The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP): Understanding Particles and Fields Throughout the Solar System

The speaker at the May 19th Longmont Astronomical Society meeting will be Dr. Dan Baker, Director LASP.


Even before the official dawn of the Space Age – that is, the launch of the Sputnik and Explorer spacecraft in 1957-1958 – the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospherics and Space Physics was engaged in forefront space research. Using rockets to get to the fringes of outer space, LASP researchers made pioneering observations of the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere. This talk will recount some of the earlier history of LASP’s contributions to Sun-Earth (and planetary) studies. A principal focus of the talk will be the modern studies of energetic particles and electromagnetic fields in Earth’s cosmic neighborhood. LASP has been playing an increasingly prominent role in forefront studies of Earth’s environment and LASP researchers are using this core terrestrial knowledge to advance planetary and astrophysical understanding as well. Moreover, study and understanding of the space environment of Earth is absolutely essential for our knowledge of “space weather” which represents a major threat to our modern technological society. The presentation will address all these aspects and will conclude with a look forward to future LASP programs and opportunities.


Dr. Daniel Baker is Director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder and is Distinguished Professor of Planetary and Space Physics there. He holds the Moog-Broad Reach Chair of Space Sciences at CU. Dr. Baker obtained his Ph.D. degree with James A. Van Allen and has published over 800 papers in the refereed literature and edited eight books on topics in space physics. Dr. Baker was selected as an Associate of the U.S. National Academies (2004). Awards include University of Colorado’s Robert L. Stearns Award for outstanding research, service, and teaching (2007); University of Colorado’s Boulder Faculty Assembly Distinguished Research Lecturer Award (2010); American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics James A. Van Allen Space Environments Medal (2010); American Astronomical Society Kavli Prize Lectureship (2015); and Vikram A. Sarabhai Professorship of the Indian Physical Research Laboratory (2015). Dr. Baker is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the International Academy of Astronautics, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has served as chair of the National Research Council Committee on Solar and Space Physics, member of the National Research Council’s 2003 Decadal Survey Panel for solar and space physics, and member of the 2006 Decadal Review of the U.S. National Space Weather Program. He served as chair of the National Academies 2013-2022 Decadal Survey in Solar and Space Physics.


The meeting will be at the IHOP Restaurant, 2040 Ken Pratt Boulevard, Longmont. Please join us for coffee, dinner, or just desert around 6 pm; The general meeting and presentation will begin at 7 pm.

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