James Connell

James Connell's picture

James Connell

Senior Lecturer

221 Ritzinger Hall

(715) 234-8176 x5466



AST105: The Solar System

PHY120: Physical Science

PHY141: College Physics I

PHY142: College Physics II

PHY201: University Physics I

PHY202: University Physics II





Cloud Physics

Radar Meteorology

Atmospheric Dynamics

Weather Analysis

General Meteorology

Meteorological instrumentation and Data Analysis

Atmospheric Turbulence

Advanced Dynamics (physics-mechanics)



PSSC Physics (lecture and Laboratory Semester 1 and Semester 2)



Much of my career has centered on being a problem solver in science and engineering and in inter-personal relations.

Some of my important education occurred from 1934-37 in the Dust Bowl in SW Kansas, and from 1937-41 in a tri-ethnic village on the Ute Indian Reservation in SW Colorado.

My university education began with a BS in Engineering Physics, including minors in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering (and a fifth year to include liberal arts courses) at the U. of Illinois. An aerodynamicist at Bell Aircraft Corporation for a year I returned to the U. of Illinois for a PhD program in Nuclear Physics; and just after constructing an apparatus to study the beta-gamma decay of the Cesium 137 nucleus I was drafted into the US Army. From 1955 to 1957 I served as a physicist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology / Histo-Radio-Biology Section performing duties related to protection of people from damage caused by nuclear-bomb radiation. From 1957 to 1959, returning to Graduate Physics I completed most physics courses (but did not start a new dissertation research project) and took two courses in educational psychology and psychology of learning. At the same time I was a half-time consultant in the project joint between U. of Illinois and MIT physics departments that developed the innovative PSSC high school physics course and materials.

In 1959 I moved to Colorado, first working as a Physicist GS-7 at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado, then switching fields and returning to Graduate School completing a MS and PhD in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. My MS thesis research involved aircraft measurements of the properties of an intensifying Wave in the Easterlies of the Caribbean, the tropical storm that is the precursor to a hurricane. My PhD dissertation research was a fluid mechanics experiment modeling the lateral entrainment of air into a Cumulus Cloud. Peripherally, for an ice crystal physicist I built an instrument to measure low speed winds. I used it to measure airflow at the mouth of a cave deep in the Rocky Mountains; where by the gentle breathing of the cave, single crystals of ice grew to a diameter of one foot.

This breadth of experiences serves me well in a wide variety of opportunities.


1935-1944: Lived in a variety of narrow-culture environments and several multiethnic and multilingual environments.

1944-1947,:College-Preparation High School education.

1953, University of Illinois: BS in Engineering Physics with minors in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering

1954: Entered graduate school physics at the U of Illinois;

(1954-56: drafted into the Army),

1956-59: Graduate physics continued with a minor in educational psychology at the University of Illinois. All but 3 required courses and a research project completed for the PhD in Nuclear Physics.

1963-68: Colorado State University: MS and PhD in Atmospheric Science.



1) A presentation on Tornadoes to the Rice Lake Rotary Club

2) Mentored three kids in the Kinship Program

3) Made Presentation to RL Middle School Students using an astronomical telescope.

4) Helped Middle School Math class in following a schoolyard compass course.

5) Gave lessons in canoeing to an outdoors program for RL High School Students.

6) Obtained Funding from Sierra Club for a field study by a RLHS biology class on River Ecology.

7) Evaluated the potential for pollution of nearby farms from the stack effluent of the Barron County Refuse Burning/ power producing facility.

8) Consulted for the Barron County Board about wind energy possibilities in the County

9) Lead hikes for the public and additionally for scout troops to several Blue Hills Canyon features.

10) Participated in the initial clearing of the Red Cedar Trail that passes along the river shore on the UWBC campus.

11) Participated in construction and maintenance of pieces of the Ice Age Trail and of the North Country Trail both in NW Wisconsin.

12) Gave several neighborhood sky viewing sessions in Rice Lake using UW-BC telescope.

13) Continuing a “Blue Hills Archive Project”, the accumulation of information historical and present about the Blue Hills.



I have over 100 technical papers in Journals, Conference Proceedings, US Department of Energy Reports, and Contractor Reports. Topics: atmospheric science, fluid mechanics, and wind energy. Examples of topics:

(Measured and analyzed atmospheric properties of an intensifying pre-hurricane tropical storm (wave in the Easterlies) of the Caribbean;

Observed and analyzed atmospheric properties related to the life cycle of a Tornado;

Measured atmospheric properties of lee wave, wake, and turbulence in winds influenced by an isolated mountain;

Developed innovative methods of measurement of wind velocities in extreme environments;

Measured and analyzed coherent eddies comprising atmospheric boundary layer turbulence;

From measurements and theory developed an improved model of turbulence experienced by wind turbines;

Performed wind-tunnel modeling experiment on movement of poison gas releases toward a floating nuclear- power plant. )