AO Colloquium: Dr. Michael Denton

Planetary Science



Planetary Science AO Colloquium: Dr. Michael Denton

The first colloquium of 2020 was held on January 21st and featured a talk describing the Unsolved Problems in Plasmaspheric Physics from Dr. Michael Denton, Research Scientist with the Space Science Institute at Los Alamos in New Mexico. Dr. Denton’s research focuses on understanding the Earth’s neutral atmosphere, inner magnetosphere plasmas, and the magnetospheric response to solar wind drivers such as high-speed solar-wind streams and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

“We invited Dr. Denton to be an AO Colloquium Speaker because his expertise fits well with the capabilities and research lines of Arecibo. He is an expert in plasmasphere - ionosphere studies and heliophysics that includes interplanetary space weather,” AO Colloquium Committee chair and Research Scientist Dr. Jens Lautenbach explained.

“We invited Dr. Denton to be an AO Colloquium Speaker because his expertise fits well with the capabilities and research lines of Arecibo. He is an expert in plasmasphere - ionosphere studies and heliophysics that includes interplanetary space weather...” - Dr. Jens LautenbachColloquium Committee chair and Research Scientist at AO

This was Dr. Denton’s first visit to AO, and said it was his “boyhood dream to visit Arecibo and actually see the radar dish for the first time.” He added, “Of course, all the earthquakes made things a bit more interesting than I had imagined!”.

In the AO Colloquium, Dr. Denton addressed the enigmatic questions of how the particles in the ionosphere get “refilled” following the geomagnetic storms that deplete them and how the plasmasphere affects the Earth’s radiation. Dr. Lautenbach said that his colloquium was extremely well attended, and “several people contacted him afterwards with questions and to ask for the recording of his presentation.”

“I’m aiming to commence a research project on the origin and dynamics of cold ionospheric/plasmaspheric material,” Dr. Denton shared. He said that the visit to Arecibo facilitated collaborations with AO researchers on how to best use the telescope and its data archives for the project. “Hopefully this will also mean future visits to the observatory!”

Dr. Lautenbach echoed that sentiment, stating that “Dr. Denton had extensive discussions with various AO staff, resulting in promising collaborations regarding the study of long-term trends in the ionosphere from over 40 years of data over Arecibo and new space weather projects”.

During his interview for social media, Dr. Denton expressed to all viewers that the path to becoming a scientist doesn’t have to follow the traditional route. Describing his own trajectory, he stated, “I love science, but I quit school when I was 18. I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, but I decided to go back and then got intrigued by physics”. He added that, “People will say science is hard - which it is - but if you’ve got the dedication, then anybody can do it. If you are prepared to put in the time, then science can be a route for you too!”. You can watch his entire interview on the AO Colloquium page.


21-Jan-2020: Talk by Dr. Michael Denton: @ AO Library


Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist Contact: tbecker@swri.edu

Arecibo Media Contact
Ricardo Correa
Universidad Ana G. Mendez (UAGM)
787-878-2612 ext. 615
rcorrea@naic.edu

Colloquium Coordinator
Dr. Jens Lautenbach
Arecibo Observatory
jlautenbach@naic.edu

Keywords: arecibo, observatory, aas, astronomical, Minchin, Virkki, Ransom, Perera, McLaughlin, Manoharan, Clark, Roshi, Johnson, Gonazalez. , american, NANOGrav, International, Pulsar, Timing, Array, Radio, Recombination, Space-VLBI, Planetary Radar, Program, Solar, Heliophysics