The Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is presenting its 2023 Early Career Award to Professor James W. R. Schroeder of Wheaton College, who received his PhD in physics from the University of Iowa. The award recognizes Prof. Schroeder’s experimental confirmation of the acceleration of auroral electrons by Alfvén waves in the laboratory.
LAD’s Early Career Award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field within 10 years of receiving a PhD. Prof. Schroeder has established a budding career in laboratory studies of plasma physics relevant to space physics. He is an author on eight publications, including four first-author publications, one of which is published in Nature Communications. Beginning with his PhD research, Prof. Schroeder developed the experimental and theoretical tools needed to investigate the acceleration of auroral electrons. His work has gained media attention, and he is currently building a new laboratory at Wheaton College to perform experiments relevant to space and astrophysical plasmas. He is active in mentoring undergraduate students in research and is working in collaboration with the Naval Research Lab to perform experiments in the Space Physics Simulation Chamber.
Prof. Schroeder received his PhD in physics from the University of Iowa in 2017 under the supervision of Professors Gregory Howes, Craig Kletzing, and Fred Skiff. He stayed on at the University of Iowa as a postdoctoral researcher and then as an assistant research scientist. In 2018, he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Wheaton College. He received a Department of Energy National Undergraduate Fellowship for Summer Research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2008 and in 2013 received both a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, for which he decided to accept the former. In 2018, he received a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship but opted to take the faculty position at Wheaton College. He is currently a co-investigator on a NASA Heliophysics Technology and Technology Development grant.
The LAD Early Career Award includes a cash award, a framed certificate, and an invited lecture by the recipient at a meeting of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division.