EE Waynick Memorial Lecture: Journey to the Sun

Abstract: NASA Heliophysics research studies a vast system stretching from the sun to Earth to far beyond the edge of the planets. Studying this system—much of it driven by the sun’s constant outpouring of solar wind—not only helps us understand fundamental information about how the universe works, but also helps protect our technology and astronauts in space. NASA seeks knowledge of near-Earth space, because—when extreme—space weather can interfere with our communications, satellites, and power grids. The study of the sun and space can also teach us more about how stars contribute to the habitability of planets throughout the universe. 

Mapping out this interconnected system requires a holistic study of the sun’s influence on space, Earth, and other planets. NASA has a fleet of spacecraft strategically placed throughout our heliosphere —from Parker Solar Probe at the sun observing the very start of the solar wind, to satellites around Earth, to the farthest human-made object, Voyager, which is sending back observations on interstellar space. Each mission is positioned at a critical, well thought-out vantage point to observe and understand the flow of energy and particles throughout the solar system—all helping us untangle the effects of the star we live with. 

Biography: Nicola Fox is the Heliophysics Division Director in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Until August 2018, Fox worked at the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University, where she was the chief scientist for Heliophysics and the project scientist for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. Fox served as the deputy project scientist for the Van Allen Probes, and the operations scientist for the International Solar Terrestrial Physics program. Fox received her bachelor of science in physics and doctorate in space and atmospheric physics from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. She received a master’s degree in telematics and satellite communications from the University of Surrey.


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Media Contact: Tim Kane



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

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