Jaya Joseph, Ph.D. student, Physics and Astronomy
Predicts behavior of charged particles
• Hometown: Sydney, Australia
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Prof. Allison N Jaynes
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD in Physics and Astronomy, 2023
• Please describe your research: The Van Allen radiation belts are zones of energetic charged particles that surround the Earth. The charge particles mostly come from the Sun. My research focuses on understanding the Van Allen belts’ structure, dynamics, and interactions with terrestrial and solar events.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Modern society depends on hundreds of commercial, military, and scientific satellites operating at altitudes between a few hundred miles to ~25,000 miles above the Earth. Electronic instruments on the satellites are prone to malfunction, even complete failure due to the energetic particles present in the region. My aim is to characterize and predict the behavior of these particles in the Van Allen radiation belts, which will promote optimal design and safe operation of satellites.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? After about 18 months of starting at the University of Iowa, I was able to participate in research.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? The University of Iowa has a world-renowned space research program and joining this university has made me more successful in my research.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I would like to continue to contribute to space research and would like to join NASA as a research scientist.
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