Magnetospheric Phenomena : IAGA Division III

Dr. Simon Wing is the Division Chair for IAGA Division III : Magnetospheric Phenomena. Here, he answers some of our questions about himself and his division.

1) Could you please tell us something about yourself?

I am a space physicist at the Johns Hopkins University.  I study solar wind entry into the magnetosphere, plasma transport in the planetary (Earth, Jupiter, Saturn) magnetospheres, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, radiation belts, solar dynamo, and space weather. Recently, I have been applying information theory to space data to establish linear and nonlinear relationships and causalities. 

2) What are the basic research questions of the IAGA division you head?

There are many, perhaps too many to list here.  IAGA Div III research questions include how the Sun transfers mass and energy to the planetary (including Earth’s) magnetospheres and ionospheres?; what are the magnetospheric responses to the solar wind driving, e.g., storms and substorms?; how do electromagnetic waves interact with ions and electrons?; what are the roles of plasma turbulence in magnetospheric dynamics?; where and how does magnetic reconnection occur and what are its impacts in the magnetosphere? etc. This is by far an incomplete list and a rather simplistic description of very complex research questions and problems that Div III tries to solve.  

Flow of plasma energy around Earth's magnetosphere. Solar energy absorbed through the magnetopause circulates in the magnetosphere and becomes energy that generates the radiation belt and auroras. (from JAXA)

3) Who are your main collaborators within IAGA and outside?

In the last five years, I have collaborated with about 20-30 scientists within and outside IAGA.

4) What are the past important results of this division?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are too many. It would be difficult to come up with a complete list. Rather than trying to enumerate them all, I would say that Div III has made a lot of progresses in the list of questions listed above. 

At each IAGA conference, Div III presents a rather unique session called Reporter Review.  This session highlights the progresses in the fields in the last few years. So, the readers who are interested to learn about recent important results in the Div III are encouraged to attend this session. 

( IAGA-IASPEI 2021 conference can be followed here : )

5) What do you think would be the future applications or impacts through this research?

Space weather can adversely affect our technological infrastructures and lives on Earth and in space. Div III research has huge potential impacts on and applications for space weather.   


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