$10M gift to aid extreme weather research at UMass

  • Jerome and Linda Paros have made the largest single gift to the UMass College of Engineering in its history. UMASS AMHERST

Staff Writer
Published: 3/10/2022 9:08:43 PM
Modified: 3/10/2022 9:08:11 PM

AMHERST — At a time when extreme weather events are becoming more common across the globe due to climate change, a $10 million gift to the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts from an alumnus is an investment into researching potentially life-saving weather prediction and warning systems.

Announced by the university on Thursday, the largest donation ever made to the engineering college, made by Jerome and Linda Paros, will enhance research into future hazardous weather warning systems. Jerome Paros earned an undergraduate physics degree at UMass in 1960.

College of Engineering Dean Sanjay Raman said in a statement that the donation is a “transformative gift” that recognizes the talent and expertise already in place at UMass, and that ongoing research will have a profound impact on the United States and the global community.

“This gift will greatly enhance our capability to translate research in areas such as radar systems, the internet of things, data science and artificial intelligence and unoccupied aerial vehicles into real-world hazard mitigation systems,” Raman said. “It is an extraordinary investment, and we are deeply grateful.”

The money will immediately be used to create a new center of excellence, to be called the Paros Center for Atmospheric Research, where atmospheric research and hazard mitigation, through weather predictions, alert systems and policies, will be done. In addition, the Paros Fellows/Scholars Endowed Fund for graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships will be launched, and the Paros Chair of Atmospheric Research and Hazard Mitigation will be funded.

UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said he expects that understanding hazardous weather conditions better will improve safety.

“Through their innovation, our researchers are building a new level of safety for communities around the world,” Subbaswamy said.

The Paros Center will also expand upon the atmospheric measurements, science and technology being done at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, or CASA, an engineering research center at UMass established through National Science Foundation funding. The work has assisted in creating warning systems for weather events, such as ones that were used in Oklahoma to accurately project the path of tornadoes.

Jerome Paros, a Springfield native, is a leader in the field of geophysical measurements as the founder, president and chairman of Paroscientific Inc., Quartz Seismic Sensors Inc., and related companies based in Redmond, Washington. These companies use quartz crystal resonator technology that he developed to improve knowledge of earth, air and ocean processes producing climate change, and what leads to tsunamis, earthquakes and other weather issues. Paros holds more than 50 patents.

In the mid-2000s, Jerome and Linda Paros endowed a fund in measurement science at UMass that aimed for synergy between the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences. In 2011, Jerome Paros was honored at the commencement with a distinguished achievement award.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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