Management | Mission Development | Science | Associate Investigators | Outreach

PUNCH Associate Investigator (AI) Program

PUNCH has instituted a program to recognize and encourage early-career scientists working with the Science Team on problems that support and enhance PUNCH mission science. PUNCH Associate Investigators (AIs) pursue science projects with collaboration and mentorship from PUNCH Co-I(s), attend team meetings, participate in PUNCH working group activities, and present at PUNCH science meetings. They act as liaisons, communicating PUNCH science to the broader community and community needs back to the project. In this way, they help grow the PUNCH user base, and also benefit from the career-enriching experience of being embedded in a NASA mission at an early stage of their careers.

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Dr. Raphael Attié

Raphael Attié

George Mason University
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1A


Education

Ph.D. in Solar Physics, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany) & Technische Universität Braunschweig, 2015

M.Sc. in Astrophysics, Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France), 2006

Professional Background

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow (NPP), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2017-2019

Solar Physicist, Royal Observatory of Belgium, 2016-2017

PUNCH Role

Research & Development of plasma flow tracking techniques; Error Analysis of flow fields involving MHD simulations and data assimilation.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Attié is a leading expert in the science of mapping solar plasma flows at multiple scales from real observations. Using STEREO/COR2 data, he is working toward the preparation of data products for mapping solar wind flows with PUNCH.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Raphael Attié specialized into the tracking of solar plasma flows using spaceborne instrumentation. He has worked with data from various missions, SoHO, STEREO, Hinode and SDO and is the author of highly accurate solar plasma flow tracking algorithms. In 2017, Dr. Attié was awarded the NASA postdoctoral fellowship to work on photospheric flows for characterizing emerging active regions with SDO data. In 2019, he started to develop his tracking techniques further to include the mapping of solar wind flows.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Tremblay, B., Attie, R., 2020, “Inferring Plasma Flows at Granular and Supergranular Scales With a New Architecture for the DeepVel Neural Network”, Front. Astron. Space Sci., 7, 25

Attie, R., Kirk, M.S., Thompson, B. J., Muglach, K., Norton, A. A., 2018, “Precursors of magnetic flux emergence in the moat flows of active region AR12673”, Space Weather, 16

Attie, R., Innes, D.E., Solanki, S.K., Glassmeier, K.-H., 2016, “Relationship between supergranulation flows, magnetic cancellation and network flares”, A&A, 596, A15

Attie, R., Innes, D.E., 2015, “Magnetic Balltracking: tracking the photospheric magnetic flux”, A&A, 574, A106

Dr. Rohit Chhiber

Rohit Chhiber

University of Delaware and NASA GSFC
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1A, 1B, 1C


Education

PhD in Physics, University of Delaware, 2018

MSc in Physics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India), 2009

BSc in Physics and Mathematics, University of Rajasthan (Jaipur, India), 2006

Professional Background

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Delaware and NASA GSFC, 2018 - 2022

Research Associate III, University of Delaware and NASA GSFC, 2022 - present

PUNCH Role

Numerical support for PUNCH via global solar wind modeling: Large-scale context simulations; properties of the Alfvén zone.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Chhiber studies the solar wind and space-plasma turbulence using global MHD modeling with turbulence transport, MHD turbulence simulations, and analysis of in-situ spacecraft datasets. He has used global solar wind simulations with turbulence transport modeling to study the properties of the Alfvén zone.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Chhiber has a particular interest in the interplay of large-scale heliospheric structure with turbulence; this has included studies of energetic particle and field-line diffusion in the solar wind, modeling of subgrid-scale effects in global simulations, and analyses involving multi-spacecraft measurements (MMS, Helioswarm). Dr. Chhiber is PI of two major NASA grants.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

R. Chhiber, W. H. Matthaeus, A. V. Usmanov, R. Bandyopadhyay, and M. L. Goldstein. An extended and fragmented Alfvén zone in the Young Solar Wind. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 513(1):159 167, 03 2022

M. Cuesta, R. Chhiber, et al. Isotropization and Evolution of Energy-Containing Eddies in Solar Wind Turbulence: Parker Solar Probe, Helios 1, ACE, WIND, and Voyager 1. ApJ,

R. Chhiber, A. V. Usmanov, W. H. Matthaeus, and M. L. Goldstein. Large-scale Structure and Turbulence Transport in the Inner Solar Wind: Comparison of Parker Solar Probe's First Five Orbits with a Global 3D Reynolds-averaged MHD Model. ApJ, 923(1):89, December 2021

D. Ruffolo, W. H. Matthaeus, R. Chhiber, et al. Shear-driven Transition to Isotropically Turbulent Solar Wind Outside the Alfvén Critical Zone. ApJ, 902(2):94, 2020

R. Chhiber, A. V. Usmanov, W. H. Matthaeus, and M. L. Goldstein. Contextual Predictions for the Parker Solar Probe. I. Critical Surfaces and Regions. ApJS, 241:11, March 2019

Dr. Bea Gallardo-Lacourt

Bea Gallardo-Lacourt

USRA & NASA/GSFC
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1A


Education

Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, 2016

M. S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, 2012

B.S. in Applied Physics, University of Santiago, Chile, 2008

Professional Background

NASA postdoctoral program fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2019-Present

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Physics, University of Calgary, 2017-2019

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, 2011-2016

PUNCH Role

Associated investigator working on flow mapping of solar wind structures

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Gallardo-Lacourt's research interests include studying magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes from high to mid-latitude ionosphere. She has vast experience working with a wide variety of ground-based instruments and satellite data. Currently, Dr. Gallardo-Lacourt is working on implementing the optical flow method to investigate auroral plasma motion and solar wind structures.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Gallardo-Lacourt has investigated ionospheric flow structures at auroral and subauroral latitudes, and the origin and statistical characteristics of a new ionospheric optical signature dubbed Steve. Dr. Gallardo-Lacourt’s community service is extensive, she is currently the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere editor for the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Book publications. In addition, she is an active member of AGU where she also serves as a North American representative in the Global Engagement committee.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Gallardo-Lacourt, B., Y. Nishimura, L. R. Lyons, E. V. Mishin, J. M. Ruohoniemi, E. Donovan, V. Angelopoulos, and N. Nishitani (2017), Influence of auroral streamers on rapid evolution of ionospheric SAPS flows, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics., 122, 12. 

Gallardo-Lacourt, B., Y. Nishimura, L. R. Lyons, J. M. Ruohoniemi, E. Donovan, V. Angelopoulos, K. A. McWilliams, and N. Nishitani (2014), Ionospheric flow structures associated with auroral beading at substorm auroral onset, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 9150-9159.

Forsyth C., Sergeev V.A., Henderson M.G., Nishimura Y., and Gallardo-Lacourt B. Physical Processes of Meso-Scale, Dynamic Auroral Forms. Space Sci Rev 216, 46 (2020).

Chris R. Gilly

Chris Gilly

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1C


Education

PhD Candidate in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder, 2022 (est)

M.S in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder, 2018

B.S. in Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2015

Professional Background

Graduate Research Assistant, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, 2015 – 2022 (est)

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-2015

Heliophysics REU, National Space Science and Technology Center, Summer 2014

PUNCH Role

Associate Investigator: Forward Modeling PUNCH-like Observations

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

  • Statistical Radial Normalization – designed a method which increases contrast in coronal images
  • STRIA and BLOBS – wrote IDL modules for the FORWARD toolkit in SSW
  • GHOSTS – wrote Python code for forward modeling off-limb coronal spectroscopy
  • Attended 3-4 conferences each year

Supporting Experience

  • Leadership
    • AGU SPA Student Rep, 2020–2021
    • SHINE Student Rep, 2020–2021
    • SPS Secretary, 2014-2015
  • Graduate Committees
    • Admissions, 2018
    • Comprehensive Exams, 2017
    • ommers-Bausch Observatory, 2016
  • Outreach
    • Production Manager at Fiske Planetarium, Host at Sommers-Bauch, 2018-2022
    • Public Speaker at Fiske and Westercon, 2016-2022
    • Physics Demo Author + Host, 2014-2015
  • Teaching
    • Instructor for ASTR 1000, Tutor + TA for many years
    • Author of Boulder Junior Astronauts

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Gilly, C. R. and Cranmer, S. R., “The Effect of Solar Wind Expansion and Nonequilibrium Ionization on the Broadening of Coronal Emission Lines”, The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 901, no. 2, (2020). doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abb1ad

 Dr. Francesco Pecora

Francesco Pecora

University of Delaware
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1B


Education

Ph.D. in Plasma physics, University of Calabria (Italy), 2021

M.S. in Astrophysics, University of Calabria (Italy), 2017

B.S. in Physics, University of Calabria (Italy), 2014

Professional Background

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Delaware, 2021 - present

PUNCH Role

Numerical support with MHD turbulence simulations: recovery of density structures and turbulence properties from Forward synthesis of white-light data.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Pecora has worked with several turbulence simulation codes, from MHD to PIC, and he has frequently combined simulations with observations from several different spacecraft.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Pecora is currently working on the synergistic combination of MHD turbulence simulations with the Forward toolset. The possibility of extracting white light images from PUNCH-like observations within simulated space environments gives the unmatched opportunity to compare the precision of mass density reconstruction as well as to infer basic turbulence properties.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

F. Pecora, Y. Yang, S. Gibson, N. Viall, R. Chhiber, C. DeForest, and W. H. Matthaeus, “Magnetohydrodynamics turbulence simulations: a testing ground for PUNCH” (in prep)

Dr. Elena Provornikova

Elena Provornikova

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 2A, 2B


Education

Ph.D. in Solar Physics and Mechanics of Fluid, Gas and Plasma, Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Science (Russia), 2013

M.Sc. in Theoretical Mechanics, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow Russia), 2009

Professional Background

Senior Professional Staff, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2020 -

Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2018 - 2020

NASA LWS Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellow, Naval Research Laboratory, 2015 - 2018

Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2013-2014

PUNCH Role

Support data synthesis effort for PUNCH by providing MHD simulations of interplanetary coronal mass ejections.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Provornikova is a leading expert in MHD simulations of propagation and evolution of solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in the inner heliosphere. Using a coupling of GAMERA inner heliosphere model driven by WSA-ADAPT and Gibson&Low CME model, she performs simulations of interplanetary CMEs with internal flux rope and provides an input to data synthesis tools for PUNCH.

Supporting Experience

Using GAMERA MHD model, Dr. Provornikova develops a time-dependent model of the inner heliosphere driven by changing WSA-ADAPT maps which enables to improve an accuracy of the solar wind background description.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Provornikova, E. A., Laming, J. M., Lukin, V.S., “Reflection of Fast Magnetosonic Waves near a Magnetic Reconnection Region”, ApJ, 860, 138, 2018

Provornikova, E. A.,Ofman, L., Wang, T., “Excitation of flare-induced waves in coronal loops and the effects of radiative cooling”, Adv. in Space Res., 61, 645, 2018

Provornikova, E. A., Laming, J. M., Lukin, V.S., “Plasma Compression in Magnetic Reconnection Regions in the Solar Corona”, ApJ, 825, 55, 2016

Yan Yang

Yan Yang

University of Delaware
PUNCH Associate Investigator: WG 1B


Education

Ph.D. in Fluid Mechanics, Peking University (China), 2018

B.S. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Peking University (China), 2012

Professional Background

Research Assistant Professor, Southern University of Science and Technology (China), 2020-2021

Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Southern University of Science and Technology (China), 2018-2020

PUNCH Role

Associate Investigator working on compressible MHD turbulence and its detectability with density sensitive measurements in PUNCH.

Experience Relevant to PUNCH

Dr. Yang's research interests include MHD turbulence, solar wind and plasma turbulence, and computational fluid dynamics. She is an expert on the nature of turbulence in compressible MHD, especially the compressibility effect on the multiscale properties of turbulence. She is working on simulations of compressible MHD and providing test dataset for PUNCH.

Supporting Experience

Dr. Yang employs analytical, computational, and observational methods to study the cross-scale energy transfer process ranging from MHD scales to kinetic scales, with applications to dissipation and heating in space plasmas. Her research on MHD and plasma turbulence was published as a book titled “Energy Transfer and Dissipation in Plasma Turbulence”.

Selected Publications Relevant to PUNCH

Y. Yang, M. Wan, W. H. Matthaeus, and S. Chen, “Energy budget in decaying compressible mhd turbulence”, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 916, A4, 2021.

Y. Yang, W. H. Matthaeus, Y. Shi, M. Wan, and S. Chen, “Compressibility effect on coherent structures, energy transfer, and scaling in magnetohydrodynamic turbulence”, Physics of Fluids, vol. 29, no. 3, p. 035 105, 2017.

Y. Yang, Y. Shi, M. Wan, W. H. Matthaeus, and S. Chen, “Energy cascade and its locality in compressible magnetohydrodynamic turbulence”, Physical Review E, vol. 93, no. 6, p. 061102, 2016.

Y. Yang, M. Wan, Y. Shi, K. Yang, and S. Chen, “A hybrid scheme for compressible magnetohydrodynamic turbulence”, Journal of Computational Physics, vol. 306, pp. 73–91, 2016.

R. Kieokaew, B. Lavraud, Y. Yang, W. H. Matthaeus, D. Ruffolo, J. E. Stawarz, et al., “Solar Orbiter observations of the Kelvin-Helmholtz waves in the solar wind”, Astronomy & Astrophysics, vol. 656, A12, 2021.

D. Ruffolo, W. H. Matthaeus, R. Chhiber, A. V. Usmanov, Y. Yang, R. Bandyopadhyay, et al., “Shear-driven transition to isotropically turbulent solar wind outside the alfvén critical zone”, The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 902, no. 2, p. 94, 2020.