Raymond A. Shaw

Raymond A. Shaw


  • Professor, Physics
  • Director, Atmospheric Sciences Ph.D. Program
  • PhD, Pennsylvania State University

Research Description

Dr. Shaw's research involves the physics of the earth's atmosphere, with an emphasis on clouds and experimental tools for studying clouds. Clouds are transient collections of particles that interact strongly with visible radiation: they are transient in the sense that the particles in a cloud are continuously evolving in size and thermodynamic phase (liquid versus ice), and the cloud itself dissipating if the particles are not continuously "fed" through atmospheric motions or radiative cooling. Research in Shaw's group has focused on understanding the influence of turbulence on cloud particle growth through condensation and collisions, and on understanding the nucleation process through which ice forms from liquid water. Shaw's group is actively involved in the development of methods for studying clouds in controlled conditions in the laboratory as well as in the atmosphere itself. For example, digital holography is applied to particle tracking in turbulent laboratory clouds, and to measurement of particle size distributions in clouds sampled by research aircraft. More details are available at the Cloud Physics Laboratory web site.

Research Interests

  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Cloud Physics
  • Nucleation
  • Turbulence
  • Digital Holography

Selected Recent Publications

  • Chandrakar, K. K., W. Cantrell, K. Chang, D. Ciochetto, D. Niedermeier, M. Ovchinnikov, R. A. Shaw, and F. Yang, 2016: Aerosol indirect effect from turbulence-induced broadening of droplet size distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 113, 14243-14248. Read More
  • Beals, M. J., J. P. Fugal, R. A. Shaw, J. Lu, S. M. Spuler, and J. L. Stith, 2015: Holographic measurements of inhomogeneous cloud mixing at the centimeter scale. Science, 350, 87-90. Read More
  • Gurganus, C. W., J. C. Charnawskas, A. B. Kostinski, and R. A. Shaw, 2014: Nucleation at the contact line observed on nanotextured surfaces. Physical Review Letters, 113, 235701. Read More
  • Yang, F., M. Ovchinnikov, and R. A. Shaw, 2013: Minimalist model of ice microphysics in mixed-phase stratiform clouds. Geophysical Research Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50700. Read More
  • Kumar, B., F. Janetzko, J. Schumacher, and R. A. Shaw, 2012: Extreme responses of a coupled scalar-particle system during turbulent mixing. New Journal of Physics, 14, 115020. Read More
  • Ditas, F., R. A. Shaw, H. Siebert, M. Simmel, B. Wehner, and A. Wiedensohler, 2012: Aerosols-cloud microphysics-thermodynamics-turbulence: evaluating supersaturation in a marine stratocumulus cloud. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 12, 2459-2468. Read More
  • Gurganus, C., A. B. Kostinski, and R. A. Shaw, 2011: Fast imaging of freezing drops: No preference for nucleation at the contact line. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2, 1449-1454. Read More
  • Niedermeier, D., R. A. Shaw, S. Hartmann, H. Wex, T. Clauss, J. Voigtländer, and F. Stratmann, 2011: Heterogeneous ice nucleation: Exploring the transition from stochastic to singular freezing behavior. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, 8767-8775. Read More
  • Bodenschatz, E., S. P. Malinowski, R. A. Shaw, and F. Stratmann, 2010: Can we understand clouds without turbulence? Science, 327, 970-971. Read More
  • Kostinski, A. B., and R. A. Shaw, 2009: Raindrops, large and small. Nature Physics, 5, 624-625. Read More
  • Lehmann, K., H. Siebert, and R. A. Shaw, 2009: Homogeneous and inhomogeneous mixing in cumulus clouds: Dependence on local turbulence structure. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 66, 3641-3659. Read More

Recent Funding

  • Laboratory and Field Studies of Cloud-Turbulence Interactions via Digital Holography; National Science Foundation
  • MRI: Development of a Multiphase Turbulent Reaction Chamber for Laboratory Studies of Atmospheric Aerosol and Cloud Processes; National Science Foundation
  • Laboratory Investigation of Contact Freezing and the Aerosol to Ice Cyrstal Transformation Process; Atmospheric System Research, Department of Energy