Career Information

I am presently employed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa. Now in my second year at Iowa, I am building my Plasma Theory and Computation Group, comprising postdoc Jason TenBarge and graduate students Kevin Nielson and Kris Klein. Last year I taught graduate level Plasma Physics and worked on building up my research program, focusing on high-performance computational studies of kinetic plasma turbulence in space and astrophysical plasmas.

Brief Career History

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa

    Associate Professor

    • Teaching graduate level Plasma Physics.
    • Teaching High-Performance Computing to graduate students across the university.
    • Nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of kinetic astrophysical turbulence, with application to the solar wind, accretion disks around compact objects, and the interstellar medium.
    • Analytical models of the turbulent cascade in kinetic plasmas and of the thermodynamics of the plasma species in the solar corona and solar wind.
    • Analysis of in situ measurements of the turbulence in the solar wind aimed at understanding its heating and acceleration.

    Spring 2013—present

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa

    Assistant Professor

    • Teaching graduate level Plasma Physics.
    • Teaching High-Performance Computing to graduate students across the university.
    • Nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of kinetic astrophysical turbulence, with application to the solar wind, accretion disks around compact objects, and the interstellar medium.
    • Analytical models of the turbulent cascade in kinetic plasmas and of the thermodynamics of the plasma species in the solar corona and solar wind.
    • Analysis of in situ measurements of the turbulence in the solar wind aimed at understanding its heating and acceleration.

    Fall 2008—Spring 2013

  • Department of Astronomy, UC Berkeley

    Visiting Assistant Professional Research Astronomer

    Mentor: Professor Eliot Quataert

    • Nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of kinetic astrophysical turbulence, with application to the solar wind, accretion disks around compact objects, and the interstellar medium.
    • Analytical models of the turbulent cascade in kinetic plasmas and of the thermodynamics of the plasma species in the solar corona and solar wind.
    • Analysis of in situ measurements of the turbulence in the solar wind aimed at understanding its heating and acceleration.

    Fall 2004—Summer 2008

  • Plasma Theory Group, Department of Physics, UCLA

    Graduate Student

    Advisor: Professor Steven C. Cowley

    • Development of Gradient Particle Magnetohydrodynamics (GPM), a new algorithm for Lagrangian MHD simulation.
    • Development of a high-performace, parallel GPM code for the investigation of the origin and evolution of the Galactic magnetic field.
    • An analytical and numerical investigation of gravitational stability of a plasma in the presence of magnetic shear and shear flow.

    Spring 1999—Fall 2004

  • Plasma Physics Group, Department of Physics, Imperial College, London

    Visiting Graduate Student

    Advisor: Professor Steven C. Cowley

    • Development of Gradient Particle Magnetohydrodynamics (GPM), a new algorithm for Lagrangian MHD simulation.
    • Development of a high-performace, parallel GPM code for the investigation of the origin and evolution of the Galactic magnetic field.

    Summer 2001—Summer 2003

  • Department of Physics, Occidental College

    Adjunct Instructor

    • Taught Physics 105—Light: An introductory course on optics, waves, relativity, and quantum mechanics.
    • Taught Physics 105—Light Laboratory: Standard optics laboratory experiments.

    Fall 2000

  • Plasma Physics Laboratory, Department of Physics, UCLA

    Graduate Student

    Advisor: Professor Alfred Y. Wong

    • Experimental research studying chlorofluorocarbon destruction through dissociative electron attachment using free electrons and negative ions under stratospheric and upper tropospheric conditions.

    Fall 1997—Spring 1999

  • Department of Physics, Occidental College

    Adjunct Instructor

    Mentor: Professor George Schmiedeshoff

    • Taught Physics 110—Mechanics: An introductory course on classical mechanics.
    • Taught Physics 110—Mechanics Laboratory: Experiments on classical mechanics.
    • Taught Physics 140—Light and Modern Physics Laboratory: Experiments on optics, waves, and nuclear physics.

    Fall 1996—Spring 1997

  • Research School of Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

    Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

    Advisor: Professor Tim Stern

    • Performed field tests and analyzed the performance of a new high-resolution engineering seismograph for shallow seismic exploration.

    1995

  • Department of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology

    Undergraduate Student Researcher

    Advisor: Professor Paul Bellan

    • Assisted in the group's plasma physics research developing spheromak injection as a means of refueling tokamak controlled fusion reactors.

    Winter 1993—Spring 1994

  • Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Wisconsin

    National Undergraduate Fellow in Plasma Physics and Fusion Engineering

    Advisor: Professor Raymond Fonck

    • Developed and assembled the vacuum system for a small-aspect ratio tokamak.

    Summer 1993

  • Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

    Summer Laboratory Co-op Student

    Advisor: Dr. Michael Nitschke

    • Performed nuclear physics research as part of an international collaboration for the development of a proposed radioactive nuclear beams facility, the IsoSpin Laboratory.
    • Wrote FORTRAN programs incorporating scientific codes, used them along with analysis tools to predict the properties of the system in order to improve design and performance, and prepared results for publication.

    Summer 1991, Summer 1992

  • Department of Physics, Occidental College

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Advisor: Professor John Essick

    • Developed FORTRAN routines for data acquisition and analysis for use in solid-state research characterizing the properties of amorphous silicon-carbon alloys.

    Fall 1991—Spring 1992