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In addition to this research, CSSL faculty have developed courses in areas ranging from analog electronics and microwave remote sensing to upper-atmospheric physics and chemistry. The center traditionally has provided research opportunities for graduate students not only from electrical and computer engineering, but also from physics, meteorology, mathematics, aeronautics, and engineering science and mechanics. Faculty from these disciplines also join the laboratory's research efforts. International scientists frequently visit CSSL to work with faculty and students.
Faculty and students in CSSL use various research instruments and computational techniques in studying electromagnetic propagation and the atmosphere. Several lidar systems, now being completed, will probe the 20-to-90 km altitude region; one of these has been carried by ship from 70 degrees N to 70 degrees S to perform the first latitudinal survey of its kind. Faculty also construct flight hardware instrumentation for rocket-borne measurements of electrical conductivity in the stratosphere and mesosphere; these payloads have been launched at such locations as Alaska, northern Norway and Sweden, Peru, and East Africa. Faculty routinely perform remote sensing measurements of water vapor in the mesosphere using a MASER-based microwave radiometer. Soon, a more portable cooled-FET-based radiometer will be transported from north of the Arctic Circle to Antarctica as part of NASA's Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change and the UARS satellite Correlative Measurements Program. In addition, some of the hardware for the Millimeter Atmospheric Sounder, scheduled to fly on a future space shuttle mission, was constructed at Penn State.
For other studies, faculty use national observatories: the Incoherent Scatter Radar and various lidars at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, and the HIPAS ionosphere heating facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. Faculty and graduate students conduct data analysis and computation studies on a wide variety of machines, ranging from various desktop systems to a dedicated CSSL Microvax and IRIS workstation to mainframes.