Hamid Rassoul

Professor | Aerospace, Physics and Space Sciences

Contact Information

(321) 674-7260
F.W. Olin Physical Sciences, 304

Personal Overview

Dr. Hamid K. Rassoul graduated in 1986 from the University of Texas at Dallas. He joined Florida Tech after two years of postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Texas and later at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In Florida Tech’s, he moved up along all the educational ranks, from a visiting to assistant to associate to full professorships, chair of the department, and he is now a senior member of the university’s administration as the Dean of College of Science.

He regards with justifiable pride the faculty team he has built in Florida Tech’s space science program. With the full support of his administrators, he has recruited some of the best minds in the business, which in turn has helped him to build one of the finest research laboratories in Florida and the nation, Geospace Physics Laboratory (GPL). GPL is a collection of 4 major laboratories with an annual external funding of about $2-3M. GPL is home to 9 PhD faculty, over 25 graduate students, and a small army of undergraduate research assistants. Rassoul’s academic work reflects his sincere devotion to be an “inclusive” university educator, in teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Hamid Rassoul is a veteran space scientist and a professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Tech. His academic work in the past 35 years reflects his sincere devotion to serving as a university educator in all facets of academia including teaching, research, and service. In addition to leading the College of Science, he is continuing his research activities, and teaching some specialized graduate courses in space sciences.

Dr. Rassoul has a considerable record of unselfish commitments for all types of professional and public service activities. He has hosted several teacher workshop programs, created and participated in many interdisciplinary educational initiatives, and has been a perennial success with various nationwide student clubs. Since 2007, he has hosted Space Coast Science Café, a county-wide outreach initiative aimed at educating local senior citizens on a range of science and engineering topics that have enhanced and enriched our lives.

Educational Background

B.S. Mathematics & Philosophy University of Teheran, Iran 1976
B.S. Physics University of Teheran, Iran 1977
M.S. Physics University of Texas, 1982
Ph.D. Space Physics, University of Texas, Dallas, 1986

Professional Experience

RESEARCHER: My research experiences can be divided into five sub-sections of Space and Atmospheric Physics. They are (1) Energetic radiation from planetary lightning discharges (Terrestrial and Jovian) including TGFs, (2) Energetic particle environment within the Solar System (SEP and cosmic ray composition and propagation/modulation) (3) Space weather studying of the inner magnetosphere during magnetic storms and substorms (Plasmasphere’s structures, its interaction with the magnetospheric ring current, and magnetospheric ULF pulsations during storms and substorms), (4) Upper atmospheric chemistry using ground and shuttle based observations (ATLAS-1 ISO project and UARC), and (5) Great or Low Latitude Auroras (Observational and theoretical studies of their particle & field characteristics). I listed the areas in the order in which I am currently most active. My active projects, the one that I currently publish, train graduate students, work with postdoctoral fellows, and have supporting external funds are the first three areas, most notably the lightning research initiative where I have been a co-discoverer of a scientific breakthrough in lightning research and share two invention patents for a unique lightning detection systems.

PI and/or Co-PI on >$2.9M in active grants (CO-I on $10M DARPA grant)

Co-Patent Holder: World Intellectual Property Organization, WO/2006/063351, LIGHTNING DETECTOR USING AN X-RAY DETECTOR AND AN E- OR B-FIELD DETECTOR.

TEACHER: 35 yrs -- Instructor; Assistant prof; Associate prof; Full prof ; 23 PhD and 66 MS grad students

ADMINISTRATOR: Laboratory Director (8 yrs); Program Chair (6 yrs); Associate Dean (5 yrs); Dean (present)

Selected Publications

For 2011 & 2012

Book's Chapter -- Dwyer, J. R., and H. K. Rassoul, High energetic radiation from thunderstorms and lightning, in Lightning Electromagnetics, Ed. Vernon Cooray, IET, 2012.

Dwyer J. R., M. M. Schaal, E. Cramer, S. Arabshahi, N. Liu, J. D. Hill, D. M. Jordan, M. A. Uman, and H. K. Rassoul, Observation of a gamma-ray flash at ground level in association with a cloud-to-ground lightning return stroke, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A10303, 13 PP., doi:10.1029/2012JA017810, 2012.

Schaal, M. M., J. R. Dwyer, Z. H. Saleh, M. A. Uman, J. D. Hill, D. M. Jordan, and H. K. Rassoul, Spatial Energy Distributions of X-ray Emission from Natural and Rocket Triggered Lightning Using Measurements from the Thunderstorm Energetic Radiation Array (TERA), J. Geophys. Res., 117, D15201, 15 PP., doi:10.1029/2012JD017897, 2012.

Liu, N. Y., B. Kosar, S. Sadighi, J. R. Dwyer, and H. K. Rassoul, Formation of Streamer Discharges from an Isolated Ionization Column at Sub-breakdown Conditions, Phys. Rev. Lett., 109, 025002, 2012.

Liu, N. Y., J. R. Dwyer, and H. K. Rassoul, Effects of Pressure and Humidity on Positive Corona Inception from Thundercloud Hydrometeors, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys., doi:j.jastp.2012.01.012, 80, 179–186, 2012.

Hill, J. D., M. A. Uman, D. M. Jordan, J. R. Dwyer, and Hamid Rassoul, “Chaotic” dart leaders in triggered lightning: Electric fields, x-rays, and source locations, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D03118, doi:10.1029/2011JD016737, 2012.

Kosar, B. C., N. Y. Liu, and H. K. Rassoul, Luminosity and propagation characteristics of sprite streamers initiated from small ionospheric disturbances at sub-breakdown conditions, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, A08328, doi:10.1029/2012JA017632, 2012.

Smith, D. M., J. R. Dwyer, B. J. Hazelton, B. W. Grefenstette, G. F. M. Martinez-McKinney, Z. Y. Zhang, A. W. Lowell, N. A. Kelley, M. E. Splitt, S. M. Lazarus, W. Ulrich, M. Schaal, Z. Saleh, E. Cramer, S. A. Cummer, G. Lu, X.-M. Shao, C. Ho, T. Hamlin, R. J. Blakeslee, S. J. Heckman, and H. K. Rassoul, A Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flash Observed from an Aircraft, J. Geophys. Res.,116, D20124, doi:10.1029/2011JD016252, 2011.

Dwyer, J. R., M. Schaal, M. A. Uman, D. M. Jordan, D. Hill and H. K. Rassoul, High-speed X-ray Images of Triggered Lightning Dart Leaders, J. Geophys. Res., 116, 2011.

Dwyer, J. R., and H. K. Rassoul, Comment on “Runaway Breakdown and Electrical Discharges in Thunderstorms”, by G. Milikh and R. Roussel-Dupré, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A08312, doi:10.1029/2011JA016670, 2011.

Smith, D. M., J. R. Dwyer, B. J. Hazelton, B. W. Grefenstette, G. F. M. Martinez-McKinney, Z. Y. Zhang, A. W. Lowell, N. A. Kelley, M. E. Splitt, S. M. Lazarus, W. Ulrich, M. Schaal, Z. H. Saleh, E. Cramer, S. A. Cummer, G. Lu, R. J. Blakeslee, and H.K. Rassoul, The Rarity of Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L08807, doi:10.1029/2011GL046875, 2011.

Recognition & Awards

  • Outstanding Advocate Award, 2007
  • Outstanding President's Award for Service, 2006, 2007
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Service, Florida Tech, 2004
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, Florida Tech, 1998
  • Student's Choice -- COS Teacher of the Year Award, 1995
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, Florida Tech, 1991
  • Florida Academy of Sciences, Chair and/or Co-Chair, Physics and Space Sciences Section, 1992-2005
  • NASA Exceptional Performance Awards for Space Science Curriculum Development, 1992, 1994
  • NASA Exceptional Performance Awards for Research in ATLAS-1 ISO and JOVE missions, 1992, 1993, 1995
  • Brevard County Supper Apple Award in High School Outreach Education, 1992
  • West Melbourne School of Sciences, Advisory Council, FIT Representative, 2001-2005
  • Florida Space Institute (FSI)at KSC, FIT Educational Representative, 1999-2005
  • Chairman of Florida Tech's Faculty Senate Admission and Scholarship Committee, 1991-1993


Dr. Rassoul's current research activities include: (1) X-ray and gamma-ray observations of thunderstorms and lightning, (2) TGF & NBEs & Sprites, (3) Formation and evolution of the Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events, (4) Modulation and propagation of cosmic rays within heliosphere, and (5) Inner magnetosphere dynamics during magnetic storms.

Please go to the Geospace Physics Laboratory (GPL) website for more information on my research in lightning, atmospheric electricity, and electromagnetics.

Research & Project Interests

Planetary lightning & atmospheric electrical discharges, SEP and Cosmic Rays Physics, Space Weather & magnetic storms/substorms, and Field and Particle detector development.