October 19, 2012
Colloquium Speaker: Ramon E. Lopez
Ramon E. Lopez is a Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington. His research is both in space plasma physics and physics education, and he is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers and coauthor of the popular science book "Storms from the Sun." Ramon is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His awards include the 2002 APS Nicholson Medal, the 2010 SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2012 APS Edward A. Bouchet Award, and two NASA Group Achievement Awards. Ramon has also been very active in precollege science education and has assisted in the development of nationally marketed science instruction materials for elementary and high school grades. Ramon was one of the authors of the College Board's Standards for College Success Science Standards and he is part of the Leadership Team for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards project. He has also served as a science education consultant for numerous school districts, state departments of education, and other organizations including the Discovery Channel. Ramon earned a B.S. in physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in space physics in 1986 from Rice University.
As our technological civilization becomes more dependent of space technology, we become more vulnerable to changes in the space environment in which that technology functions. These environmental changes are known as “space weather.” In this talk I will discuss what drives space weather and how it affects human activities both in space and on the Earth. I will also discuss recent efforts by the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling to create physics-based numerical simulations of the magnetosphere to be used in forecasting space weather.