College of Arts and Science - where great minds meet

ISAS Professor Bio's

ST.-MAURICE, Jean-Pierre

Professor and Canadian Research Chair,
Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
Chair, Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies
Telephone: (306) 966-2906
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 259 Physics

B.A. (College of Valleyfield, PQ, Canada.) 1967
B.Sc. (Universite de Montreal, Canada) 1971
Ph.D. (Yale University, US) 1975
J-P St-MauriceResearch and Academic Interests:

The focal point of the research undertaken by Professor St-Maurice and his collaborators is the ionosphere.  In the grand scheme of things, this region is the interface where the neutral atmosphere meets the upper ionized regions called magnetosphere and plasmasphere.  The ionospheric region is rich with electrical currents triggered either by neutral winds and atmospheric tides generators at lower altitudes and latitudes or by the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere at much higher altitudes and latitudes.  In the latter case the electrical currents trigger the spectacular aurora borealis.  Some of the research is devoted to the small scale processes responsible for the redistribution of energy and momentum inside a particular constituent like the plasma itself.  Or they can involve the exchange of energy and momentum between constituents like the plasma and the fsbackground neutral gas.  These studies involve the study of the evolution of structures and, ultimately, turbulence. They also involve the study of ion velocity distributions, which can be very different from the Maxwellian (Gaussian) shape associated with thermal equilibrium.  The exchange of momentum and energy between species also triggers larger scale phenomena, for instance, large scale winds and internal gravity waves in the neutral atmosphere.  Finally, on larger scales still, the solar wind deposits a lot of its energy and momentum to the magnetosphere and ionosphere, creating a large scale circulation pattern that covers the polar cap and the auroral regions, and sometimes extends to equatorial regions!  The research group is particularly interested nowadays in the circulation that takes place over the polar cap itself, outside the auroral regions proper.  Prof St-Maurice uses theoretical tools like kinetic and plasma theory to study small scale processes, numerical and theoretical tools to study the neutral wind circulation, Joule heating, and the generation of internal gravity waves in the atmosphere, and experimental tools like radar and satellite data to study large scale processes and plasma turbulence in the radar case, and to study more local kinetic processes in the satellite case.  He is currently a co-PI on the US funded AMISR incoherent scatter radar at Resolute Bay and an international PI on the SuperDARN radar network, which currently comprises of the order of 20 radars used to study the plasma circulation on a global scale. 
For short vignettes on Prof. St-Maurice's research interests, click here (for u of S production) or here (for Nortel production where you'll need Real Player 8 or higher).  For more details go to Prof. St-Maurice's personal web page.


Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
Executive Secretary, Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies

Telephone: (306) 966-6449
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 255 Physics

B.Sc. (University of Canterbury, N.Z.) 1962
Ph.D. (University of Canterbury, N.Z.) 1965

Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. Manson's research interests lie in the area of the Earth's middle atmosphere and thermosphere (20-150 km): dynamics, chemistry, aeronomy and coupling processes. Three main categories are provided:
1. Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere using Radars
Dr. Manson and his colleague, Dr. Chris Meek (Research Associate), have been contributing for over 30 years to the development and operation of radars (Medium Frequency, MF, 2-3 MHz) for the sensing of winds, waves [atmospheric gravity, planetary and tidal] and electron densities in the middle atmosphere (50-110 km). Their research group has developed technologies, e.g. high sensitivity, rapid gain-response receivers and sophisticated analysis methods and software, for the efficient production of winds profiles (3 km, 5 min sampling), using interferometry and spaced-antenna methods. These advances have been applied to the main MF radar near Saskatoon, which has a 4x4 element, crossed- antenna transmission array and several large receiving arrays, and to the two smaller MF radars. One of these is at Ramfjordmoen (70N, Norway) beside the EISCAT facility, near ALOMAR/Andenes, and the other near Boulder (40N, USA), part of the CEDAR program. Drs Manson and Meek are also the “mentors” [principle investigators] of a Meteor Wind/Temperature Radar at Eureka (80N, Canada).

2. Dynamic of the Middle Atmosphere/ Thermosphere
The "Atmospheric Dynamics Group" has now archived almost three solar cycles of winds data. These data are analyzed by advanced spectral techniques to allow process-studies and to obtain climatologies of tidal, planetary and gravity waves. They have spatial scales of 10-10,000 km, and periods of minutes to many days. They interact with the atmosphere and each other in complex, non-linear fashions. Such waves have sources in the lower atmosphere or troposphere, associated with the ozone layer, water vapour, the jet-stream and thunderstorms. Together they redistribute energy, momentum and gaseous-minor constituents and pollutants throughout the entire 100 km-thick atmosphere of the planet. Radar and satellite data (Odin-OSIRIS, Aura-MLS, SCISAT-ACE and TIMED) are archived and used to study regional and global Atmospheric Processes Of Climate and its Change (APOCC).

3. Canadian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Change (CANDAC), Global Programs
Dr Manson is active within SCOSTEP's CAWSES (Climate And Weather of the Sun Earth System), as convener of the “Coupling Processes” project: “Atmospheric Wave Interactions with the Winter Polar Vortices (0-100 km)”. Global arrays of radars (MF/meteor), opticals (e.g. Fabry-Perot Interferometers) and satellite systems are used. He is a Co-Investigator within the CANDAC Polar Environment Atmospheric Laboratory (PEARL) located on Ellesmere Island at Eureka, and “mentor” of its Meteor Radar (80N). This is the highest latitude Arctic observatory on Earth .



Professor Emeritus
Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies
Telephone: (306) 966-6441
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 304 Physics

B.Sc. (Exon) 1960
Ph.D. (Exon) 1963
D.Sc. (Sask) 1987
Distinguished University Researcher 2002
FRSC, P.Eng.

E.J. Llewellyn Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. Llewellyn was head of the InfraRed Group in the Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.  He also served as the Principal Investigator for the OSIRIS instrument on the Odin satellite from its inception, in 1994, through to 2008.  Dr. Llewellyn's research specialization and expertise is optical aeronomy, with particular emphasis on the use of airglow emissions to derive atmospheric state parameters, and on the interaction of spacecraft in low Earth orbit with the atmosphere.  He is a co-Investigator for the WINDII instrument on the UARS spacecraft and for the ACE instrument on the Canadian SciSat-I satellite.  He was a co-discoverer (with Drs. W.F.J. Evans FRSC, D.M. Hunten FRSC and A. Vallance Jones FRSC) of the upper ozone layer; an together with Drs. R.G.H. Greer, G. Witt, J. Stegman and B.H. Solheim he developed the idea that both the oxygen green line and the low energy molecular oxygen states are excited by energy transfer.  Together with Dr. I.C. McDade he developed a set of mechanistic rate constants that can describe the airglow excitation of oxygen.  He has also developed, with Dr. McDade, a new description of the processes controlling the collisional relaxation of vibrationally excited OH  Another aspect of that collaboration has been the development of a tomographic analysis system that can improve our understanding of airglow distributions.  This work is currently being extended by Drs. Bourassa and Degenstein.
While Dr. Llewellyn has been extensively involved with research intended to improve our understanding of the excitation mechanisms for the various airglow emissions most of the current research efforts are directed toward Odin and in particular the OSIRIS instrument, an optical spectrograph and infrared imager, on that satellite.  The infrared imager makes observations that allow the application of tomographic techniques to the measurement of the oxygen infrared atmospheric bands and the Meinel OH emissions.  In this work he is supported by the efforts of Dr. Richard Gattinger an adjunct faculty member.  He has also developed a close collaboration with Professor John Burrows at the University of Bremen.  Other related work is involved with the design of new instrumentation that can be used to make spectral tomographic measurements that provide improved knowledge of the atmospheric state parameters both for the Earth and for Mars.
Low altitude spacecraft and rockets are frequently enveloped in a vehicle induced glow and, following the discovery that the glow brightness is both species and temperature dependent, Dr. Llewellyn is involved in an on-going program to use the glow signals as an indicator of the atomic oxygen content of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere.  This work has a particular importance for low Earth orbit spacecraft.


G.J. SofkoSOFKO, George J.

Professor Emeritus
Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Telephone: (306) 966-6444
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 255 Physics

B.A.Sc. (UBC) 1960
Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1960-63)
Ph.D. (U. of Sask.) 1969

Research and Academic Interests:
  • Dr. Sofko became the leader of the Canadian SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) team in 1993, and remains as one of the international Principal Investigators. As of January, 2009, the SuperDARN network encompasses 21 radars in total, 14 in the northern hemisphere and 7 in the southern hemisphere, and funding is in place to expand the network to 30 radars.  The Canadian SuperDARN team, funded by NSERC grants and CSA contracts, includes collaborators at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Western Ontario and New Brunswick. The Canadian SuperDARN radar component includes four radars, the two original radars at Saskatoon (1993) and Prince George (2000), and a new pair of radars called the PolarDARN pair at Rankin Inlet (2006) and Inuvik (2007).  Each pair of these Doppler radars is capable of measuring a large-scale map (about 4 million square kilometers in size) of the convection, electric fields and field-aligned currents (FACs) in the ionospheric F-region. These fields and FACs are generated in the Earth's magnetosphere as a result of the transfer of energy from the solar wind to the Earth. The SuperDARN project includes direct internaional participation from scientists in Canada, US, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Australia, and associates in many other nations. The project has been one of the most successful international collaborations in space science, and has led to a total of over 600 published papers.
  • Dr. Sofko was the Head of the Auroral Processes Team of the Canadian Network for Space Research (CNSR), one of the Networks of Centers of Excellence established by the Government of Canada in 1990. During the 5- year span of the CNSR, a set of sophistocated multiple-beam phased-array radars called SAPPHIRE NORTH and SAPPHIRE SOUTH were built by the University of Saskatchewan team (Dr. J. A. Koehler and Dr. Sofko).
  • Dr. Sofko (Principal Investigator), Dr. Koehler and Dr. Art Wacker of Electrical Engineering were leaders in the application of microwave radars to agriculture via a contract with the Canada Center for Remote Sensing during the period 1985-89. Three microwave radars were used to measure the microwave signature of crops in various stages of development, as part of the RADARSAT program. Measurements by RADARSAT, Canada's remote sensing satellite launched in 1995, and later followed by RADARSAT II.  The satellite data are used to assess the status of Canada's crops relative to those in the rest of the world and to plan the most effective approach to their marketing.
  • Dr. Sofko came to the U of S for Ph.D. work under a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship awarded in 1960, one of the few WWFs ever awarded to an engineering student. Before completion of his Ph.D. work under the direction of Dr. Alex Kavadas, the founder and first president of SED Systems, Dr. Sofko was hired by the Physics Department in 1963, and was an active member of the Engineering Physics group within the Department, which became the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics in 1982. Dr. Sofko became a Professor Emeritus in 2007, and has remained an active teacher, researcher and grants/contracts administrator since that time.


Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
Telephone: (306) 966-6426
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 258 Physics

University Diploma (equiv. M.Sc.),
U of St-Petersburg, Dept. of Radio Physics, Russia, 1977
Candidate of Physical-Mathematical Sciences (equiv. Ph.D.), Moscow Institute of the Physics of the Earth, Russia, 1986

Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. Koustov is interested in studying Sun's influences on the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere via electrodynamical processes by involving data from a variety of instruments on the ground and in space. Among targets of investigation are mechanisms of the solar wind energy entry into the upper atmosphere and establishing of plasma circulation at various ionospheric heights.  Research is based on data collected by various ground-based radars such powerful incoherent scatter radars, coherent HF SuperDARN radars and other radio systems.  Another significant area of research is plasma physics of small-scale irregularity formation in the ionosphere at various heights and latitudes.  Such irregularities are responsible for the onset of coherent echoes and thus ultimately determine the capabilities of coherent radars in studying the plasma flows in the ionosphere and above.


Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Telephone: (306) 966-6442
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400
Office: 257 Physics

B.E., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Sask.)

Research and Academic Interests

Dr. Hussey's research interests centre around the ionospheric E-region, both at the high- and mid-latitudes as well as the high-latitude ionospheric F-region.  His E-region research focuses on a better understanding of the physics of the excitation process of naturally occurring plasma wave instabilities which occur in this region of the ionosphere.  The E-region is the transition region between the neutral atmosphere below and the ionised near-Earth space environment above.  The dynamics in the neutral atmosphere is dominated by winds and motions of the neutral atmosphere and the weakly ionised region above the E-region is dominated by electrodynamic motions of the charged particles, while the E-region is a combination of neutral and electrodynamics to varying degrees.

In the mid-latitude E-region the contribution of bulk neutral motions on the excitation of plasma instabilities dominate; whereas, the high-latitude E-region is much more dominated by coupling with the upper ionosphere (F-region) and magnetosphere where neutral affects are much more difficult to detect and/or less significant compared to electrodynamical ones.  My research focuses on better understanding these plasma processes in the E-region by probing them using coherent backscatter radars both at VHF and HF frequencies. Analysis of the received coherent radar echoes are compare to currently proposed theories and models.  Part of my research has involved developing and implementing a novel VHF radar system with unprecedented high spatial and temporal resolution for probing the very dynamical coherent radar backscatter associated with the E-region.

I am also associated with the SuperDARN radar group situated here at the University of Saskatchewan.  A SuperDARN radar is an HF coherent backscatter radar used to probe the ionosphere.  It is optimised to study the F-region of the ionosphere, for magnetospheric studies, but also can study other regions such as the E-region.  SuperDARN is a very versatile experiment and can be used for many types of near-Earth space science, either ground-based, satellite-based, or both.  The ePOP satellite, to be launched in 2009, has one experiment where SuperDARN supplies the radio signal to be received by a radio receiver instrument on the satellite.  This experiment will allow for trans-ionospheric studies of radio waves as they propagate through the terrestrial ionosphere.  In anticipation of the satellite launch, modelling of the expected signal is currently in progress.


Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Telephone: (306) 966-6447
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400

Ph.D. (U Sask) 1999

B.Eng. (U Sask) 1993
B.Sc. (U Sask) 1988

Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. Degenstein is an Associate Professor of Engineering Physics at the University of Saskatchewan and has been a member of the U of S faculty since the autumn of 1999. Dr. Degenstein specializes in the remote sensing of the atmosphere through optical means with a primary focus on satellite based optical instrumentation. Dr. Degenstein is an executive member of the Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS) and the head of the Atmospheric Remote sensing Group (ARG) within ISAS. At this time Dr. Degenstein is the Principal Investigator (PI) of OSIRIS, the Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager System. OSIRIS is the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) contribution to the multi-national, Swedish led, Odin mission where the fundamental goal of Odin is to better understand the photochemistry and dynamics associated with arctic ozone and its depletion. Dr. Degenstein is also the PI of the Stratosphere Troposphere Exchange Processes (STEP) mission concept study funded by the CSA. This mission is designed to study the processes that occur in the region know as the Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere (UTLS). Dr. Degenstein is currently an executive member of the Space and Atmospheric Environments Advisory Committee (SAEAC), a committee with a mandate to advise the CSA with respect to atmospheric science. He is also the past chair of the Division of Aeronomy and Space Physics (DASP) within the Canadian Association of Physicists.

Dr. Degenstein has been part of the OSIRIS project since the summer of 1993. As a Ph.D. graduate student working with Dr. E.J. (Ted) Llewellyn, the original OSIRIS PI, Dr. Degenstein was involved in almost every aspect of OSIRIS including: design; construction; calibration; characterization; commissioning; validation and analysis of the scientific data stream. As faculty at the University of Saskatchewan Dr. Degenstein has primarily been involved with the analysis of OSIRIS data for the purpose of studying the dynamics and photo-chemistry of the upper troposphere, the stratosphere and the mesosphere. During this time Dr. Degenstein has supervised nine graduate student theses including those written by: Kirk Lamont (M.Sc. 2007), Adam Bourassa (Ph.D. 2007 and M.Sc. 2004); Chris Roth (M.Sc. 2007), Mike Stoicescu (M.Sc. 2006); Reid MacDonald (M.Sc. 2006); Truitt Wiensz (M.Sc. 2005); Paul Loewen (M.Sc. 2004) and Brad Wilcox (M.Sc. 2002).
. . . 2

At this time Dr. Degenstein has two graduate students: Truitt Wiensz (Ph.D.); and Tony Bathgate (M.Sc.). The focus of study for the current members of the ARG is the retrieval of atmospheric aerosol parameters through the investigation of their light scattering properties. These aerosols include: ash and sulphates originating within volcanic eruptions; forest fire particulates; stratospheric sulphate aerosols; cirrus and subvisual cirrus clouds and polar mesospheric and stratospheric clouds. Research funding for most of the work performed by members of the ARG is primarily provided by the CSA and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).


Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Telephone: (306) 966-6605
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400

NSERC University Faculty Award (2007-present)
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2004)
Ph.D. (U Leicester) 2001
Commonwealth Scholar (1998-2001)
M.Sc. (U Sask) 1997
B.Sc. (U Sask) 1994

Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. McWilliams research into the interaction of the solar wind and the Earth's space environment relies heavily on data from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network.  She is a member of the Canadian SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) team.  SuperDARN is an international consortium of research groups who operate high-frequency radars in and around the Earth's northern and southern auroral zones.  These paired Doppler radars measure the convection velocity (or equivalently the convection electric field) over vast portions of the Earth's polar ionospheres. SuperDARN measurements are largely made in the regions where the aurora borealis and the aurora australis (the northern and southern lights) are most active - the auroral zones. These regions are very important to the Earth's space environment as they are the regions where huge amounts of energy can be transferred to the upper atmosphere from the solar wind via the Earth's magnetosphere. For example, during a typical substorm 50 gigawatts of power can be dumped into the Earth's ionosphere; this produces the beautiful aurora that we can see at night in Saskatoon.

Dr. McWilliams is primarily involved with assimilative studies of the Earth's magnetosphere-ionosphere system. She combines SuperDARN measurements of the Earth's ionosphere, images of the ultraviolet aurora seen from space, images of the visible aurora seen from the ground, magnetic fluctuations observed on the ground and in space, and particles detected in the upper atmosphere, the magnetosphere, and the solar wind. This multi-instrument approach has the advantage of being able to reveal information about both the particles and the fields which exist in the Earth's space environment.

Dr. McWilliams was first involved with SuperDARN as an NSERC summer student, when she was part of the team that built the radar located just outside of Saskatoon.  This led to her joining ISAS as a M.Sc. student.  Following her Masters' degree, Dr. McWilliams was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship went to the University of Leicester, which is one of the SuperDARN research groups in England, to do Ph.D studies.  Her Ph.D. work was an examination of the direct coupling of the solar wind to the magnetosphere-ionosphere system, primarily by means of transient magnetic reconnection, or 'flux transfer events.' Dr. McWilliams returned to the University of Saskatchewan in 2002 as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow, where she rejoined the Canadian SuperDARN team.


Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Telephone: (306) 966-1418
Facsimile: (306) 966-6400

Ph.D. (U Sask) 2007
USSU Teaching Excellence Award (2006)
NSERC Doctoral Scholarship

M.Sc. (U Sask) 2003
B.Eng. (U Sask) 2001
B.Sc. (U Sask) 2001

  • Engineering Physics 311: Electronics I
  • Engineering Physics 271: Heat, Kinetic Theory and Thermodynamics
Research Links: Research and Academic Interests:

Dr. Bourassa, a member of the Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, is actively involved in the development of satellite based remote sensing measurement and inversion techniques that are able to probe the atmosphere globally, frequently and repetitively. The data that these techniques can provide are invaluable to the understanding and monitoring of atmospheric processes.  Primarily, his work has been as a member of science team for the Canadian Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imaging System (OSIRIS), a satellite instrument designed and built in Canada and currently deployed on the Swedish Odin satellite, and with the Ozone Mapping and Profiling Suite Limb Profiler that is under development at the NASA Langley Research Center.  These instruments observe the side, or limb, view of sunlight scattered from the atmosphere. The spectrum of light from the sun, in the process of traveling through the atmosphere and scattering off molecules and particles, possibly several times, is imprinted with the signatures of the atmospheric composition. The great benefit of this relatively new technique is the ability to globally measure the vertical structure of the atmosphere. 
Dr. Bourassa is particularly interested in measurements and impacts of aerosols in the upper troposphere and stratosphere.  Stratospheric sulphate aerosols are an important type of aerosol due to their effects on climate and ozone and are generally quite difficult to measure at background levels. This thin, fine mist of particles exists naturally, but is highly variable as volcanic eruptions and anthropogenic pollution can strongly modify the concentration of stratospheric aerosol on a global level. The development of radiative transfer modeling and inversion methods for these and other aerosols, including clouds, smoke and dust are a focus of Dr. Bourassa’s current work.  Understanding the radiative and chemical effects of these aerosols is a key component in the study of long term atmospheric trends required for further understanding of the Earth’s climate system. These studies are also leading to the development of designs for future optical instrumentation for sub-orbital and space-based remote sensing missions.


Space and Atmospheric Studies

Space Weather

Atmospheric Change

Careers & Grad Studies




Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies
University of Saskatchewan
116 Science Place - Room 260
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 5E2

Phone: (306) 966-6445
Fax: (306) 966-6400