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Enthusiasm for weather leads to Researcher of the Semester for Todd Murphy

Published Feb. 24, 2020

Todd Murphy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science in the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences at the University of Louisiana Monroe, is the Spring 2020 Researcher of the Semester. 

The honor is presented by the ULM Office of Sponsored Programs and Research and the Research Council.

PHOTO: Todd Murphy, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Louisiana Monroe, is Spring 2020 Researcher of the Semester. Murphy is pictured with the university’s portable wind LIDAR equipment. LIDAR collects wind data to help improve weather forecasting.
Emerald McIntyre/ULM Photo Services

Murphy is an active researcher in severe weather, especially in the southeast, and is considered one of ULM’s leading researchers. Murphy’s studies allow him to pursue improvements in severe weather forecasting and updating ULM’s weather instrumentation, software, and technology.

His current project is thanks to a $274,875 grant from the National Science Foundation Major Research Infrastructure Program, which allowed the university to obtain a state-of-the-art portable wind LIDAR instrument and equipment. LIDAR (Light Detecting and Range) uses lasers to measure components of the wind before a storm. Data on the direction, speed, and other variables of the wind can lead to better predicting of storms. ULM is one of five universities in the country with portable LIDAR.

“Dr. Murphy is an exceptional researcher. He intentionally involves undergraduates to provide experiential learning opportunities,” said Anne Case Hanks, Ph.D., Director of the School of Sciences and an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences.

Murphy has received funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2018, Murphy received the Endowed Professorship in Geosciences and the Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching.

“Dr. Murphy is an exceptional researcher and professor. He is highly respected by experts in his field and his colleagues at ULM. He is so very deserving of being selected as Researcher of the Semester,” said Meghan Risinger, Grants/Projects Developer in the OSPR.

“Todd has done an amazing job as both an instructor and researcher,” said Dr. John Pratte, Dean of the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences. “He is providing educational opportunities with hands-on research participation that our students cannot get anywhere else in the state or region. After their experiences here, his students are going on to great post-graduate careers.”

Murphy operates and maintains ULM’s Doppler weather radar and other weather instruments. The National Weather Service credited ULM’s Doppler for helping save lives by indicating a tornado was approaching Ruston in the early morning of April 24, 2019.

Murphy is a featured researcher in ULM’s upcoming Spring 2020 Takeflight magazine.