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June 11, 2020

Alumnus Walt Petersen profiled in NASA’s The Marshall Star

By Will Bryan, ASRC Federal/Analytical Services

The lightning flash nearly blinded him and the crack of thunder was deafening. Yet that was all it took for Walt Petersen – now deputy manager of the Science Research and Projects Division at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – to get hooked on weather.

Petersen’s passion for weather came from an experience he had as a high school senior. While at a drive-in movie theater, lightning struck the speaker post nearest a friend in the car’s passenger seat – briefly shocking his friend, who was holding the attached speaker.

“I remember the flash was so bright and the thunder was instantaneous,” Petersen said. “That really motivated me. I thought weather would be a kind of a cool thing to be involved in.”

Read the full The Marshall Star article, “Where Lightning Strikes, a Scientist is Born: Meet Walt Petersen.”

Photo at top: Walt Petersen, deputy manager of Marshall’s Science Research and Projects Division. Credit: NASA