Dr. Ross McCluney, Principal Research Scientist at the Florida Solar Energy Center from 1976 to 2007, has enjoyed a career spanning several disciplines. For his B. A. degree (Rhodes College in Memphis) he studied physics, mathematics, economics, philosophy, English literature, and religion. His M.S. thesis research (University of Tennessee in Knoxville) dealt with the diffraction of laser light by high frequency sound waves in water. After retiring from FSEC, he worked as a technical consultant and was VP R&D, then CTO at Sunflower Corporation of Boulder until 2016. www.sundolier.com.While working as an optical engineer at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, McCluney studied the new field of holography at the University of Rochester ’s Institute of Optics, then pioneered at Kodak the use of holographic interferometry for diagnostic tests of optical systems. This work continued while he pursued his Ph.D. in physics on a National Science Foundation fellowship at the University of Miami. During his studies in Miami, McCluney became concerned about damage being done to Earth’s ecosystems by various industrial and other practices and contacted the Miami regional office of the National Audubon Society for more information. This led to the founding of UM's first student environmental organization, Environment!, and his work as an organizer of the University's observance of the first Earth Day Teach-In, on 22 April 1970. While at UM, he taught a semester-long adult education class on South Florida’s environmental problems and joined local chapters of National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club. An outcome of these experiences was the suspension of his physics studies for a year to work on a graduate assistantship at the University’s new Center for Urban and Environmental Studies (CUES), then headed by Carl McHenry. Working at CUES for the renowned ecologist, Art Marshall (http://www.artmarshall.org), McCluney edited a series of essays about the environmental problems of South Florida. The University’s Graduate Research Council agreed to underwrite the project, and the manuscript was published by the University of Miami Press in 1971 as The Environmental Destruction of South Florida. This book reached a seventh printing in 1990, before going out of print in 1992. Copies are available from used book sellers. Upon returning to his physics work, McCluney switched research topics to optical oceanography, studying the light scattering properties of marine phytoplankton. Following receipt of his degree, he worked for three years as an optical oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, focused on the remote measurement of ocean color spectra (link to summary see also this link for my paper on "Ocean Color Spectrum Calculations, 1974), periodically working with Jacques Cousteau on joint NASA/Cousteau projects, including the NASA/Cousteau Ocean Bathymetry Experiment (on Which McCluney served as the Experiment's Scientific Monitor), the results of which were published in 1976. That year Dr. McCluney accepted a research professorship at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, a research institute of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. His textbook, Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry was first published by Artech House in 1992. Later he updated it and added a chapter on computerized optical ray tracing of the radiometric and photoetric performances of optical systems, as a tool for pseudo-testing prior to fabrication. This second edition of the book was published in 2014. Over the years since 1976, Dr. McCluney has studied, written, and lectured widely on environmental topics, concentrating on the ethical and philosophical aspects of the subject. In the Fall of 2003 and the Spring of 2004 he taught the first semester-long university course based on the two books he completed in late 2003: Humanity’s Environmental Future: Making Sense in a Troubled World and Getting to the Source: Readings on Sustainable Values. He retired in 2007 from the Florida Solar Energy Center and moved to Chattanooga, TN, where he continued his technical consulting and served as VP R&D, then CTO, at Sunflower Corporation of Boulder CO until 2016. He also pursued his environmental work through the Cherokee Group of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and as a co-founder of the BEST Chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. He moved back to Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2013, and continued his consulting work. In 2016 he joined Citizens' Climate Lobby and became active in its Space Coast Chapter. Dr. McCluney is a nationally recognized scientist, author, and optical designer. His research specialties include optical system design and evaluation, building window solar radiation analysis, and solar cooker and solar water distillation equipment design. He collaborated for several years with artist Susan Miller on the design and fabrication of artistic sundials for public spaces. Since the first Earth Day in 1970—when he was a leader in the University of Miami’s observance of that event—he has been writing and speaking on environmental issues for a variety of audiences. Since 2013 he has given a variety of slide presentations on the environmental crisis, climate change, global warming, and trends in solar energy to a variety of organizations in the central Florida region. As an optical physicist McCluney’s interests focus on the optical and illumination performances of a variety of novel solar lighting systems, including the relatively new tubular skylight products being marketed by several companies. Dr. McCluney served as technical consultant on the design and construction of the world's largest sundial in the Team Disney office building at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL and designer of smaller ones at the Sundial Plaza of the University of Texas Pan American Campus (Now UT Rio Grande Valley) in Edinburg, and the Council Bluffs Public Library in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Dr. McCluney provides technical consulting services to private and governmental organizations in a variety of areas. He has written more than 60 technical papers—including several papers for general audiences on environmental ethics, three books, and selected chapters in books by others. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at the college and university levels. He supervised the M.S. thesis research of students at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, where he was an Adjunct Professor for a couple of years in the late 1970s. His scientific career has spanned over four decades. Click here to see a list of his publications. An important interest is the energy and illumination performances of fenestrations systems, but he also pursues work on issues of energy and environmental policy, including environmental ethics and scientific responsibility. He has served on the Boards of Directors of Indian River Audubon Society and Florida Audubon Society, and was Vice President of Floridians for a Sustainable Population. Dr. McCluney’s research activities in fenestration have received national and international recognition. He is past chairman of ASHRAE's Technical Committee on fenestration; was a long-standing member of that committee; is a long-standing member of the Daylighting Committee of the Illuminating Engineering Society; was a member and technical consultant of the U.S. National Committee on Interior Lighting of the International Lighting Commission (CIE), and a past member of the CIE's technical committee on international daylight and solar radiation measurements. He has authored over 70 papers and three books, on both technical and environmental topics. Based on his earlier experiences in holography at Kodak, McCluney used this technique at the University of Miami to develop a ten-pass holographic interferometer (HOMIN) for measuring very small changes inside a test cell made of optically imperfect clear acrylic plastic. The technique was intended for possible use in examining electromagnetic plasma electron density in another experiment in the Physics Department. While at UM, McCluney taught a semester-long adult education class on South Florida’s environmental problems and joined local chapters of National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club. An outcome of these experiences was the suspension of his physics studies for a year to work on a graduate assistantship at the University’s new Center for Urban and Environmental Studies (CUES), then headed by Carl McHenry. Following his stint there, he returned to his optical studies, basing his Physics Dept. dissertation research on the scattering of light by marine organisms, using measurements he made with a small-angle light scattering instrument he designed and built for that purpose.
While working at CUES, McCluney edited a series of essays about the environmental problems of South Florida. The University’s Graduate Research Council agreed to underwrite the project, and the manuscript was published by the University of Miami Press in 1971 as The Environmental Destruction of South Florida. This book reached a seventh printing in 1990, before going out of print in 1992. Copies are available from used book sellers.
Dr. McCluney has served as a consultant to Kenergy Corporation of Orlando, 3M Company, Syracuse Research Institute, the Dade County Florida Department of Parks and Recreation, Public Works Canada, Synertech Corporation of Boulder CO, T. J. Bottom Industries of Cuba MO, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Verosol-USA, Office of Energy-Related Inventions of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Holder Construction Company (builder of the Team Disney Building and world’s largest sundial, Lake Buena Vista, FL), BRW Architects (https://brw-architects.com/), Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Kell, Munoz, Wigodsky Architects of San Antonio TX ( currently Munoz and Co), Morrison Associates Sundials, the U.S. Department of Justice, Cardinal Industries, as an expert witness on behalf of a tubular skylight vendor in Orlando, and was technical consultant to the National Fenestration Rating Council from 2007 to 2009.