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ECE Graduate Seminar Lecture by Dr. John Swoboda, Geospace Research Scientist, MIT Haystack Observatory

Thursday, October 10, 2019
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Floor/Room #: 
AK 219


Incoherent Scatter Radar: A Case Study in Creating a Scientific Measurement



High quality measurements with associated uncertainties are necessary to help societies scientific discoveries move forward. Without these measurements, there would be no way to verify theoretical structures and predict the state of complicated systems. The Earth’s ionosphere is an example of one of these systems where more and more measurements to understand its behavior are needed. Researchers within the Geophysics community for decades have used Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) to probe the ionosphere. This type of measurement technique allows for remote measurement of the intrinsic plasma parameters within the ionosphere, allowing researchers insight into how this system behaves.

The talk will delve into the details of the ISR measurement technique and describe the steps in turning RF returns to high quality scientific measurements. This will include the signal and data processing used in a system such as the Millstone Hill ISR to extract physical information from the electromagnetic reflections of the plasma in the ionosphere. Along with the methods to create the measurement, analysis of its associated uncertainties will also be shown. Lastly, the new frontiers in ISR will be discussed, including new methods for analyzing data and newer radar systems that are being built and/or planned.



Dr. John Swoboda

Geospace Research Scientist,
MIT Haystack Observatory



John Swoboda is a Geospace Research Scientist at the MIT Haystack Observatory. His areas of research include applying advanced signal processing and inverse theoretic techniques to improving sensor systems within the Geospace community. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a PhD in electrical engineering from Boston University.


     Host: Professor Alex Wyglinski