Articles from December 2023

Faculty and Staff: Submit grant awards, honors, research publications, accepted talks, and other news items through the Physics and Astronomy Faculty and Staff News Form.

Voyager NASA

Kurth Discusses Voyager Mission

Friday, December 22, 2023
Bill Kurth was interviewed on the Dec. 21 BBC Science in Action program about the iconic Voyager 1 craft, which has started sending back nonsense data.   Kurth, who has worked on Voyager since its launch in 1977, reveals his personal and scientific connection to the mission.
Image of Jovian Whistlers from Voyager I

Kurth Describes How Sounds from Space Revealed Lightning on Jupiter, Saturn

In this AGU Eos article "The 21st Century’s “Music of the Spheres”about how data sonification is used to analyze and appreciate cosmic objects, Research Scientist/Engineer Bill Kurth describes how Voyager 1 recorded signals known as whistlers to detect lightning in the roiling clouds of Jupiter. The Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn for 13 years, similarly revealed lightning in the ringed planet’s atmosphere.
Keri Hoadley and Casey DeRoo

Hoadley, DeRoo Receive Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships

Thursday, December 21, 2023
Professors Keri Hoadley and Casey DeRoo have been awarded Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships in Astrophysics for Early Career Researchers.
NASA visualization of solar wind hitting Mars

Halekas, Jaynes Discuss Solar Wind Disappearances near Earth and Mars

In this article in the Washington Post, Prof. Jasper Halekas comments on the MAVEN spacecraft's observation in December 2022 of a sudden lull in the solar wind around Mars, with the density of the solar wind around Mars dropping by a factor of 100. Later in the article, Prof. Allison Jaynes discusses how low-density solar events in the Earth's atmosphere can disrupt communications and cause an unusually intense polar rain — a type of aurora.
3 Univ. of Iowa Physics students graduate students received their PhD

Congratulations Fall 2023 Graduates!

Monday, December 18, 2023
Several students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy were candidates for degrees at the University of Iowa Fall Commencement ceremonies Dec. 15-16.
Allison Jaynes at the University of Iowa’s Van Allen Observatory.

APS News: The Scientist Who Launches Rockets at the Northern Lights

At an APS meeting in Denver, astrophysicist Allison Jaynes discussed her work on auroras and the strange plasma physics that shapes them. Jaynes, this year’s recipient of APS’s Katherine E. Weimer Award in plasma physics, discussed her research at this year’s meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics in Denver, Colorado.
Jeff Leiberton in front of blackboard

Leiberton Recognized For Presentation at APS Prairie Section Meeting

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Undergraduate physics student Jeff Leiberton was awarded a Student Presentation Prize for his poster presentation of "Towards Topological Magnons for Hybrid Magnonic Systems" at the 2023 Fall Meeting of the Prairie Section of the American Physical Society (APS) held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 
The Day the Solar Wind Disappeared from Mars graphic

MAVEN Observes the Disappearing Solar Wind

In December 2022, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) mission observed the dramatic and unexpected "disappearance" of a stream of charged particles constantly emanating off the Sun, known as the solar wind. This was caused by a special type of solar event that was so powerful, it created a void in its wake as it traveled through the solar system.
Mars solar wind graphic

The day the solar wind died on Mars

Prof. Jasper Halekas leads research to explain the solar wind’s disappearance on Mars.
Wang, Jun

Jun Wang contributed to one of Time Magazine’s 'best inventions' of 2023

Prof. Jun Wang, who holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is Iowa’s lead investigator on Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring Pollution or TEMPO. The space instrument is expected to help scientists understand the sources of pollution by revolutionizing how real-time air quality data is collected.