nations UNESCO Task Force on the Remote Sensing of Marine Litter and Debris, is former Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing and is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Past Waynick Lectures


Nicola Fox
Journey to the Sun


David Hysell
Applying Modern Methods to an Old Problem: Predicting Space Weather Near the Magnetic Equator


Thomas Zurbuchen
NASA Science: Doing the Impossible


David W. Miller
Our Next Destination in the Human Journey Beyond Earth


Thomas A. Seliga
Weather Radar Dual Polarization Technology and Penn State’s Ionosphere Research Laboratory


Bill Murtagh
Space Weather Storms: Are We Ready for a Space Katrina


Anousheh Ansari
Space Commercialization & Its Future


Neil deGrasse Tyson
Brain Droppings of an Astrophysicist


David R. Smith
Modern Day Alchemy with Metamaterials: Invisibility Cloaks and Superlenses


Timothy L. Killeen
Challenges and Opportunities in the Geosciences


Ralph Cicerone
Global Climate Change: Human Causes and Responses


Neal Lane
Science and Global Change – The Earth’s Climate and Other Issues


Edward Stone
Exploring the Final Frontier of the Solar System


Gregory Benford
Sailing to the Stars


Joseph H. Taylor
Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity


Lawrence Krauss
Einstein’s Biggest Blunder: A Cosmic Mystery Story


Freeman Dyson
Eight Tales for Technophiles


Jill Tarter
SETI: Science Fact, Not Fiction


Antony Hewish
Mapping the Primordial Universe


Tor Hagfors
Ionospheric Research: Spin-offs into Other Fields


Donald T. Farley
Probing the Ionosphere with Giant Radars: The Science, the History, and a Little Politics


Charles L. Hosler
Fifty-five Years of Progress in Meteorology and a Look at the Future


Thomas M. Donahue
The Galileo Mission to Jupiter


John V. Evans
Twenty Years of Incoherent Scatter Studies of the Ionosphere


William E. Gordon
Arecibo from Start to Finish


John S. Nisbet
How Seven Common Fallacies Were Removed on the Way to Understanding the Ionospheric F Region


Peter M. Banks
Global Atmospheric Changes: Telltales and Other Interesting Phenomena


Louis J. Lanzerotti
Impacts of Solar-Terrestrial Activity on Technological Systems


Ulf Von Zahn
The Atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars: More Different Than We Expected


Gerald S. Levy
From the Ionosphere to Deep Space


Colin O. Hines
Arecibo Observatory Then and Now


C. Stewart Gillmor
Issues in Space Research: How the Future Influences the Past


John C. Brandt
Halley and the Exploration of Comets

poster for 2020 waynick lecture


The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research fields.

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