Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Congratulations to Jershon Lopez for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Demagnetization Diagnostics in Collisionless Space Plasma Layers."

"On the shortest scales plasmas develop behaviors that impact the larger scales of the magnetized fluid. Magnetic reconnection is a process that releases stresses caused by large scale motions in the plasma and allows a change of magnetic topology to be realized. The detection of evidence for this process was the subject of Jershon's thesis. It is thought that the reconnection layers have electron gyroradii scales which are of the order of 1km at the earth's magnetopause. As these gases are moving with speeds of order 10–100km/s, these structures would ordinarily pass spacecraft in 0.1–0.01s, far faster than they can be resolved. Jershon's thesis evaluated a suite of new techniques designed to observe the consequences of such short layers being present by "asking the electrons collected" if their cylindrical symmetry about the local magnetic field had been disrupted. Evidence was gathered using the DC electric and magnetic field data as well as the electron observations performed with the Polar Hydra Hot Plasma instrument. Enroute to this detective work, several basic results of guiding center theory were observed for the first time in a plasma. The thesis also showed that the techniques can also "ask the ions" the same question and show this disruption at the earth's bow shock and magnetopause Chapman Ferraro layer."
— Jack Scudder, PhD advisor

Dr. Lopez has accepted a software engineer position at The Innovator's DNA.

List of Recent Graduates