Solar winds will be the topic of the next Department of Physics colloquium series at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, in Moulton Hall, room 214. The colloquium is part of the Physics Alumni Lecture Series and will feature a discussion on space and engineering by Philip Valek, a principal scientist in the space science and engineering division at the Southwest Research Institute.

One of the scientific goals of NASA is to better understand how energy and mass flow throughout the solar system. Key to this understanding is how the plasma that flows out from the sun – the solar wind – interacts with the various bodies that it encounters. In his talk, Valek will discuss some of the techniques and observations used to measure the plasma population throughout the solar system.

Valek ‘s research interests include magnetospheric physics and the role that oxygen plays in storm time dynamics. He has also led testing and calibration of a range of instruments that measure the ion and ENA populations in the solar wind, Earth’s magnetosphere, planetary magnetospheres and heliosphere.

For more information on the colloquium, contact the Department of Physics at 438-8756 or