– For generations the prevailing wisdom on lightning was that it produced only visible light and radio waves, not X-rays or other forms of energetic
radiation. Florida Tech associate professor of physics Joseph Dwyer has discovered differently.
He and other scientists at Florida Tech and the University of Florida now know that lightning produces X-ray emissions. Dwyer will present a public lecture
on these discoveries on April 3 at 7 p.m. in the university’s F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building Auditorium.
The experiments of Dwyer’s team were first detailed in a recent issue of Science and later chronicled in publications that included the New York Times and
Scientific American. He and his fellow scientists discovered that lightning does, in fact, emit X-rays, Gamma rays or other energetic radiation. Their
discovery was made during research in the summer of 2002 at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing at Camp Blanding, Fla.
Like modern-day Ben Franklins, the team of researchers launched small rockets trailing thin copper wires into overhead thunderclouds. These rockets
triggered predictable lightning strikes that were measured by instrumentation located 75 feet from the launch site.
The F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building is located on University Blvd. For more information, contact Cyndi Johnsrud at ext. 7573.