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Aurora/Magnetosphere Physics PhD programs? (Texas)

  1. Mar 30, 2015 #1
    Hey everyone, I'm a 24 year old junior working on a BS in Physics. (Like everyone else) my main interest is theoretical astrophysics/astronomy. I'm a good student (3.2) and work at the observatory at my school and do a couple of other various jobs in the Physics department. I am particularly interested in studying auroras and I was wondering if anyone knew of some schools that might offer doctoral degrees in that area? I've done some research and haven't come up with a ton of stuff. The main one I found was University of Alaska Fairbanks (?) and I definitely do not want to live in Alaska for even a minute as I hate the cold. I'd prefer to stay in Texas. UT Austin and Rice are obviously choices but not everyone can get in there so I was curious about what some other options might be. Any constructive advice would be appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2015 #2
    So it sounds like you want space plasma physics? Or only specifically work related to auroras? University of Alberta in Canada has a few faculty doing work directly related to auroras, if you are willing to move to Canada. Note that if you want to study auroras, you will likely have to visit northern climates to observe them, so you should be more open-minded about the location of the universities you might apply to.

    There are many schools in the US doing work in space plasma physics. A quick search on gradschoolshopper.com will give you more schools than I could think of on the top of my head.

    Why auroras? Have you studied plasma physics at any level before? You say theoretical astrophysics/astronomy, but this is a very distinct field from space plasma physics (where auroras would fall under).
  4. Apr 1, 2015 #3
    I've just always found them particularly fascinating, and I like the fact that there is still a lot about them that is still to be discovered. I've always thought they were really cool and got turned on to the physics of them while reading about Joan Feynman. I figured somewhere northern might be inevitable, but as far as moving to Canada - that's all up to the Mrs. I've always been interested in astronomy, but I'm glad you helped me narrow down more specifically what I'm looking for. Thanks man!
  5. Apr 3, 2015 #4


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    There are a number of universities that study space plasma physics (what you probably want for auroral physics). There are a large number of schools that have space plasma physics groups. U. New Hampshire, U. Iowa, Dartmouth (in both physics and engineering), UC Berkeley, U Colorado Boulder, Stanford (in ee dept), U. Illinois Urbana (in EE), University of Washington, etc. Off the top of my head beyond Rice I couldn't think of any in texas. But did you try Google? It tells me that University of Houston has a group
    As does UT Dallas
    and UT Arlington

  6. Apr 4, 2015 #5
    University of Colorado Boulder. I Know many graduate students who studied auroras in their APS and Physics programs
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