Alicia K. Petersen, PhD
Dr. Petersen joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as an Assistant Professor in 2022 after being an NRC Research Fellow at the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory where she researched the propagation of space weather events in order to improve space weather forecasting, with the aim of enhancing space situational awareness and protecting space-based assets for the US Air Force and Space Force. Dr. Petersen earned her PhD and MS from the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Dept. at the University of Michigan, College of Engineering.
Dr. Petersen leads the Space Weather Impacts, Forecasting and Transit (SWIFT) lab, which researches the kinetic physics, magnetism and dynamics at play during the transit and interaction of space weather phenomena in the inner solar system, their impacts on spacecraft, and strategies for mitigating the impacts of space weather.
Her research has covered some of the following topics:
- The impacts of interplanetary transit and interactions with magnetic structures on solar energetic particles as they propagate through the inner heliosphere.
- The magnetic topology of the inner heliosphere and the evolution of Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections as they propagate out from the Sun.
- Identifying characteristics of Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections using Advanced Compositional Explorer (ACE) in situ observations of heavy ion charge states, suprathermal electrons and plasma properties.
- How the magnetic environment of the inner heliosphere impacts Solar Energetic Particles using in situ observations.