Eric Christian
Stamatios (Tom) Krimigis
Frank McDonald
Edward Stone
Merav Opher

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Dr. Eric Christian


Dr. Christian is the Program Scientist for the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) line of strategic missions in the Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Division at NASA HQ, and the Discipline Scientist for Heliospheric Physics in SEC. The STP line includes TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) launched in 12/01, Stereo (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, launch in 11/05), Solar-B (launch in 9/06), MMS (Magnetosphere Multiscale, currently in Phase A study), GEC (Geospace Electrodynamic Conneections, in pre-formulation phase), and MagCon (Magnetospheric Constellation, in pre-formulation phase). Dr. Christian is currently the Program Scientist for Voyager, Stereo, ACE, Ulysses, and Wind.


Dr. Christian received a B.A., cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 with majors in honors Physics and Astronomy and a minor in Computer Science Engineering. In 1989, he obtained a PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. After his PhD he spent 14 years working for the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) as a Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. During this time, he worked on a large variety of balloon-borne and spacecraft cosmic ray instruments and missions including the SIS and CRIS instruments on ACE, HNX, ACCESS, TIGER, Nightglow, and ISOMAX. He was Deputy Project Scientist for the ACE mission. Dr. Christian has received several GSFC Group Achievement Awards, the 1995 USRA Excellence in Scientific Research Award, and the 2002 USRA Community and Educational Outreach Award. Dr. Christian is very active in Education and Public Outreach and regularly talks to school children and the public, as well as keeping an active web-presence for outreach.


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Dr. Stamatios (Tom) Krimigis


Dr. Stamatios (Tom) Krimigis came to APL in 1968, after earning his B. Physics from the University of Minnesota (1961), and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Iowa and serving as Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy there for 3 years.


He became Supervisor of Space Physics and Instrumentation in the Space Department, Chief Scientist in 1980 and Department Head in 1991. He is Principal Investigator on several NASA spacecraft, including Voyagers 1 and 2 to the Outer Planets, and the Cassini mission to Saturn. He has built instruments that have flown to seven of the nine planets, and hopes to complete the set with the MESSENGER mission to Mercury and New Horizons mission to Pluto.


He has published more than 350 papers in journals and books, is a Fellow of the APS and AGU and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics where he serves on the Board of Trustees.


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Dr. Frank B. McDonald


Dr. McDonald has been the senior research scientist at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, College Park since 1989. Dr. McDonald has worked at both NASA Headquarters in Washington and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. From 1987 - 1989, he served as the Associate Director, Chief Scientist at Goddard. Prior to this position, he was the NASA Chief Scientist from 1982 -1987. He also held the position of Chief, Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics at Goddard from 1970 - 1982. Dr. McDonald served as the Head of the Energetic Particles Branch from 1959 -1970.


The current research of Frank McDonald and his associates is directed toward understanding the properties of the galactic cosmic radiation, its transport in the interstellar medium and its modulation by our own heliosphere; the acceleration and transport of solar/interplanetary energetic particles and the study of the dynamics of the outer heliosphere, one of the last unexplored regions of our solar system. This research makes extensive use of the energetic particle data from Pioneer 10 and 11 on which Dr. McDonald is P. I. for one of the cosmic ray experiments and the Voyager cosmic ray experiment for which he is a co-investigator. There is an active collaboration with the interplanetary magnetic fields and plasma experiments on the Pioneer and Voyager missions and with colleagues at Maryland and the Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as with laboratories at New Mexico State University; Potchefstroom University, South Africa; Nagoya University, Japan; and the Service d'Astrophysique, CERN-Saclay, France. We are also starting a new program to study the acceleration and propagation of high-energy solar energetic particles.


Dr. McDonald received his B.S. in 1948 from Duke University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in 1951 and 1955 respectively from the University of Minnesota. He has published over forty journal articles and is a member of the following professional organizations: American Physical Society (Fellow); American Geophysical Union (Fellow); National Academy of Science; Sigma Xi; Phi Beta Kappa


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Dr. Edward C. Stone


Edward C. Stone is the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1991-2001). He has also served as chair of Caltech's Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy and oversaw the development of the Keck Observatory as Vice President for Astronomical Facilities.


Since 1972, Stone has been the project scientist for the Voyager Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, coordinating the scientific study of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune and Voyager's continuing exploration of the outer heliosphere and search for the edge of interstellar space. Following his first instrument on a Discoverer satellite in 1961, Stone has been a principal investigator on nine NASA spacecraft and a co-investigator on five other NASA missions for which he developed instruments for studying galactic cosmic rays, solar energetic particles, and planetary magnetospheres.


Stone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, president of the International Academy of Astronautics, and a vice president of COSPAR. Among his awards and honors, Stone received the National Medal of Science from President Bush (1991), the Magellanic Premium from the American Philosophical Society, and Distinguished Service Medals from NASA. In 1996, asteroid (5841) was named after him.


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Dr. Merav Opher

Dr. Opher was born in Haifa, Israel in 1970. She received her B.Sc. in Physics at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1992. In 1998, she received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her research interests are in the area of plasma effects in space physics and astrophysics. As a doctoral student, she studied Plasma Effects in the Early Universe at the epoch when the light elements were formed. She discovered that the electromagnetic spectrum is distorted from a blackbody at low frequencies and that the inclusion of non-normal modes in a plasma, such as photons and plasma waves, alters its energy content.

In 1999, she became a postdoctoral associate in the Plasma Group in Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. There, she continued to investigate the effect of electromagnetic fluctuations on nuclear reaction rates and the equation of state, with Prof. John Dawson. They investigated the way these plasma effects can influence stellar evolution and early universe calculations. She also collaborated with Prof. George Morales and Dr. Jean Leboeuf, on kinetic effects in plasma waves. In 2001, she accepted the position of research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working with Dr. Paulett Liewer. Her research involves investigating the edge of our solar system and the interaction between the solar and interstellar winds.

This work is being carried out in close collaboration with the group lead by Prof. Tamas Gombosi at the University of Michigan. Her expertise involves magneto-hydrodynamic calculations, using the most sophisticated state of the art computer simulations. Recently, she and her colleagues found that the current sheet (the region where the solar magnetic field reverses polarity) is unstable beyond the termination shock. The compressed solar magnetic field at the termination shock slows down the solar wind. In the current-sheet, the plasma passes through a pure hydrodynamic shock, which produces a "jet-sheet". We expect to see this phenomenon in other magnetized rotating stars, as well. This work was recently included in the Editor's Choice in the journal Science.


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