Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Professor Ruf honored with a named professorship

Posted: April 3, 2018

Professor Ruf honored with a named professorship Christopher Ruf, Frederick Bartman Collegiate Professor of Climate and Space Science

The Climate & Space Department is very pleased to announce that faculty member Professor Christopher Ruf has been honored with a named professorship.

From Department Chair Professor James Slavin:
“I am pleased to share that Professor Chris Ruf has been confirmed by the University of Michigan Regents as the Frederick Bartman Collegiate Professor of Climate and Space Science.

Collegiate Professorships are set up to honor the professorship holder as well as the namesake of the professorship (in this case, Professor Christopher Ruf and Professor Emeritus Frederick Bartman). They traditionally bear the name of former University faculty members who have made substantial scholarly and other contributions while at the University of Michigan. 

Professor Ruf said he chose to honor Professor Bartman’s memory because he was impressed with his namesake’s research and educational accomplishments. “I spent some time reading over old documents to learn about past members of AOSS (and AOS before that), and I really liked what I read about him,” says Chris. “He was trained as an engineer, was an experimentalist who worked with early sub-orbital rockets to understand the Earth radiation budget. And he was active working with student groups on his space hardware experiments. I think we would have got along pretty well. I'm proud to be in the same department he was.”  

Others in the Climate & Space Department remember Professor Bartman fondly.  

Bruce Block, Lead Engineer in Research (retired) at the Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL) recalls, “I first met him when I was an undergraduate student in the early '70s. He was the director of the High-Altitude Engineering Laboratory (HAEL), which was a sort of sister laboratory to SPRL... he was always friendly and interested in what was going on at SPRL. After HAEL disbanded, many of their researchers, engineers, and technicians were absorbed into the Climate & Space Department (then called AOSS) or SPRL. I am pleased that Chris received this named professorship as I think he and Prof. Bartman would have gotten along famously.” 

CLaSP Associate Research Scientist Dr. Frank Marsik remembers, “I had Fred Bartman as a professor when I was an undergraduate in the early 1980s. At one point during the term, I was struggling with some of my classes and so I opened up to Professor Bartman about it. On that day, after helping me with my homework, Fred also took the time to talk to me about the ‘life stuff’ that I was going through as an undergraduate student. While I do not recall the specifics of that conversation, I just remember walking out of his office feeling much better and pleased that my professors would take the time to teach me about life, not just meteorology. That was an important lesson in mentoring that I carry with me even today.” 


Dr. Frederick Bartman was Professor Emeritus in the University of Michigan Departments of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (now CLaSP), and Aerospace Engineering. He received his BS, Electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1941, and later worked for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. He began his Michigan career in 1948 as a research engineer in the High-Altitude Research Laboratory (HAEL) and was a member of one of the early post-World War II research teams using rockets to investigate the upper atmosphere when little was known about that layer of the atmosphere.

By 1960 Dr. Bartman's research focused on measuring atmospheric infrared radiation and the reflecting properties of the earth (its "albedo") using high altitude balloons. Into the 1970s, Professor Bartman participated in seminal studies of infrasound from meteor trails. He and fellow researchers demonstrated that sub-audible sound waves from meteors entering the upper atmosphere could be detected, and then used to remotely infer temperatures and winds in the upper atmosphere. His subsequent research centered on the measurement and computer-modeling of the Earth's radiation budget.

Dr. Bartman received both his MA in mathematics (1951) and his PhD in meteorology, and instrumentation and control engineering (1967) from The University of Michigan. He was Director of the High-Altitude Engineering Laboratory from 1970 to 1980, and acting chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 1973-1974. He was honored with a departmental Outstanding Teacher Award for the 1984-85 academic year and was featured in Ken Macrorie's 1984 book "Twenty Teachers." Dr. Bartman retired in 1989. He passed away in 2009. 


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