Advanced Studies Program (ASP)
The Advanced Study Program (ASP) was created early in the history of NCAR to
provide a mechanism for looking to the future of the atmospheric sciences.
This function is exercised today in two ways. ASP arranges for a number of
scientists near the beginning of their careers to work for a time at NCAR, both
to gain familiarity with work on major atmospheric science problems and to
learn how to make best use of NCAR's capabilities. The program also provides
for the examination of research areas that are particularly timely or that,
despite having long-term importance, are relatively under emphasized at NCAR or
in the community. The first of these activities--bringing new scientists to
NCAR--is organized within the Visitor Program. The second--supporting selected
areas of research--consists of convening workshops on forward-looking issues,
selecting visitors from a wide spectrum of interests to work with NCAR staff,
and supporting more-experienced visitors in areas of possible future importance
to the atmospheric sciences.
ASP has several roles in the educational process for individuals in the
atmospheric sciences broadly defined. The core programs are the postdoctoral
appointments for young scientists within four years after the completion of a
Ph.D. or equivalent; NCAR Graduate Fellowships which allow young scientists to
complete a doctoral thesis while in residence at NCAR; and the summer
colloquium, designed to focus attention on a current topic research of special
interest. Opportunities to serve as fellows are advertised broadly and
appointments are made competitively. While at NCAR, fellows generally choose
to work directly with colleagues in one of the science or facility divisions.
The detailed reports of the fellows' work will be found in the individual
ASP also serves as host for a few senior visitors. During FY-94
Professor Laney Mills from the University of Charleston spent a sabbatical
leave with ASP developing material for introducing research and teaching in the
atmospheric sciences into the physics program at his university. Professor Ed
Lorenz made a shorter visit during the summer in order to work with a number of
scientists on the NCAR staff. During the year ASP was also asked to host the
NCAR interdivisional program on geophysical turbulence. This program, which
traces its history back to the earliest days of NCAR, involves scientists from
several divisions, visitors from other institutions, and workshops. Its
administration had been passed yearly among the various divisions involved, but
it was decided that having ASP, with its experience in care of visitors and
arranging workshops, as permanent host would improve the effectiveness of the program.
ASP and the High Altitude Observatory (HAO), with partial support from NASA,
hosted a summer colloquium on "Current Trends in Solar and Astrophysical
Magnetohydrodynamics" in August 1994. Thomas Bogdan (HAO) coordinated the
sessions, which featured 30 lecturers from 24 institutions. The 98
participants represented 56 institutions from 13 foreign countries and the
The colloquium addressed five topics: coronal magnetic fields and magnetic
non-equilibrium, photospheric magnetic fields and magnetic intermittency,
interaction of flows with magnetic fields and dynamo action, magnetic fields
and transport of angular momentum in stars, and magnetic fields, solar
variability, and climate change.
Through the Global Change Instruction Program (GCIP) of ASP, NCAR staff
have collaborated with a number of universities to produce a series of
curriculum modules for undergraduate students.
Titled Understanding Global Change:
Earth Science and Human Impacts, the series includes both introductions to
scientific principles and substantive discussions of specific global change
issues. During FY 94, two modules were completed and distributed:
Biological Consequences of Global Climate Change, by Christine Ennis
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Nancy Marcus (Florida
State University); and Climatic Variation in Earth History, by Eric
Barron (Pennsylvania State University). Over 2000 copies of various titles in
the series were distributed during the year. The series of eight modules will
be issued by a commercial publisher in the near future; a contract is being
finalized as of this writing.
The NSF Division of Education and Human Resources has funded the creation of
six more modules and supplemental materials over the next two years.
Scientific director for this second phase of the GCIP will be Tom Wigley (CGD
and Walter Orr Roberts Institute).