Prof. Nancy Crooker gives prestigious Parker Lecture at AGU
Research Professor Nancy Crooker was recently invited to give the prestigious Parker Lecture at the 2013 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), in honor of famed solar astrophysicist Eugene Paker. Prof. Crooker’s lecture, entitled “Heliospheric Pattern Recognition,” highlighted ongoing research in the Department of Astronomy at Boston University by herself and others. Her abstract appears below, with a link to a video of the talk on the AGU meeting website (free registration required).
“It is well known that patterns must be recognized before models can be built to aid in our understanding of complex systems. Pattern recognition is one of the pleasures of doing science. Foundational understanding rooted in pattern recognition in the heliospheric system was provided by Professor Parker, famously in the form of the Parker spiral describing the heliospheric magnetic field. Following in that tradition, our community has recognized a profusion of patterns on all scales in the heliosphere, from turbulent flux tubes to the shape of its outer boundaries. It is the magnetic (rather than gravitational) organization of space that affords this wide variety of pattern over a broad range of scales. Examples of the variety of patterns recognized at heliospheric mesoscales will be presented. These involve the structure of the heliospheric current sheet, coronal mass ejections, the coronal hole boundary, and sources of slow solar wind. The primary tools used to recognize these patterns are observations of suprathermal electrons and magnetic fields. From these data one can recognize not only pattern but clues about origin. Of particular interest is the origin of the heliospheric magnetic field and its variation through the solar cycle.”