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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Space Science and Engineering Center welcomes UW alum to director position

Brad Pierce has been named the new director of the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, following a nationwide search.

Pierce received his Ph.D. and master of science in meteorology from UW-Madison and is a physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the Advanced Satellite Products Branch on the UW campus. The Advanced Satellite Products Branch is co-located with the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) within SSEC and was founded to foster collaboration among NOAA, NASA, and University of Wisconsin research scientists and faculty.

Prior to his tenure at NOAA, Pierce was a senior research scientist within the Atmospheric Sciences Division at the NASA Langley Research Center.

Pierce will begin the position as SSEC director on Oct. 1 and report to the UW-Madison vice chancellor for research and graduate education.

“I have a long, productive history with SSEC and recognize the important role that the center plays as an international leader in the development and utilization of space based Earth observations,” Pierce says. “I accepted the SSEC director position because of my strong commitment to the continued success of SSEC. I have a deep appreciation for the SSEC culture, which fosters individual creativity and provides institutional support for its principal investigators and scientists.”

The SSEC is integral in the understanding of weather, climate and atmospheric processes worldwide. In addition to developing algorithms necessary to agencies such as the National Weather Service, SSEC designs systems to collect data from stationary and orbiting platforms to support Earth and atmospheric science research. Housed within SSEC is the CIMSS, a satellite meteorology research center, and the SSEC Data Center. The Data Center holds the world’s largest online, geostationary weather satellite data archive that provides high quality, geophysical data to researchers, but also to industries that are affected by weather.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the center forward as the Earth system science community seeks new opportunities under the 2017 National Academies Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space,” Pierce says. “I also recognize the critical role that SSEC plays in research at UW-Madison and intend to pursue more interdisciplinary funding opportunities across campus, as well as strengthen postdoctoral recruitment efforts at the center. As director, I will encourage all SSEC research scientists to seek out new research partners on campus through collaborative activities.”