NOAA Chief Scientist Dr. Richard "Rick" Spinrad presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it's been: one technocrat's unguided tour through oceanography." Rick shared his journey and life in science, including tipping points in his career and how he has come to understand the value of transdisciplinarity, odds-weighing, and timing.
Presented by: Dr. Richard "Rick" Spinrad
FPI: First “Video” Plasma Analyzer
FPI aboard the 4 MMS spacecraft provides 100x time resolution. It will reveal the inner workings of the tiny ion and tinier electron diffusion regions of reconnection.
Turning the power grid into an extremely large space science instrument
Geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) that flow in power grids during space weather storms can be a hazard for reliable transmission of electricity. GSFC’s space weather team has developed new technology that not only provides real-time information for mitigation of the hazard but also allows the grid to serve as a space physical antenna. The work is being conducted with the US transmission industry’s support.
HEROES: High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun
The HEROES project is a joint balloon payload between GSFC and MSFC whose purpose was to develop and fly a cross-discipline mission (heliophysics and astrophysics) with two PIs one for each discipline. It was funded by the HOPE program (MSFC was the lead institution). The goal of the program is to train early-career scientists and engineers on space-flight mission from conception through flight operations while holding to the review cycle typical of spacecraft missions (i.e. NPR 7120 5D). The heliophysics science goal of the mission was to investigate Parker’s theory of nano flare heating of the solar corona whereby many small flares are constantly going off, accelerating electrons which lose their energy and heat the solar atmosphere.
What if Earth didn’t have its protective magnetosphere?
Are magnetic fields a prerequisite for life?
How does space weather from a planet’s star affect whether the planet is habitable or not?
We can begin to address these questions by studying planets in our solar system: How do planets without magnetospheres, such as Venus, react to emissions from the sun?
Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI) “THE PATH TO A HELIO EXPLORER”
The Sun is a unique laboratory to study particle acceleration which occurs throughout the Universe. The Sun is the most energetic particle accelerator in the solar system.
HSD will propose FOXSI to the next Small Explorer opportunity to enable our first look into the acceleration region where energetic particles are generated.
Understanding Universal Processes at Earth by Exploring the Solar System
Studying 4 different objects using 4 different missions (combined with theory and modeling) offers new and valuable perspectives on some fundamental physical processes that occur throughout the universe and in particular at Earth.
NASA/GSFC and NSF Led CubeSat: Studying Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs)
Firefly is exploring the relationship between lightning and intense bursts of radiation called Terrestrial Gamma Ray Flashes (TGFs), which result when the Earth's atmosphere accelerates electrons up to tens of MeV in less than one millisecond.
Nanoflares, i.e., a multitude of frequent, highly localized, tiny flare events have been proposed as one of the leading models to explain the hot corona. Before EUNIS, the proof of this concept has been elusive.
NASA climate scientist Dr. Richard Stolarski presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Ozone has been very, very good to me!" Rich was a player and an eye witness to much of the historical development of our understanding of the stratospheric ozone layer from the 1970s to the present. He shared some of the lessons learned on this journey, including major scientific and political developments that led to the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of many ozone-depleting substances.
Dr. Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor and the first woman to get a doctorate in Meteorology from MIT, presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "Sheer luck: How I stumbled my way through a fantastic scientific career." Eugenia shared her life and times at the University of Buenos Aires, MIT, NASA, NOAA and University of Maryland, infused with dreams
from her mother.
NASA climate scientist Dr. Paul Newman presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Some pretty good rules for a career: Newman's own lessons." Paul traced his journey from middle of Seattle, where he grew up, moved to rural Iowa for graduate school, and made his way to NASA/GSFC in 1984, and discussed lessons to be learned from the ozone depletion story.
NASA climate scientist Dr. Michael I. Mishchenko presented a Maniac Talk entitled "How much first-principle physics do we need in remote-sensing and atmospheric-radiation research." Michael explained his skepticism and how it has shaped his contributions to the disciplines of electromagnetic scattering, radiative transfer, and remote sensing, which have found widespread use.
Nobel Laureate John Mather presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Creating the Future: Building JWST, what it may find, and what comes next?" In this lecture, John takes a rear view look at how James Webb Space Telescope was started, what it can see and what it might discover. He describes the hardware, what it was designed to observe, and speculate about the surprises it might uncover. He also outlines a possible future of space observatories: what astronomers want to build, what we need to invent, and what they might find, even the chance of discovering life on planets around other stars.
Dr. James Irons, Deputy Director of NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Division, presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Balancing Precariously on Giants' Shoulders; Landsat and Project Science." Jim shared his 35 years experience and observations working across GSFC Directorates to play a role in a couple of successful Landsat missions.
NASA Solar Physicist Dr. Brian Dennis presented a Maniac Talk entitled "From Picking Potatoes to Measuring the Biggest Bangs in the Solar System -- Always a Farm Boy!" Brian described his formative years in England, then summarized our present understanding of how solar flares work and reviewed possible advances in instrumentation that could lead to major breakthroughs in the future.
NASA climate scientist Dr. P.K. Bhartia presented a Maniac Talk entitled "Maxwell Demon, Black Swan and a Romp in Scientific Hinterlands." PK discussed his roller coaster career, which got nearly derailed after a brief tryst with history and his obsession for understanding esoteric details of measurements that once in a while leads to something interesting.
Dr. Jack Kaye, Associate Director for Research at NASA Headquarters presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "An Unlikely but Rewarding Journey--From Quantum Chemistry to Earth Science Research Program Leadership." Jack took stock of his 30+ years at NASA, noting the people, opportunities, lessons learned, and choices that helped him get to where he is today and accomplish what he have.
Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson, Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "A Rocket Scientist grows up in Brooklyn (NY)." Aprille shared her journey of being a Tom-girl growing up in the Bed-Sty Projects in Brooklyn (NY) with a budding interest in STEAM to becoming a Rocket Scientist for NASA. And the impact of watching men going to the moon and the ah-ha moments!
Dr. James Garvin, Chief Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, presented a Maniac Talk entitled "From Brownian Motion to Mars, by way of hockey on the rocks." Jim shared how his passion for rocks and landscapes drove him to promote new remote sensing approaches for measuring their topologies and led to founding of the Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity Rover.
NASA climate scientist Dr. Anne Thompson presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "A Career in Many Ozone Layers." Anne shared some of her long scientific career both as a researcher at NASA Goddard and Meteorology professor at Penn State University. She also described some of the problems she has worked on and tried to convey an enthusiasm for Earth Observations.
NASA physicist, Dr. Henning Leidecker, presented a Maniac Talk, entitled "How I came to NASA to fix Spacecraft ..." Henning talked about his life, from earliest memories to now, pondering how things work. And how a single tiny incandescent lamp killed 3 GOES, HST gyros running down, and exploding parts in TDRS, and why the Shuttle repeatedly failed to launch, and the underlying physics.
Dr. Peter Hildebrand, Director of NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Division, presented a Maniac Talk entitled "From studies of solubility and divers breathing helium, to DOGS, then NCAR and NASA." Peter described the path that got him to where he now finds himself, with role models, mentors, a few fumbles, and a lot of love for the study of Mother Nature.