Joshua Wurman


I grew up in Pennsylvania, bereft of any meaningful opportunities to experience severe weather, hurricanes, even really deep snow. As a youth, I tried to impress friends and girls with my home weather station and insect collection. These efforts, among other factors, kept me well out of the running for homecoming king. The obvious next step was to move to a party school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to search for a more exciting social life. But, hating schoolwork and classes, I rushed through it, earning my MS at only 21. After some aimless additional years in school I dropped out for three years, working for the Air Force on nuclear winter simulations and other cheery subjects. A glutton for punishment, I returned to MIT and earned my Doctorate. Then I moved to Boulder and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to work on bistatic radar networks, a new type of weather radar system that I had invented. However, after seeing real High Plains thunderstorms close up, and tornadoes, I got distracted and conceived of building a network of big, fast, scanning radars that could drive right up to tornadoes and fires, inside hurricanes, and into all kinds of other nice weather.

The DOW program was born, and I moved down to Oklahoma to be a professor for a few years, chase tornadoes and hurricanes, file patents, teach and write papers. In the middle of this, I traveled to Asia on a research project and met my future wife who was operating a weather radar on remote island off the coast of Hong Kong and I conned her into coming back with me, by claiming Oklahoma was just like Hong Kong.

After receiving tenure and the implied lifetime sentence in academics, I did the sensible thing; I quit and moved back to Boulder and founded my own non-profit research institution, the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR). My wife and I run CSWR, manage the DOWs as National Science Foundation (NSF) Facilities, and conduct research in programs such as the VORTEX2, hurricane landfall intercepts, and snow studies. I travel around the country and world doing research, mainly with the DOWs, and mainly in really nice weather near tornadoes, inside intense lake effect snow bands, and inside hurricanes, collaborating with a wide range of creative researchers and students. Since I study interesting weather, and have pretty trucks, my work is covered on occasion by documentaries, other TV shows and in other media.

My wife and I have four children who, so far, display no unhealthy obsessive interest in tornadoes, hurricanes or radars.

You may view my CV by clicking here.