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UI wins the largest research award of all time



A team led by physicist Craig Kletzing of the University of Iowa has won $ 115 million from NASA to study the mysterious, strong interactions between the solar and earth's magnetic fields.

The award is the largest externally funded research project in UI history. Out of more than 35,000 projects that have been awarded to the UI since 1965, Kletzing's contract is the sole research prize worth more than $ 100 million.

Craig Kletzing at the blackboard. Photo by Tim Schoon.

"This is a career milestone for me personally," says Kletzing. "It's also a fantastic opportunity to do a truly great science with an All-Star team."

"This is a monumental achievement for the University of Iowa, and especially for Craig Kleting's ambitious and experienced team and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, "says John Keller, Interim Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate College. "Not only is it the largest single contract award in the history of this institution, it is also paying off tremendously when it comes to re-understanding the effects of the sun on space and the planets. As with the discovery of the radiation belts by (UI physicist) James Van Allen, this project again shows the world why the University of Iowa is a world leader in space exploration and research. "

Kletzing's Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites project (TRACERS) is part of a larger initiative, the NASA Explorers Program, which explores how the sun affects space and the space environment around planets.

The funding amount may change as it does not include rides.

NASA is interested in studying these magnetic interactions because of their impact on Earth. Without the magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet, the supersonic heated winds of the sun would cause harmful radiation doses that would affect most, if not all, life. Earth's magnetic field uses the atmosphere to block most of the harmful solar energy.

The UI team consists of:

Jasper Halekas ACE lead (electronic instrument)
George Hospodarsky MSC lead (magnetic search coil)
Scott Bounds Instrument manager [1

9659011] Jeff Dolan Instrument Systems Engineer
Dan Crawford Director of the Science Operations Center
Rich Dvorsky Mechanics Systems Engineer
Carol Preston TRACERS Accountant
Loren LeClair TRACERS Affiliate (in the OVPR Promotional Program)

But the solar wind finds some way to Earth through openings that occur when the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun touch. When these holes are preserved, the solar wind flows into regions called humps.

Bumps can dramatically affect a variety of activities. For example, in 2003, double events called the Halloween Storms triggered auroras that reached as far south as Texas. The storms also affected GPS signals and wireless communications, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to warn airlines for the first time to avoid excessive radiation from flights at low altitudes.

"TRACERS research deals with long-standing questions, such as energy pairs from the solar wind into our local magnetosphere," says Kletzing. "One of the long-term goals of our space exploration is the development of predictive" space weather "models to enhance our capacity to use space as a resource. The science researched by TRACERS will be crucial to achieving this goal. "

In particular, TRACERS will complement a recent NASA mission called MMS, in which four spaceships circle the Earth's magnetosphere, searching for and observing magnetic openings. The spaceship TRACERS will investigate these magnetic effects closer to Earth.

"We examine what comes out of the lower end (the opening) when a magnetic reconnection takes place," says Kletzing.

Previous Main User Interface Scholarships

  • $ 88.5 million, Francois Abboud, 1971. The research that funds this scholarship fund for the longest under the direction of the same principal investigator focuses on the study of a multitude of illnesses, including anxiety, high blood pressure and vascular damage.
  • $ 75.4 million, Thomas Scholz, 1998. The grant has been used to fund the special clinics for child health to improve the health, development and well-being of children and adolescents with special health needs, especially in rural areas improve areas.
  • $ 64.1 million, Jean Robillard, 1969. Researchers at the General Clinical Research Center investigate, among others, women's health, prostate cancer therapy, bone loss in anorexia, cochlear implants, gene transfer in cystic fibrosis, and Homocysteine ​​and atherosclerosis.
  • $ 60.7 million, Bruce Gantz, 1985. Researchers at the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center translate research on the auditory system into technologies that improve the speech perception of deaf adults and children and deaf-born babies.
  • $ 53.4 million, William Clarke, 2004. This grant supported Iowa's contribution to an international research consortium to investigate the safety and efficacy of treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes.
  • Jane Paulsen, 2000, 52.1 million USD. PREDICT-HD tracked 1,400 vulnerable people to Huntington's disease over the course of 12 years, and investigated the earliest brain and behavioral changes in healthy adults who have the genetic mutation for HD and could develop the disease later in life ,
  • $ 48.9 million, George Weiner, 2002. The University of Iowa-Mayo Clinical Lymphoma Program, a research-excellence-focused program (SPORE), is a highly collaborative research collaboration focused on developing novel approaches to the prevention, detection, and treatment of lymphoma.
  • $ 48.3 million, George Weiner, 2000. This grant was awarded to the Holden Comprehensive Care Center, the only one designated by the National Cancer Institute in Iowa as the Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 50 in the nation, forgive.
  • $ 42.5 million, Peter Thorne, 1990. With this award, the UI Environmental Sciences Research Center was launched and supports research into the relationship between various environmental pollutants in the air, water, soil and food with human Diseases and how public health can be promoted by avoiding these exposures.


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