I am a high-energy solar astrophysicist, concentrating on the Sun’s remarkable capabilities for accelerating particles. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections transform huge amounts of energy from the coronal magnetic fields into particle kinetic energy through processes that are not yet understood. We attempt to evaluate and explain these phenomena by examining the high-energy emission from flares, all the way from large eruptive flares down to small, prevalent, unresolved ones. My main investigative tools are data from the extreme ultraviolet and hard X-rays, primarily from the RHESSI, NuSTAR, SDO, and Hinode spacecraft. I also concentrate on the development of new instrumentation for high-energy exploration of the Sun, with an emphasis on hard X-ray sensors. Before reaching the large spacecraft stage, developing instruments are tested on sounding rockets, balloons, and CubeSats. In collaboration with several other institutions, we are developing hard X-ray focusing telescopes for solar purposes via the FOXSI project, which has had two successful flights on suborbital sounding rockets from the White Sands Missile Range. We are also developing solar-observing CubeSats to measure high-energy radiation from the Sun with high time precision. The capabilities of this and other new instruments will open a new door by which we can understand some of the most energetic phenomena in the solar system.
Assistant Professor (Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics)