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flag Prof. William Hayden Smith,
Washington University, St. Louis, Mo

Last updated: October 2001
E-mail: whsmith [at]

Brief Biographical Information:

Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Ph.D., Princeton University, 1966


  • Terrestrial remote sensing using Imaging interferometry and other hyperspectral imaging methods
  • Application of radiative transfer theory and modern analysis techniques to the interpretation of data from remote sensing instruments.
  • Experimental studies of clouds and aerosols and their roles in the earth's atmosphere and climate: radiative processes in atmosphere and on surface.
  • Radiative interaction within leaves.
  • Development of radiation remote sensing instruments.
  • Optical spectroscopy: methods and instrumentation.
  • Chemical kinetics and spectroscopy of gas phase molecular free radicals of atmospheric interest.
  • Spectroscopy of molecules of astrophysical interest
Professor Smith's research centers on the development and application of high-reliability sensors for hyperspectral remote sensing from ground, airborne, space-based platforms In recent years, he has developed imaging spectropolarimeters based on acousto-optic tunable filters, and the Digital Array-Scanned Interferometer or DASI (US Patent No. 4,976,542). He is presently developing microscopy hyperspectral sensors for use under the extreme conditions encountered in hot springs, boreholes, and the deep ocean.

Professor Smith conducts astrophysical and Earth observations with ground-based and airborne versions of these remote-sensing instruments. At the telescope, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors are primarily used in studies aimed at the discovery of planetary sized objects outside the solar system as well as related studies of circumstellar matter. Studies of the Earth climate system recently have emphasized the biological component, e.g. the recycling of nitrogen (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, nitrates) in the environment. Using light aircraft and long duration remotely piloted vehicles, hyperspectral sensors are being applied to ocean reef health studies, agriculture sensing, urban development, and other environmental problems.

Research on Leonid MAC:

The first attempt at Near-IR spectral imagery of meteors using the Digital Array-Scanned Interferometer (DASI) in the 1999 Leonid MAC mission failed because no bright enough meteor passed the field of view and active pointing towards trains was not attempted. A -5 Leonid fireball missed the field of view by only a few degrees. In the 2001 mission, the observing strategy will be adjusted to increase our chances of meteor and meteor train detection, while the instrument sensitivity will be greatly enhanced.

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