Faculty Experts


Dr. Ryan Haaland

Dr. Ryan Haaland
Chair and Professor of Physics & Engineering

Expertise:

  • Physics 

  • Physics education 

  • Space debris 

  • Space physics and upper atmospheric physics 

Education:

  • D.Phil., Physics, University of Oxford, 1999 
  • M.S., Space Physics, University of California Los Angeles, 1990 
  • B.A., Physics and Math, Concordia College, 1985

Contact:

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Dr. Ryan Haaland is available to comment on topics related to areas of interest or expertise. If you need further assistance, contact Public Affairs at 970-247-7401 or by email.


About Dr. Ryan Haaland

Ryan Haaland is the chair and a professor of Physics and Engineering at Fort Lewis College. He joined the college in 2006 and has served as department chair since 2010. Dr. Haaland conducts research in upper atmospheric electricity, physics education and space situational awareness. For over a decade, he has studied high-speed optical measurements of electrical discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere. Prior to joining Fort Lewis, Dr. Haaland served 21 years as an officer in the United States Air Force and was an associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Dr. Haaland helped spearhead the Fort Lewis partnership with several higher education institutions to form Falcon Telescope Network, which identifies and studies objects floating above the Earth’s atmosphere (the observatory project is funded by Defense University Research Instrumentation Program). He is currently funded by the National Science Foundation to create and test research-based pre-instruction learning modules for introductory physics to prepare students for interactive engagement lessons (in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force Academy and four other institutions). His research has been funded by various other organizations as well, including the Department of Defense.

Dr. Haaland was the 2014-2015 Featured Scholar at Fort Lewis College and has received several other awards for excellence in teaching and research. 


Grant Awards

Dr. Haaland was awarded a $150,000 grant in December, 2015 from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to fund the Southwest Innovation Corridor project in conjunction with the Telluride Foundation.


In The Media

"Amazing 'Red Lightning' Photographed from Space," LiveScience, August 2015

"At the Edge of Space,” PBS Nova, 2014

”Physics professor Ryan Haaland announced as 2014-2015 Featured Scholar,” Fort Lewis College

“His head in the clouds,” Durango Herald, 2012 


Publications and Presentations

High-Speed Observations of Sprite Streamers,” Surveys in Geophysics, 2013 

Charge rearrangement by sprites over a north Texas mesoscale convective system,“ Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012 

Diameter-speed relation of sprite streamers,” Journal of Physics, 2012 

High-Speed Imaging of Sprite Streams,” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, November 2011 


Highlights

Dr. Ryan Haaland is the 2014-15 FLC Featured Scholar, a recognition that honors one faculty member each academic year for their exceptional accomplishments in research and scholarship. 

About The Research

Dr. Haaland’s connections with the U.S. Air Force Academy helped bring Fort Lewis College together with several other universities to create the Falcon Telescope Network, an international partnership that surveys and tracks objects orbiting the Earth. His research is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The FTN will also be used for traditional astronomy and public outreach.

Dr. Haaland is also a leading researcher studying sprites, which are massive electrical discharges that happen above storm clouds. He and colleagues study thunderstorms in the Midwest to capture sprites on film. 

Dr. Haaland Explains his Work

“Here at Fort Lewis, we’re doing so many extraordinary things, and my hope is that we’re demonstrating that there is a new paradigm for what it means to be a liberal arts college. We involve students in high-quality research and engineering design because it gives them opportunities that help them better define what they want to do in the future. Our goal is to create well-rounded graduates who are 21st-century problem solvers. I’m here because I believe that passionately.”