Philip A. Isenberg
Joint Appointment Department of Physics
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Theoretical space plasma physics; solar wind acceleration; solar wind interactions with neutral particles from comets and the interstellar medium; solar flares.
As a member of the Space Plasma Theory Group at UNH, I primarily study the acceleration of the plasma in the solar corona to form the solar wind, and the pickup into the free-flowing solar wind of newly-ionized particles from comets and from the interstellar medium. Both of these processes are currently thought to depend on a resonant cyclotron interaction between the ions and various types of hydromagnetic waves in the plasma. I am investigating the details of this interaction and constructing mathematical models (both analytical and numerical) of the resulting effects on the ion populations in the solar corona and solar wind. We expect these studies to guide us in finally understanding the decades-old problems of the energization of the solar wind and other heliospheric plasmas.