Steven Spangler, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: 

Plasma Astrophysics, Radio Astronomy, Galactic Interstellar Medium, Solar Corona and Solar Wind, Basic Plasma Physics.

  • I am investigating the degree to which astronomical spectroscopic measurements can be used to determine the fluid vorticity in turbulent astrophysical fluids.
  • I am interested in astronomical measurements to measure or constrain long-term variations in the solar luminosity, which potentially could be of importance for Earth’s climate. 
  • I am studying the possibility of measuring vorticity in the solar wind plasma from multiple spacecraft measurements.
  • I am continuing work on simplified physical and mathematical models for nonlinear phenomena and self-organization effects in space and astrophysical plasmas.  
  • I have participated in studies of the Galactic magnetic field, using measurements of the Faraday Rotation of extragalactic radio sources.


During my 39-year career at Iowa, I taught courses at all levels from introductory, general education courses for non-science majors, to graduate courses in astronomy and physics.  I enjoyed every class I taught.  Although it is hard to pick a favorite, one of the best was Exploration of the Solar System, a general education class about solar system astronomy.  I developed this course and taught it for the first time in 1991. I am grateful to NASA for continuing to carry out missions that produced exciting results, and providing ample material that was great for the classroom.  It is enormously gratifying to see my former students go on to successful careers in science and other fields.  

Research areas
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space Physics
  • Plasma Physics
Steven Spangler; professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, University of Iowa
Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1975
Contact Information

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


666A Van Allen Hall (VAN)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States