People, papers and presentations

Patricia Reiff, professor of physics and astronomy and outreach director of the Rice Space Institute, delivered the Birkeland Lecture for 2012 at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters Sept. 20. Reiff, who specializes in space plasma physics, spoke about mapping and predicting the aurora as well as the strides made over the past 45 years in understanding the aurora. She showed the audience her successful algorithm that predicts geomagnetic activity up to three hours in advance. She also discussed the longstanding collaborations between Rice and Norway, which began in 1912 when Professor Carl Størmer gave a paper on auroras at Rice’s opening dedication. In 1967 Alex Dessler, the founding chair of the Space Science Department, brought Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland to the scientific forefront by identifying Birkeland currents in space and was the second “Birkeland Lecturer” in 1988. Some of the attendees at the lecture will be at Rice Nov. 12-16 for the U.S.-Norwegian Trans-Atlantic Science Week.





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