Schroeder Grant

Physics Faculty Awarded NASA Grant

Assistant Professor of Physics Jim Schroeder ‘09 is part of a team of researchers who have recently been awarded a grant from NASA. The title of the grant is “Investigating Magnetospheric Whistler-Mode Chorus Features using SPSC Laboratory Experiments.” Dr. Schroeder joins Dr. Erik Tejero (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), Dr. Fred Skiff (University of Iowa), Dr. Vijay Harid (University of Colorado-Denver) as co-investigator on the grant. The total award is $972,000 over three years, and the subaward to Wheaton College is $121,000.

Regarding the grant initiatives, Dr. Schroeder writes, “These experiments can bring insight to some long-standing mysteries of space science. Our incomplete understanding of Earth’s radiation belts limits our ability to prepare for and mitigate space weather events. At one time, space weather phenomena would have been a curiosity, but in today’s world, we rely on the dependable operation of satellites for navigation, communication, and defense, and much of this infrastructure on which we depend is at the mercy of extreme space weather events. The research funded by this grant will recreate and study in the Naval Research Lab’s Space Physics Simulation Chamber plasma physics processes found in Earth’s radiation belts.”

Wheaton College students will participate in the research through Professor Schroeder’s engagement with the Wheaton College summer research program for undergraduate students. “This grant opportunity means Wheaton students will not only participate in NASA-funded research and gain experience in the plasma physics community, but they will also be asking and answering questions at the forefront of space science research,” says Dr. Schroeder.