October 1, 1960 |
|Institutions||National Center for Atmospheric Research
Center for Severe Weather Research
|Alma mater||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Known for||Weather radar, tornado, and hurricane research|
Life and career
Wurman attended Radnor High School. He moved to Massachusetts while attending university then to Boulder, Colorado to work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research as a scientist, and later to Norman, Oklahoma where he was a tenured faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. He founded the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR), which operates the Doppler On Wheels (DOW) radars, and moved to Boulder in 2001. He has four children. His father is noted architect and founder of the TED conferences, Richard Saul Wurman.
Joshua Wurman created the Doppler On Wheels (DOW) mobile radars which observe tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other phenomena from close range. He invented meteorological bistatic radar multiple-Doppler networks, and the Rapid-Scan DOW, and holds several patents related to bistatic and DOW technology. He is also the discoverer of sub-kilometer hurricane boundary layer rolls, and wrote the pioneering papers on mapping tornado winds, multiple vortices, and other tornado-related phenomena. Wurman observed the fastest winds and the largest tornado circulations, and first observed hurricane boundary layer rolls/streaks.
Wurman has authored and co-authored many scientific publications relating to hurricane and tornado dynamics and weather radar technology including two articles in Science, articles in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, Monthly Weather Review, the Journal of Oceanic and Atmospheric Technology, Weather and Forecasting, and others. He is one of the leaders of the upcoming VORTEX2 tornado research project. He was lead author of a controversial article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society analyzing the potential impacts of a major tornado crossing various urban areas. He leads the ROTATE tornado observational project every spring and hurricane intercepts in the fall. He manages the DOW radar network which are a National Science Foundation Lower Atmospheric Observing Facility. His scientific work and DOW projects have been sponsored by NSF, as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Forest Service, the United States Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other agencies of the U.S. government, and by Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Society.
Wurman is a member of the USA Science & Engineering Festival's Nifty Fifty, a collection of the most influential scientists and engineers in the United States that are dedicated to reinvigorating the interest of young people in science and engineering.
In popular culture
Wurman has appeared in numerous television shows and his work, particularly with the DOWs, and is cited in numerous popular and technical books about weather. He is most well known to the general public as the "scientist" in Discovery Channel's reality series Storm Chasers, where he led a group of storm chasers conducting research during tornado season. His scientific research style is often shown clashing with other chasers who are not government funded. He was also featured on National Geographic's Tornado Intercept and The True Face of Hurricanes, as well as in the IMAX film Forces of Nature. He's also been seen in several other documentaries and shows including those on PBS (Nova), NHK, History Channel, and Weather Channel, and on Dateline NBC, CBS' 48 Hours and Good Morning America. Popular articles describing his work have appeared in Discovery magazine, Scientific American, New Scientist, The Economist, Biography, FHM, Self, The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and many other publications.
- Grazulius, Thomas, (2003) Tornado.
- Guinness Book of World Records (2007)
- CSWR DOW site
- VORTEX2 website
- ROTATE website
- Joshua Wurman on line cv
- Allen Press