Hamid K. Rassoul

Professor | Aerospace, Physics and Space Sciences

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

Personal Overview

Hamid K. Rassoul is a Distinguished University Professor in Physics and Space Sciences. He has nearly 4 decades of experience in teaching, research and administration, including serving the university as a dean for 12 years. He has been faculty mentor for dozens of faculties, supervised 11 PDFs, graduated 36 Ph.D. and 66 M.S. students, and trained army of UG research students. Dr. Rassoul a veteran space physicist with expertise on earth system sciences and space plasma physics including ionospheric physics. He has been the PI or Co-PI for about 26 MUSD in federally funded research. He has more than 240 conference and peer-reviewed journal publications.

His research interests include advancing the science and technology of lightning, geospace energetic radiation (x-ray and gamma ray), formation of atmospheric transient luminous events (TLEs), occurrence of high amplitude electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), electromagnetic signatures of terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGFs), storm-time ionospheric and plasmaspheric dynamics, magnetospheric pulsations (ULF, Pc 1-5, and field-line resonances), geomagnetic storms (LLR & HP aurorae), and cosmic rays modulation within heliosphere (observation and theory using stochastic algorithms). 

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

As a Researcher: Rassoul's research experiences can be divided into five sub-sections of Space and Atmospheric Physics. They are (1) Planetary lightning discharges (Terrestrial and Jovian) including large amplitude EMPs, (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). 

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

As a Teacher: ~ 4 decades -- Instructor; Assistant prof; Associate prof; Full prof ; Distinguished prof

As an Administrator: Laboratory Director; Program Chair; Associate Dean and Dean 

Current Courses

In the last 5 years, I've taught/mentored the following courses: 

  • UG: Senior capstone research courses for Physics and Space Science majors (PHY4200, SPS4200, PHY4210, and SPS4210)
  • UG: Planetary Geophysics (SPS3010)
  • Grad: Planetary Science 1: Interiors (SPS5030)
  • Grad: Planetary Science 2: Atmospheres (SPS5031)
  • Grad: Research, Thesis & Dissertation (SPS/PHY6090, SPS/PHY5999, SPS/PHY6999)

Selected Publications

6 Selected Publications (2020-2022)

  1. N. Watanabe, A. Nag, G. Diendorfer, H. Pichler, W. Schulz, and H. K. Rassoul,
    Characterization of the initial stage in upward lightning at the Gaisberg Tower: 1. Current pulses, Electric Power Systems Research, , 2022a.
  2. N. Watanabe, A. Nag, G. Diendorfer, H. Pichler, W. Schulz, and H. K. Rassoul,
    Characterization of the initial stage in upward lightning at the Gaisberg Tower: 2. Electric field signatures, Electric Power Systems Research,, 2022b. 
  3. A. Nag, K. L. Cummins, M. N. Plaisir, J. G. Wilson, D. E. Crawford, R. G. Brown, R. C. Noggle, and H. K. Rassoul, Inferences on upward leader characteristics from measured currents, Atmospheric Research, , 2021.
  4. L. Boggs, N. Liu, A. Nag, T. Walker, H. Christian, C. da Silva, M. Austin, F. Aguirre, and H. K. Rassoul, Vertical temperature profile of natural lightning return strokes derived from optical spectra, , 2021.
  5. X. Gao, N. Liu, N., F. Shi, and H.K. Rassoul, Streamer discharge initiation from an isolated spherical hydrometeor at subbreakdown condition, Journal of Electrostatics, 106 (202), , 2020.
  6. G. Mailyan, A. Nag, J. R. Dwyer, R. K. Said, M. S. Briggs, O. J. Roberts, M. Stanbro, and H. K. Rassoul, Gamma-Ray and radio-frequency radiation from thunderstorms observed from space and ground, Scientific Reports, 10, Article number: 7286, , 2020.

Recognition & Awards

  • Florida Academy of Sciences, Chair, Physics and Space Sciences, 1992-2005.
  • NASA Exceptional Performance Award, Space Science Curriculum Development, 1992 & 1994
  • NASA Exceptional Performance Award, ATLAS-1 ISO and JOVE missions, 1992 & 1993 & 1995.
  • Guest/Visiting Professor, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, LOMA, Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France, and Univ. of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). 
  • Reviewer for NSF, NASA, EPA, and DOD.
  • Brevard County, Supper Apple Award for Educational Outreach, 2000.
  • Outstanding President's Award for Service, Florida Tech, 2006.
  • Outstanding Advocate Award, Florida Tech, 2007.
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Service, Florida Tech, 2004.
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, Florida Tech, 1998.
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Research, Florida Tech, 1995.
  • Student Choice -- Teacher of the Year Award, Florida Tech, 1991.


Dr. Rassoul's research interests and 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.

Rassoul's most active research projects in the last ten years has been in the area of advancing the science and technology for terrestrial lightning and the electromagnetic effects of their associated large amplitude EMPs on the geospace environment. His recent external funds, scholarly publications, as well as training graduate students, and mentoring postdoctoral fellows are all within the scopes of this subfield of atmospheric electricity. He has been a co-discoverer of several scientific breakthrough in lightning research and share two invention patents for a unique lightning detection system. 

  • Despite our familiarity with lightning and the large amount of damage that it can do, scientists and engineers know surprisingly little about how lightning discharges occur (mysteries of lightning).
  • By increasing our understanding of how lightning works, we can better protect ourselves and our investments against this natural hazard. (Protecting Operations, Communications, Assets, and Personnel).
  • Central Florida is the lightning capital of the United States, having one of the highest concentrations of lightning strikes in the world.
  • Since 2003, FIT has been one of the world leaders in atmospheric electricity and lightning research.
  • Rassoul's past lightning research efforts (2002-2017) has focused mostly on the physics of lightning discharges (Basics Research).
  • Rassoul's recent lightning research efforts (2018-present) has focus mostly on the applications of lightning discharges as a powerful source of electromagnetic illuminator (Applied Research).
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