Lidar: A 50 Year Personal Retrospective

Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences
Weekly Colloquium
Thursday, January 31st, 2019
4:00 pm in Harvill Building Room 101 ~ Refreshments at 3:45 pm
John A. Reagan

Emeritus Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Arizona


The presentation will be a personal retrospective highlighting advances and notable events in lidar since its inception a little over 50 years ago.  The presenter (J.A. Reagan) first learned of lidar in 1964, as a beginning PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, hearing from his soon to be major professor (Prof W.P. Birkemeier) of a lidar talk given by Myron Ligda at the 1964 World Conf. on Radio Meteorology in Boulder, CO.  Birkemeier encouraged Reagan to pursue building a lidar and applying it to investigate atmospheric structural features.  Doing so Reagan built a simple elastic-scatter ruby lidar that saw “first light” in late 1965.  It was employed in exploratory investigations to test the system and observe a variety of atmospheric features through 1966 and the first half of 1967, the results of which formed the basis of Reagan’s dissertation.  Reagan went on to become a faculty member at the University of Arizona where in the following ~50 years he pursued a wide variety of lidar investigations, often in collaboration with his long-time colleague B.M. Herman (deceased June 8, 2018).  Reagan worked (often in collaboration or team participant in numerous missions and projects) with most types of lidar, excepting Raman lidar, (e.g., slant-path lidar, bistatic lidar, micro pulse lidar, DIAL, shuttle lidar (LITE), airborne HSRL and satellite lidar (ICESat/GLAS and CALIPSO).  He has also participated in many professional/governmental committees, panels and task forces related to lidar remote sensing, and helped organize/participate in many lidar related conferences and symposia.  The presentation will draw extensively upon these experiences and his interactions with his fellow lidar researchers over the decades.

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