Friday, July 1, 2011

"It's an ill wind..." Storm chaser to blow in!

National Instruments has announced that Tim Samaras, severe-storms researcher and star of the Discovery TV Channel show “Storm Chasers,” will deliver the closing keynote address at NIWeek 2011 scheduled for Aug. 2-4 in Austin, Texas. Samaras uses NI LabVIEW, NI CompactDAQ and NI DIAdem to successfully acquire and analyze data from tornadoes across the United States.

“Tim Samaras and his impressive body of work demonstrate how graphical system design can enable scientific discovery that makes a difference, and we are very excited to welcome him to NIWeek as this year’s guest keynote speaker,” said Ray Almgren, vice president of software and education at National Instruments. “His passion for his work, dedication to innovation and willingness to push boundaries in his research will inspire the thousands of NIWeek attendees who are working on their own projects to improve our world.”

Samaras has actively chased storms for almost 30 years and currently spends May and June of each year in a truck tracking tornadoes. He and his team predict where a tornado will occur and then drop several probes in the tornado’s path to measure humidity, static pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction. The information gathered by these probes not only contributes to the knowledge of how and why tornadoes form, but also can be used to save lives by predicting a tornado’s future path. Samaras holds the Guinness World Record for measuring the lowest pressure within a tornado and is the only person to successfully collect video from inside a tornado. In addition, he co-authored the book “Tornado Hunter,” which details some of his most harrowing experiences chasing storms.

Samaras is also the field coordinator for TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in/near Tornadoes EXperiment), a team of engineers and scientists whose goal is to gain a better understanding of the near-surface internal tornado environment. He collaborates with various universities attempting to model weather patterns, and the National Geographic Society awarded him the honor of Emerging Explorer in 2005 for his research.

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