Adam J French (2011)

Associate Professor

Physics (PHYS)


B.S., Valparaiso University
M.S., North Carolina State University
Ph.D., North Carolina State University

(605) 394-1649
MI 208 (campus map)
Research Expertise

My research is focused on understanding the physical processes responsible for how convective storms (thunderstorms) organize, evolve, and produce severe weather hazards (large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes). In a nutshell, I try to answer the question of why thunderstorms “behave” a certain way under certain conditions and how we can use this information to make better forecasts of when these storms will produce hazardous weather. More specific research topics that I have focused on include interactions between nocturnal thunderstorm complexes and low-level jets, mergers and interactions between different types of thunderstorms, and most recently how mesoscale terrain features, such as the Black Hills of western South Dakota, may impact thunderstorm behavior. In my research group we investigate these topics using a variety of methods ranging from observational analysis of real-world cases to idealized numerical modeling.

Brief Bio

My interest in the weather and meteorology began at a young age, reading books about tornadoes and experiencing nor’easters and the occasional hurricane growing up in Connecticut. I completed my B.S. in meteorology from Valparaiso University in 2005, followed by my MS and Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from North Carolina State University in 2007 and 2011, respectively. I have been at South Dakota Mines since 2011 and am currently an associate professor in the Physics Department and the Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Program.


I teach a wide variety of courses in the Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences program at South Dakota Mines. These include undergraduate courses in Fundamentals of Weather Analysis (AES 216), Atmospheric Dynamics (AES 460/560), Synoptic Meteorology I (AES 450/L), Synoptic Meteorology II (AES 455/555/L), and Radar Meteorology (AES 430/530) and graduate courses in Mesoscale Meteorology (AES 773) and Atmospheric Dynamics (AES 660). I also regularly teach University Physics I (PHYS 211) for the Physics Department. In addition to teaching, I am also responsible for undergraduate advising in the Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Program.

Course Listing