Our October Faith and Science Jam is by Dr. Sarah Bang, a friend and former council member at Mount Tabor.
Though fascinated with/terrified of lightning as a child in Buffalo, NY, Sarah actually began her academic career as a disgruntled chemist. Midway through college she realized that instead of putting off doing homework to study thunderstorms on radar, she could make it her homework to study thunderstorms on radar. After this epiphany, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Geophysical Sciences (2010) with a specialization in “fluids” (atmosphere and ocean), and headed west to Utah to pursue her passion for severe weather. She graduated with a Master’s degree in 2013, focusing on severe and tornadic Oklahoma thunderstorms. As part of a graduate fellowship for her Master’s work, she taught 9th grade physics for a year at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education. In graduate school, she fell in love with meteorological fieldwork and went on to participate in 5 meteorological field campaigns. She continued on to defend a dissertation on the electrification processes of tropical oceanic thunderstorms and graduated with her PhD in 2018. After earning the title of “Dr. Bang: lightning scientist” she left the high desert for the humidity of the Deep South, to do her postdoctoral work as a NASA fellow at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In September 2020 she began work at NASA MSFC’s Earth Science Branch as a Remote Sensing Scientist. Her specialties are severe weather: lightning and hail, and particularly detecting these phenomena from space. Sarah is an avid cook (especially in quarantine!) and storm chaser, and is passionate about choral singing, volunteering with her local Soroptimist chapter, and helping people register to vote with her local League of Women Voters.