NOAA 97-R512

Contact: Dane Konop                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 


Erik N. Rasmussen, a tornado researcher with the NOAA-University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, has been named one of 60 outstanding young U.S. scientists by President Clinton. He will receive the award from the President in a White House ceremony Nov. 3.

Currently serving as a member of the Thunderstorm Studies Team at National Severe Storms Laboratory facilities in Boulder, Colo., Rasmussen was specifically cited by the President for "significant advances in the understanding of tornado genesis by planning and directing a major field experiment and conducting subsequent observational studies."

Since receiving his Ph. D. from Colorado State University in 1992, Rasmussen has been responsible for planning and directing Project VORTEX (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment), a field experiment designed to greatly enhance our understanding of severe storms and improve NOAA tornado predictions and warnings by intercepting tornadoes and studying them close-up.

The annual Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, established by the President in February 1996, is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers.

In announcing the awards Oct. 24, President Clinton said, "These gifted young professionals exemplify the best of our science and technology community and will help set the scientific pace for the U.S. and the world in the years ahead. Their passion for discovery and their determination to explore new scientific frontiers will drive this nation forward and build a better America for the twenty-first century."

A native of Hutchinson, Kan., and currently a resident of Louisville, Colo., Rasmussen received his B.S. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and his M.S. in atmospheric science from Texas Tech University.


For more information about the National Severe Storms Laboratory, visit . For more information about Erik Rasmussen's work, visit

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