Sponsored WISP Projects
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Introduction

The mission statement of the Women in Science Project at Dartmouth College reads as follows:
The mission of the Women in Science Project (WISP) is to encourage more Dartmouth women to persist in science, math, and engineering by creating and fostering a supportive academic and social climate that will aid women in pursuing science as a major and a career. WISP's broad goal is achieved by enhancing the experiences of Dartmouth women, particularly in their first year, through a comprehensive set of proven intervention strategies, including:
  • Mentoring
  • Early hands-on research experience
  • Role modeling
  • Access to information
  • Building a sense of community in the sciences
Sponsored projects from the past, present, and future projects are described below.

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Scientific Visualization of Geophysical Data in 3D

Intern (2005)

Emily Greenberg Courtesy of David Murr

Description

Of the many skills a scientist must posses, the ability to effectively communicate ideas and results to others, is often overlooked. One important aspect of this communication is visualizing scientific data. If, as the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words", then a fully animated 3D representation of data should be priceless. Indeed, the simplest form of data visualization is an ordinary graph or plot. However, as datasets become more intricate it is often necessary to develop new ways to show data. The effectiveness of a particular visualization relies on the creators understanding of the underlying science, their creativity, and, perhaps, some artistic talent.

The goals of this project are to help construct a GeoWall (see geowall.org) and to develop visualizations of the near-Earth space environment, which includes phenomena such as the Earth's radiation belts and the aurora. These visualizations may be used in future courses at Dartmouth or possibly in an exhibit at the Montshire Science Museum. A limited amount of setting up computer hardware and software will be required, but the main task will be developing ideas for how best to display and animate computer simulations of various space physics phenomena. Experience with computers in desirable but not necessary. Artistic flair a plus!

Here is an example of a preliminary visualization

Sponsors

Simon Shepherd (research assistant professor and lecturer) and
David Murr (research scientist and lecturer) both from the Thayer School of Engineering.


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WWW Creation and Dissemination of SuperDARN Summary Data Plots

Description

The Internet has become the main tool for sharing scientific data and results between scientists. Space scientists often rely on measurements from a variety of different instruments when researching a particular phenomena. The ability to easily search through these datasets for conjunctions (times when data is available from all instruments) is critical but often difficult to perform. A tool that makes this task easier is the dissemination of summary data on the web. That is, a processed form of data that is searchable by another user is created and posted on the web. This project will entail creating just such a utility. A searchable format of summary data from the SuperDARN (http://superdarn.jhuapl.edu/) Network of HF radars will be design and implemented to be posted on the web. A desire to learn web skills is the only prerequisite.

Sponsor

Simon Shepherd (research assistant professor and lecturer)
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Modeling Space Weather Effects on the Earth

Interns (2003)

Alice ParkMarilyn Nyanteh

Description

Space weather is a term used to describe storms that take the form of plasma (charged particles) and electromagnetic radiation originating from our Sun and eventually impact the Earth. A new center has been recently created by the National Science Foundation aimed at modeling space weather and the effects it has on our terrestrial environment. Dartmouth College is a participating member of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM) and many scientists at the Thayer School of Engineering and in the physics department collaborate on aspects of space weather research. One research project involves determining the electric and magnetic fields at the surface of the Earth associated with ionospheric currents caused by solar storms. These fields can lead to large currents that flow in conductors on the Earth's surface, such as power lines and communication cables. During large storms these currents can seriously damage the systems in which they are induced and have even resulted in power blackouts. In this project the intern will help run and evaluate various computer models designed to calculate these fields. While some computer experience is desired it is not required.

Sponsor

Simon Shepherd (research assistant professor and lecturer)
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Investigating Space Weather with SuperDARN

Intern (2002)

Carolyn Kirchner

Description

The interaction of the Earth with the solar wind causes a variety of interesting and potentially disruptive effects on and near the Earth. The majestic Northern Lights are perhaps the most well-known of these phenomena. Another important, but less well-know, aspect of this interaction is the circulation of the ionized gas in a region near the Earth due to electric fields thousands of kilometers away. This circulation is somewhat analogous to pressure and wind systems common in our terrestrial weather. Scientists use a unique network of instruments to measure the velocity of the moving ionized gas called SuperDARN. This network consists of high-frequency radars which measure the Doppler velocity of the moving gas (like a weather Doppler radar) over the polar regions of the globe. By studying the circulation in in response to changes in the solar wind, we are able to better understand the interaction of these regions. The locations of these radars and more information about this research can be found at http://superdarn.jhuapl.edu/sites/index.html and http://www.thayer.dartmouth.edu/~simon/.

While some knowledge of computer programming is desirable, your experience will determine the details of your involvement in the project. The student will learn about the regions involved in the interaction (solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, etc.), some of the processes involved, and analyze data from the SuperDARN radars and other instruments (spacecraft) to study one aspect of how this circulation behaves. Some of the possible projects are: determining how the circulation depends on changes in the the solar wind, such as the interplanetary magnetic field, the solar wind speed, or the solar wind dynamic pressure; comparisons of SuperDARN circulation measurements with computer model predictions; identification of periods when the SuperDARN radars make definitive measurements of the circulating region. Many other projects are possible, too, depending on the student's interest.

Sponsor

Simon Shepherd (research assistant professor and lecturer)
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