Sanjay Chepuri

Sanjay Chepuri, PhD student, physics and astronomy

Tracks energy in Earth's magnetic field

“Sanjay is a high-talent scientist. He is bringing new understanding to the Sun-Earth system through his scholarly work. But he is also very committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment.” -Allison Jaynes, associate professor

Mukilteo, Washington

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Allison Jaynes, PhD, associate professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in physics and astronomy, anticipated graduation in spring 2023

Please describe your research:
I study Earth’s magnetosphere—the region surrounding Earth that is under the influence of Earth’s magnetic field. Specifically, I study data from NASA satellites to track high energy particles. This allows us to learn more about how our magnetosphere interacts with the solar wind and how energy flows through the entire magnetospheric system.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
We have only been able to measure the magnetosphere in situ for about 70 years, so there is still much to learn. The better we can characterize the magnetosphere, the better we can understand things like how solar flares will affect us on the ground and inside the magnetosphere or when we can expect to see different types of aurorae. The magnetosphere also gives us an opportunity to study plasma physics in different conditions than a lab that we can apply to other situations.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I began participating in research in spring of my first year, about 8 months after starting here.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Research is the most important part of my work as a graduate student here. So many people are doing great research in space physics here, which has allowed me a ton of opportunities to learn and grow as a researcher from different sources in addition to the opportunities I have had through my advisor.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on continuing with research in the same field, starting with a postdoctoral researcher position.

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