Each week, we will be getting to know our faculty members a little bit better. This week, we will be getting to know Dr. David Long.
Dr. David Long, who teaches Integrated Product and Process Design: Capstone Design, and Radar & Communication Systems, has ‘long’ been recognized as the department pun-master, but opportunities for dad jokes aren’t the only thing he’s good at ‘sensing’; in fact, he specializes in microwave remote sensing. It may not sound even ‘remotely’ interesting, but the topic itself, using radio frequencies in the microwave range, goes beyond the linear thinking of most electrical engineering to create opportunities for new, complex problem-solving. In microwave remote sensing problems, things aren't linear; there are multiple solutions, and it connects the worlds of electromagnetics, engineering, weather signal processing, and real-life climate issues. The implications are anything but ‘micro.’
Dr. Long noted that when solving these nonlinear problems, whatever project he is working on at the time always seems like the most fun because every time it’s new and exciting. However, looking back, it wasn’t working with NASA or JPL that was the most exciting in the long-term. Rather, it has been in the work he does here at BYU, working side by side with students and seeing projects through to their completion, that he has found the most joy. “With NASA, even though you're flying a bigger satellite, it's less fun because you don't get to work with students.”
When he’s not busy launching satellites to discover the great mysteries of outer space, Dr. Long can often be found reading about the very things he’s exploring; his favorite books are The Fall of Moondust and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and when he’s not reading fiction he’s reading technical magazines on quantum theory and outer space. If you find yourself visiting his office, make sure you take a peek at the north wall and you will notice another hobby: oil painting. The paintings are almost as magnificent as his high school hairdo.
We will close this week’s faculty spotlight with a highly scientific observation on microwaves: did you know that the opposite of a microwave is a tsunami?