Gab at the Lab: Don MacGorman

Don MacGorman, Senior Research Scientist



Background:Ph.D. Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
M.S. Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University
B.A. Physics, Rice University
Experience:Don was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Aside from his 4th grade year, which he spent in Durham, North Carolina, and his 11th grade year, spent in Beirut, Lebanon, Don’s entire childhood took place in Texas. He remained in the state for college, earning his bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. at Rice University in Houston, where his graduate research focused on using recordings of thunder to map where lightning occurred in a hailstorm. Don came to Norman in 1978 as a postdoctoral researcher.
What He Does:Don began working with NSSL in 1978, first as a postdoctoral research with OU CIMMS, and then as a National Research Council postdoc. Since December 2000, Don has been a Federal research scientist with the Lab. He currently serves as the Storm Electricity Team Leader in the Warning Research Development Division. Using the Lightning Strike Locating System, his team conducts studies on positive cloud-to-ground detection. Recently, the longest lightning bolt ever recorded was found to extend almost 200 miles across the state of Oklahoma. The bolt occurred during a thunderstorm on June 20, 2007.
Trivia: Don is the son of a Canadian father and a Texan mother. His wife and two daughters all hold Master’s degrees in music. In his free time, Don enjoys reading, gardening, strength training, music, and he has recently taken up ballroom dancing.