Welcome to my new and improved Space Physics site. Below you will find descriptions and links to my various projects and interests in the area of experimental magnetospheric physics. External links are scattered throughout, so please note that I only take credit (or blame) for the pages that I control. The background image is of the Delta II rocket that launched the Swedish Munin satellite that I helped to build as a graduate student.


Many related links and documents can be found on my Online Vita. A printable (pdf) version is available here.


After obtaining a BS degree in Physics from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, I began my space physics research career at Rice University in Houston, Texas. I joined the Space Physics and Astronomy Department (now the Physics and Astronomy Department) in the fall of 1995. The university and department were great, but I'm not a big fan of Houston and they didn't offer the sort of hands-on instrumentation work that I was looking for. Luckily, I was able to solve both problems by doing my graduate work at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. All my coursework was done on-campus, so I made the 600 mile round trip to Houston weekly for both of my second year semesters.


Starting in the summer of 1996, I did my graduate work at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). My first project was to rewrite data processing code for the SSJ4 plasma instruments on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites to use a new input format, a task that I have never completely gotten away from (see current research below). Soon afterwards, I became involved with The MEDUSA instrument for the Swedish Astrid-2 satellite. I participated in the final design and did the assembly, checkout, calibration, and ground processing software. Later, the engineering model was rebuilt as MEDUSA-2 and flown aboard the Munin microsatellite. This work was the subject of my Master's thesis, a webpage for which is still online. Later, I used data from several low-Earth-orbit missions, including DMSP, Astrid-2, and Munin, to study a small feature of the magnetospheric cusps, dubbed the "true cusp". Throughout my tenure at SwRI I was involved with the Southwest Data Display and Analysis System, or SDDAS, which was used for various visualizations of archived data. After graduation in the spring of 2001, I stayed on in a temporary position, becoming involved with the PEACE electron experiment on the Cluster multi-satellite mission. In addition to data analysis, I wrote a description file generator for the various data products and participated in new, 3D data visualization tools based on Visualization ToolKit (VTK) and the Swedish Orbit Visualization Tool (OVT).


From the Fall of 2001 until the Spring of 2003, I taught a class at the University of Texas at San Antonio called "Exploration of the Solar System". It was an upper-level science for non-majors, mostly dealing with the Sun, planets, and moons, although there were also sections on minor satellites and extra-solar planets (exoplanets). Some of the material from that course is still available here.


From the fall of 2003 to fall of 2005 I worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a Resident Research Associate with the National Research Council. I am studying the polar cusps of the Earth's magnetosphere using magnetic conjunctions of the low-altitude (~ 800 km) satellites of the DMSP mission along with the mid-altitude (~ 5 Earth Radii) Cluster mission. The DMSP data processed during my tenure at SwRI only overlapped with Cluster for 8 months, so I had to convert data from another source (The Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University) to complete my work. I am still interested and involved with data visualization tools and techniques, most recently the ViSBARD tool, along with the SDDAS from SwRI. An online version of SDDAS is available for the Cluster mission at Cluster quicklook data is also available from the Cluster Science Data System at CSDSWeb. Data for the ESA/China DoubleStar mission, which uses similar instrumentation to Cluster, is at the DSDSWeb. Other good sources of space science and orbital data include CDAWeb and SSCWeb, both hosted from Goddard.


From the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2006 I taught full time at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. I taught astronomy and physical science, as well as numerous physics, physical science and astronomy laboratories. In the spring of 2006 I prepared this introduction to magnetospheric physics for undergraduates at San Angelo and Abilene. I also continued my Cluster work over the summer as a subcontractor for SwRI.


Since the fall of 2006 I have been a full-time tenure track member of the physics faculty at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. I teach various introductory and advanced physics and astronomy classes, including an upper level elective called Solar System Physics. I am also the local representative for the NURO (National Undergraduate Research Observatory) program.

Online Tools

  • Handy energy/velocity converter I wrote for electrons and ions.
  • Data translator from the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) at Goddard.
  • Also from NSSDC, generate magnetic field profiles up to 30,000 km from the Earth's surface using the International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF).
  • Magnetic Coordinate calculator.
  • Geophysical Coordinate Systems.


    Consolidated list of my favorite data sources:

  • Cluster Active Archive - in development
  • Cluster PEACE High Resolution Data System - also includes other Cluster experiments
  • Cluster Science Data System - quicklook plots
  • DoubleStar Science Data System - quicklook plots
  • Virtual Space Physics Observatory - Comprehensive site finder
  • Coordinated Data Analysis Web - many recent and older missions
  • Satellite Situation Center - Orbit and region locator data for many missions
  • Super Dual Auroral Radar Network - SuperDARN ground-based Ionsopsheric data
  • Auroral Particles and Imagery - DMSP data from JHU/APL

    Analysis Software

  • SDDAS - Southwest Data Display and Analysis System
  • SDDAS/PEACE - Additional SDDAS software for the Cluster PEACE experiment
  • QPEACE - PEACE software from Steve Schwartz
  • ViSBARD - Visual System for Browsing, Analysis, and Retrieval of Data
  • OVT - Orbit Visualization Tool
  • CISM DX - Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling Data Explorer
  • IDL - Interactive Data Language

    Page updated April 8, 2008

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