Click here for
a copy of my Curriculum Vitae.
I was born in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow), NY and grew
up in Ossining, NY. I graduated from Ossining High School.
I received my undergraduate degree in Physics with Special Honors
from the University of Chicago in 1999. For the four years I was in
Chicago I worked for Professor John
Simpson in his Cosmic Ray Group at the Laboratory for
Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) in the Enrico Fermi Research
Institute. As a student data analyst, my main responsibilities were
the production of cosmic ray data from the Ulysses High Energy
Telescope and the archiving of existing data. My senior
thesis was on measurements of the flux of the rare elements lithium,
beryllium, and boron during solar energetic particle events. I had a
great time working at LASR and learned a great deal about the physics
of the heliosphere and the scientific process in general from
Prof. Simpson and other members of his group, including Drs. Clifford
Lopate, Bruce Mckibben, and Jim Connell, now all at the University of
New Hampshire, and from Ming Zhang, now at Florida.
I moved to Cambridge in July of 1999. That fall I began my
doctoral work in the Astrophysics division of the Physics Department
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I spent that first
summer starting work with Drs. Alan Lazarus and Matthias Aellig on the
Faraday Cup instrument for the Triana spacecraft. The Triana Faraday
Cup is a beautiful instrument, if I do say so. We took advantage of
the fact that the spacecraft was three-axis stabilized and
Sun-pointing to build an instrument that could measure the bulk
characteristics of the hydrogen and helium distribution functions at a
rate of about 2 Hz. A conceptual design for the instrument was in
place and I soon found myself at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
conducting beam tests with Drs. Keith Ogilvie and Dennis
My doctoral thesis focused on long-term observations of the solar
wind collected by the twin Faraday Cup ion instruments on the
Wind spacecraft. I
discovered that with the large number of measurements of the solar
wind collected by Wind since launch in 1994 I could construct powerful
constraints on the roles of plasma instabilities and other
non-thermal processes in the solar wind.
thesis compared theoretical predictions for instabilities and shocks
with observations, producing among other things the first
demonstration of the firehose instability.
After I defended that December I quickly submitted the final copy
of my thesis and took an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher at
the MIT Center for Space Research (now the Kavli Institute for
Astrophysics and Space Research). I jumped on an opportunity to teach
8.02T, an undergraduate electricity and magnetism course, for the
physics department that Spring. 8.02T is a product of the Technology
Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) program developed by Prof. John
Belcher I had followed the development of the TEAL program over the
previous two years, and was a TA for John in an experimental version
of the course in 2002. I won't try to summarize the philosophy of the
TEAL program here, but I believe that it is the most effective way to
teach large groups conceptually challenging
fields such as electricity and magnetism. One of the most rewarding
aspects of my time at MIT was been interacting with amazing students.
In addition to teaching electricity and magnetism, I supervised
the research of
fourteen undergraduates and one graduate student. In the Spring of 2004
I received the Dean's Award for Teaching and Student Advising from the
Dean of Sciences at MIT.
One year later, in 2005 I became a Research Scientist at the MIT
Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.
In 2007 I accepted an offer to move to the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics and join the Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group,
where I continue my work on particle and field experiments
in space, along with new work on remote imaging
telescopes. My main project is the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas
and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation for the NASA Solar Probe Plus
Mission. More information about specific projects can be
found on my main page.
On the Radio: The Breathtaking Power And Beauty Of The Sun
The science, destruction, and beauty of the solar storm that's been blasting earth - from the breathtaking Aurora Borealis to future exploration of the sun itself. I was a guest for a one hour episode of WBUR talk show On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Stream the show and read background material on the Sun
NASA Science News: Solar Wind Energy Source Discovered
NASA wrote a news story based on a recent paper we published in Physical Review Letters on heating of the solar corona and solar wind. Click
here for the NASA article.