Professor Robert (Bob) Sica has been appointed as the new Chair of The Department of Physics and Astronomy, starting on September 15, 2015.
Bob is an internationally renowned atmospheric physicist and founder of the Purple Crow Lidar facility at Western. He joined the department in 1988.
While Bob finishes his sabbatical at Meteoswiss, Professor Martin Houde will be Acting Chair, starting on July 1, 2015.
The Dean of Science, Charmaine Dean, made the following announcement:
"I am very pleased to announce Bob Sica’s appointment as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy starting September 15, 2015, until June 30, 2020.
Robert (Bob) Sica is an atmospheric scientist who studied physics as an undergraduate at Columbia University in the City of New York. He earned his PhD from the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska in 1985, where he made some of the first measurements of atmospheric coupling between the aurora (Northern Lights) and winds in the upper atmosphere. He joined Western as an Assistant Professor of Physics in 1988 and in subsequent years expanded his studies of atmospheric coupling from the upper atmosphere to the surface.
At Western, Professor Sica and his group built one of the world's most powerful lidars to measure dynamics, thermodynamics and composition of the atmosphere from the surface to the edge of space. This system, the Purple Crow Lidar, operates at the Environmental Sciences Western Field Station. Professor Sica's national and international collaborations include the Canadian Network for Detection of Atmospheric Change in Eureka, Nunavut, the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change lidar working group and the Swiss Weather Service, Meteoswiss. He is currently working with Meteoswiss on the application of optimal estimation methods to the retrieval of temperature and composition from lidars. In the area of teaching, Professor Sica was notably an early adopter and pioneer on using technology to enhance lectures.
Physics is one of the core areas of science, and its basic principles are the backbone of all university astronomy and physics departments. Professor Sica's goal as Chair is for Western to establish a long-term plan based on differentiation and adaptation to keep the Department agile and strong. His aim is to keep the Department excelling in the basic areas of astronomy and physics, but he also anticipates leading it into new directions which complement its many existing strengths. As well, he hopes the Department will benefit from further collaborations with other Departments.
Please join me in welcoming Bob Sica to his new role as Chair of Physics and Astronomy."