Irene Rodriguez Alegre

Irene Rodriguez Alegre

What's your research area?

My research is with high-frequency radars for oceanography applications.

The radars are used for current measurement, waves, and things like detecting tsunamis.

In Europe, there are thousands of off-shore wind turbines. These are not the typical turbines that you see here in the mountains, they're in the waterBut here in the US there are only 5, they're on the east coast. These huge metal turbines are the perfect interference for our radar. My work is to see this interference and try to eliminate it from the data so we can keep the data from the ocean and not the turbine interference.

How did you get into this?

My undergraduate background in Spain is in telecommunications and electrical engineering. I like all the data processing and image processing, but with an application that I consider meaningful. Before I was working with images from satellites related to climate change stuff, so I think that's something I like–applying engineering to something that helps the world.

Clean energy is definitely something that I completely support and I want them to keep using these turbines, and I want the radar that's doing good things for the ocean to also work.

How did you end up at UCSC?

The first time I came to the United States was in 2011 through the UC EAP exchange program. I was sent here from Spain to work on my undergrad degree, which was a great opportunity. My research was with these radars. I was using them for other applications, not with the turbines.

After that I was in Europe for a year with the European Space Agency (ESA). Then I got a fellowship to do my master's at UC Irvine, and then I got the opportunity to return to Santa Cruz and do the PhD program here.

What were you doing at ESA?

I was working with the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission. With the sensors on this satellite they can detect, for example, how much salt there is in the ocean or how dry the soil is at whatever point.

That's important data for climate change. I was also finding and removing the interference in this data. This is a coincidence, it's not like I'm an expert in interference.

It sounds like you are.

Well maybe I am! 

Electrical Engineering
Degree Program: 
Place of Birth: 
Graduate Institution: 
UC Irvine
John Vesecky