Andrew Gerrard, PhD, of Bridgewater, associate professor in the department of physics, will be promoted to professor with tenure at NJIT’s University Convocation, an annual celebration to be held Sept. 14, 2011. Convocation at NJIT traditionally honors select faculty and staff members who have demonstrated the highest level of excellence over a sustained period.Broadcaster, author and motivational speaker Steve Adubato will speak at the event. A university lecturer, Emmy Award-winning television anchor, and Star-Ledger columnist, Adubato also served in the mid 1980s as New Jersey's youngest state legislator at age 26. Previously, Adubato anchored three PBS broadcasts including Caucus: New Jersey, an Emmy Award-winning public affairs television series.
Gerrard's primary research focus is in upper atmospheric physics and space sciences. He is currently involved in state-of-the-art scientific investigations active around the world; spanning from the Antarctic plateau to the Andes Mountains in South America to right here in New Jersey. Gerrard is also the deputy director of the Center of Solar-Terrestrial Research at NJIT, which is one of the nation's largest research groups covering topics from the sun to the earth. (ATTENTION EDITORS: Hi-res photos of the researcher will be taken at the event. To receive a copy and/or set up an interview, call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.)
Atmospheric research has long fascinated Gerrard. His other research interests include Equatorial Spread-F (ESF), an atmospheric phenomenon that leads to instability disruptive to communications and navigation systems--such as satellite communications or GPS signals--over the earth's magnetic equator.
Under Gerrard's direction, the installation of a 1.2-meter diameter, fully-steerable Itek optical telescope was completed at Jenny Jump Mountain in Hope, in 2009. The $1.1 million instrument, which is the largest in the US open to the public, welcomes amateurs to peer into the heavens at professional levels and while also allowing academics to study how growing metropolitan areas can generate gravity waves. These waves affect earth's circulation and may play into climate change. The telescope will be used by Gerrard and colleagues to study lower and middle atmospheric gravity waves.
The US Air Force Office of Scientific Research awarded Gerrard an $820,000 grant to lead a collaborative effort involving Clemson University, Cornell University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Geophysical Institute of Peru to study the ESF development in South America. The effort focused on developing and operating a one-of-a-kind, Fabry-Perot Doppler imager designed for 24-hour observations of thermospheric and mesospheric winds and temperatures in a campaign spanning South America.
Gerrard has been involved with a multi-institutional project in Antarctica led by NJIT Distinguished Research Professor Louis Lanzerotti, a former Bell Labs researcher. The effort accounts for much of the U.S. involvement in space weather research at high latitudes.
Gerrard is the author of more than 15 articles in scholarly journals and received his BS in physics from the State University of New York at Geneseo and his doctorate in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. For more information about Gerrard, see http://web.njit.edu/~gerrard/Vita.html.