SILOAM SPRINGS John Brown University
Assistant Physics Professor Dr. Daniel Main has
been awarded a National Science Foundation
grant for his upcoming study of the structure of
the northern and southern lights - aurora bore
alis and aurora australis.
The nearly $75,000 grant will be given to JBU
to cover the costs for an undergraduate research
assistant, travel, equipment and other research
Over the next three summers, Main and a JBU
student assistant will seek to understand the fine
scale structure of the aurora.
The aurora is caused by high-energy electrons
colliding with air molecules at around 100 kilo
meters in altitude. By using a computer code
which models the basic physics governing the
behavior of the electrons, they hope to learn
how the electrons are energized as they travel
toward earth. Main has been involved in various
levels of research of the electrons since 2002.
The input parameters for the computer code
were developed using observational data from
the Fast Auroral SnapShoT spacecraft and
research previously done by Main.
"This is a great opportunity for me and for
JBU students," said Main. "I look forward to
opening up an area of physics and engineering
that would not be possible without this funding."
Main, who is in his second year teaching
physics at JBU, is one of 15 in his field to receive
a grant from the NSF this year.
"This grant is a confirmation of our excellent
programs that allow students to be involved in
cutting-edge research," said Dr. Cal Piston, chair
of natural sciences at JBU.
The NSF is an independent federal agency
created by Congress in 1950 to promote the
progress of science. They fund approximately 20
percent of all federally supported research that
is conducted by American colleges and universi
News, Pages 7 on 08/19/2009