I am an astrophysicist who studies the Sun. I mainly study the Sun’s high-energy radiation, concentrating on the Sun’s remarkable capabilities for accelerating particles. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections transform huge amounts of energy from magnetic fields into particle motion through processes that are not yet understood. I attempt to evaluate and explain these phenomena by examining X-rays from flares, all the way from large eruptive flares down to small, prevalent, unresolved ones. My main wavelengths for this investigation are the extreme ultraviolet and hard X-rays, primarily from the RHESSI, NuSTAR, SDO, and Hinode spacecraft.
I also work on the development of new instrumentation for high-energy exploration of the Sun, with an emphasis on hard X-ray sensors. My favorite part of this work is experimental payloads that fly on small rockets and small satellites! These projects are an important way for new ideas to get tested and the next generation of technology (and students) to develop. In collaboration with several other institutions, I am developing hard X-ray focusing telescopes for solar purposes via the FOXSI project, which has had three successful flights on suborbital sounding rockets from the White Sands Missile Range. I am also developing solar-observing CubeSats to measure high-energy radiation from the Sun with high time precision, including the NSF-funded IMPRESS mission. The capabilities of this and other new instruments will open a new door by which we can understand some of the most energetic phenomena in the solar system.