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Plasma and Beam Physics | Science and Mathematics Education | The Sun and the Solar System


Undergraduate students often have minimal exposure to many subfields
of physics which are active areas of research. Space physics
is an area that is particularly difficult to expose students to since
it builds off of another area that most undergraduates see little of,
plasma physics. The magnetopause is convenient entry point
into space physics, since it can be modeled as a pressure balance, which is
a concept familiar from introductory physics. We use the Earth's
magnetopause as the basis for a lab for junior physics majors. In
the lab students analyze results from a NASA MHD simulation and
data from several spacecraft. In this lab, not only are students
exposed to space physics, but they also develop their data
analysis skills.