NOVEMBER 15, 2006

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OU meteorology graduate wins prestigious national competition

Matthew J. Haugland, who earned his doctorate earlier this year from the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, was awarded the $25,000 grand prize in the National Collegiate Inventors Competition, which recognizes and rewards innovations, discoveries and research by college and university students and their faculty advisers. Haugland’s entry, titled “The Uncoupled Surface Layer Model,” is based on his research of weather observations in microclimates.

Haugland developed a forecasting technique for forecasting nighttime temperatures on a micro scale that exceeds any other model in accuracy and simplicity – a technique that is especially important to the agricultural industry, where crop damage due to frost is one of the leading reasons for crop failure.

Focusing on the creative work of the inventor, the Collegiate Inventors Competition promotes exploration in invention, science, engineering, technology and other creative endeavors and provides a window on future technologies from which society will benefit.

This year’s winners were announced during an evening awards ceremony last week at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., attended by National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, technology leaders and educators. The competition is operated by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation and is sponsored by the Abbott Fund, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the History Channel.

Haugland competed with students from universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Johns Hopkins University.

John Snow, dean of OU’s College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, praised Haugland’s accomplishments, noting that, “Matt is an outstanding example of the type of applied researcher and entrepreneur that is needed to meet the demands of users of weather information.” Snow also noted that the OU meteorology programs have focused on becoming one of the top technology driven schools in the nation, emphasizing weather radar and surface-based observing systems, and on nurturing promising students with new ideas in these areas. “Matt Haugland is one of OU’s best and brightest graduates. All of us in meteorology will hear from him many times in the future,” according to Snow.

Haugland came to OU from his native state of California to study meteorology at one of the top programs in the country. While working on his education, he purchased land and installed a seven-station micronet of surface-based weather sensors to provide data for his doctoral research. The presence of the Oklahoma Mesonet, an automated network of 116 observing sites and a joint program of Oklahoma State University and OU, served as the catalyst that led to Haugland’s creative work.

Haugland earned his Master of Science degree in 2002 and his Bachelor of Science degree in 2001, both from OU and in meteorology.

Contact: Cary Leffler, 405. 325.2581