Kristine Sigsbee, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist/Engineer


Kristine investigates challenging questions in heliophysics about Earth’s magnetosphere, space weather, geomagnetic storms, and the Van Allen radiation belts.  She learned how to develop science concepts and technical requirements for future satellite missions at the first NASA PI Launchpad Workshop  in 2019. Kristine enjoys sharing the excitement of space exploration through public outreach as a mentor for Solar Week and as an Aurorasaurus Ambassador.  In 2020, she gave a presentation on Sounds of Space for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Virtual Astronomy Live Program. 

Research specialty: Space physics, plasma physics, astronomical instrumentation

Research interests:

  • Ultra-low frequency (ULF) magnetic field pulsations, electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves, chorus, and other plasma waves involved in the dynamics of Earth’s magnetosphere. 
  • PI on a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator grant to study EMIC waves with rising tones and the plasma parameters associated with their generation. During geomagnetic storms, EMIC waves scatter energetic charged particles in Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts that can damage satellites and pose a health risk to astronauts. 
  • Relationships between magnetic field dipolarizations in Earth’s magnetotail, substorms, and processes that generate the aurora.
  • Development of instrumentation to make high-resolution measurements of plasma waves and charged particles on satellites and sounding rockets.
  • Modeled electric fields and particle trajectories in the Electron Drift Instrument (EDI) for NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission to optimize performance and support ongoing operations. Received a NASA Group Achievement Award and a NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Engineering Award in 2016 as part of the MMS Instrument Suite Team.
  • Public outreach and citizen science that connect basic scientific research with space weather forecasts and operations.
Research areas
  • Space Physics
  • Plasma Physics
Kristine Sigsbee
Ph.D. Physics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2000

551 Van Allen Hall (VAN)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States