Gallus to present tornado research on Nov. 18

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

The challenges of studying tornadoes will be the focus of a November 18 lecture at Iowa State University. Bill Gallus, storm chaser and professor of meteorology in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, will discuss the latest theories on how tornadoes form, the preliminary findings of why some storms produce tornadoes and some don’t, and what is learned from storm damage.

Bill Gallus

Gallus will present "The Difficult Quest to Unravel the Secrets of the Tornado" on Monday, November 18, at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall, Memorial Union. This fall 2013 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Lecture is free and open to the public.

Photos and videos related to Gallus’ research will be shown at the lecture, including damage photos from the EF5 tornado in Joplin, Mo., in 2011, as well as the central Iowa tornadoes eight years ago in which Gallus conducted research to determine the storm’s strength.

Gallus will also show video from inside a tornado, which was captured by instrumentation from Tim Samaras, a friend and colleague. Gallus is dedicating the lecture to Samaras, who was killed while deploying instruments in an Oklahoma tornado on May 31. Samaras collaborated with Iowa State for over nine years.

Gallus will discuss the importance of tornado research, the ways to get the data needed to understand them better, and why researchers have to get in such close proximity to tornadoes.

"The audience will learn how tornadoes form – as well as we can understand – and why there are still so many remaining questions," Gallus said. "I believe tornadoes are the most difficult weather phenomena to study."

Gallus has been fascinated by weather since a young age. He remembers well a terrible thunderstorm and snowstorm that occurred in his hometown of Johnstown, Pa., (known by many as Flood City) when he was in the first grade. He began keeping a weather diary the next year, at age 7.

Gallus joined the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences in 1995 after completing a Ph.D. at Colorado State University and a postdoctoral position at the National Center for Environmental Prediction.

The Dean’s Lecture Series is coordinated by Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is cosponsored by the University Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body). A reception will follow the lecture. See the flyer.

About Liberal Arts and Sciences The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. College faculty design new materials, unravel biological structures, care for the environment, and explore social and behavioral issues. From fundamental research to technology transfer and artistic expression, the college supports people in its community and around the world.

  • 30 –

NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 
Iowa State University

Contacts: Bill Gallus, Meteorology, (515) 294-2270 ( Laura Wille, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, (515) 294-7742 (