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Prof. Chris Olsen



Prof. Kevin B. Smith

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Prof. Dick Harkins


Prof. Joseph Hooper

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Department of Physics
Spanagel Hall, Room 203
833 Dyer Road
Monterey, CA 93943-5216
(831) 656-2145
DSN: 756-2145

Curriculum Sponsor


Mission Statement


Richard C. Olsen
Professor of Physics
Space Systems Academic Group
Executive Director, Remote Sensing Center
Ph.D. Physics, UC San Diego, 1980

Dr. Olsen joined the faculty of NPS in 1987. His research interests include: remote sensing, primarily with national technical means (NTM); spectral imagery, from UV to LWIR, and high-spatial resolution commercial systems. Most of this work involves terrain classification and target detection (including submarines). Prof. Olsen has published more than 31 refereed scientific articles. He has advised one Ph.D. student and more than 100 M.S. students. Prof. Olsen is a member of IEEE and SPIE.


Publications  •  Theses Directed  •  Technical Reports  •  Conference Proceedings  •  Conference Presentations  •  Research


Physics Department (Code PH/Os)
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943
Phone: (831) 656-2019
Fax: (831) 656-2834
Email: olsen *at*


  • PhD - University of California, San Diego, 1980
  • MS - University of California, San Diego, 1975
  • BS - University of Southern California, 1974


  • 2005 - Present: Professor
  • 1987 - 2005: Associate Professor


  • 1986 - 1987: Associate Research Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
  • 1982 - 1986: Assistant Research Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
  • 1980 - 1982: Research Associate, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
  • 1976 - 1980: Research Assistant, University of California, San Diego, CA


  • Remote Sensing
  • Space Environment
  • Plasma Physics


  • Remote sensing, with an emphasis on the general problem of target detection. I have been working with optical and radar data from a variety of civilian and national systems. Primary areas of effort in the last few years have been in the areas of spectral imagery utilizing the visible to short-wave infrared HYDICE sensor and the mid- to long-wave infrared SEBASS sensor. Most recently, I have been exploring innovative ways of using the new commercial, high-spatial resolution imaging systems, Quickbird and IKONOS.


  • American Geophysical Union
  • Trustee Scholar, University of Southern California


  • American Geophysical Union
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


  • Olsen, R. C., C. E. McIlwain, and E. C. Whipple, Observations of Differential Charging Effects on ATS-6, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86, 6809-6819, 1981.
  • Olsen, R. C., Equatorially Trapped Plasma Populations, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86, 11235-11245, 1981.
  • Olsen, R. C., The density minimum at the Earth's magnetic equator, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 1135-1150, 1992.
  • Olsen, R. C., L. J. Scott, and S. A. Boardsen, On the consequences of bi-Maxwellian plasma distributions for parallel electric fields, Journal of Geophysical Research, 99, 2191-2203, 1994.
  • J. S., Tyo, A. Konsolakis, D . Diersen, and R. C. Olsen, Principal Components Based Display Strategy for Spectral Imagery, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 41, 708-718, 2003.
  • Tso, Brand, and R. C. Olsen, Combining spectral and spatial information into hidden Markov models for unsupervised image classification, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26, 2113 – 2133, 2005.



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