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Ph.D. - Applied Mathematics University of Sheffield - 1973
B.S. - Mathematics University of Shefiield - 1969
My primary research interests center around the analysis and interpretation of data from Earth orbiting satellites. These data describe the density and motion of charged particles in the upper atmosphere. Theses particles are strongly influenced by the Earth's magnetic field and by electric fields that arise from motions of the atmosphere and the interaction of the planet with the interplanetary medium.
Our data sources from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and from FormosaSat-1 are very extensive and with data visualization tools we are constructing a global description of the dynamics of the charged particles and how it changes in response to variations on the Sun. In 2006 we will launch a new satellite-based experiment to examine the relationships between charged and neutral motions at low latitudes in the upper atmosphere. New instrumentation being flown in this mission will require extensive development of software to produce geophysical parameters that will make up a unique data set that has never before been available from space.
Computer models of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere can also be extremely useful in studying the Earth's space environment. With these models we conduct numerical experiments to understand the extremes of behavior that can be achieved with different drivers for electric fields. Comparisons between these numerical results and experimental data from space and from the ground are an important part of the analysis and interpretation procedures that we undertake.
In addition to these scientific studies I'm also interested in new techniques to obtain thermal plasma measurements and reduce the data. Among my present interests in this area are cylindrical section collectors and methods for deriving constituent ion temperatures in the upper atmosphere
Coordinated Satellite Observations of the Very Low Frequency Transmission Through the Ionospheric D Layer at Low Latitudes, Using Broadband Radio Emissions From Lightning 2018 - Journal Article
The Plasma Environment Associated With Equatorial Ionospheric Irregularities 2018 - Journal Article
The Ionospheric Connection Explorer Mission: Mission Goals and Design 2018 - Journal Article
Observed Propagation Route of VLF Transmitter Signals in the Magnetosphere 2018 - Journal Article
Measurement of Individual H+and O+Ion Temperatures in the Topside Ionosphere 2018 - Journal Article
Motions of the Convection Reversal Boundary and Local Plasma in the High-Latitude Ionosphere 2018 - Journal Article
Combined Contribution of Solar Illumination, Solar Activity, and Convection to Ion Upflow Above the Polar Cap 2018 - Journal Article
Effects of electric field methods on modeling the midlatitude ionospheric electrodynamics and inner magnetosphere dynamics 2017 - Journal Article
Fellow - American Geophysical Union
Cecil & Ida Green Endowed Chair The University of Texas at Dallas [2002–Present]
Director The University of Texas at Dallas [1994–Present]
Professor The University of Texas at Dallas [1989–Present]
Associate Director The University of Texas at Dallas [1986–1994]
Research Scientist The University of Texas at Dallas [1973–1986]
Junior Research Fellow The University of Texas at Dallas [1972–1973]
Teaching Assistant University of Sheffield [1969–1972]
Professional Recognition and Honors
Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2006
American Geophysical Union, Nicolet lecture, The Dynamic Ionosphere 2006
Gaseous Electronic Conference Keynote Address Natural Plasmas in Space 2008
American Geophysical Union 1973-present
Sigma Pi Sigma 1980-present
School Committees 2006-2008 Faculty & Personnel Review Committee
University Committees 2005 Committee on Information Resources 2006 Research Advisory Committee 2007-2009 Committee on Faculty Standing and Conduct 2007-2009 Intellectual Property Committee
Internal Special Service 2005 Graduate Curriculum 2006-2007 Department Web Curator, Department Graduate Curriculum 2008-2009 Department Advisory Committee 2008-2008 Department Qualifying Examination Committee
External Service 2005 Member NASA Geospace Mission Definition Team 2005-2009 American Geophysical Union Session Convener for Spring and Fall Meetings 2005-2009 Referee for: Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Annales Geophysicae, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestrial Research. 2007-2009 Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research American Geophysical Union Session Convener for Fall Meeting 2007-2009 Reviewer for National Science Foundation NASA Supporting Research and Technology 2008-2009 Member, NASA Living with a Start Management Operations Working Group 2007-2009 Team Leader., NASA Targeted Research Group on Global Distribution, Sources and Effects of Large Density Gradients 2008 Chairman, NRC Committee on the Performance Assessment of NASA Heliophysics Division 2009 Member, International Advisory Board, Journal of Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.
We sat down for A Conversation With...Dr. Roderick Heelis, the Cecil and Ida Green Honors Professor of Physics and director of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences at UT Dallas. Dr. Heelis is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, an international scientific society devoted to the research of the Earth and space. He joined the UT Dallas Center for Space Sciences in 1973, after graduating from the University of Sheffield (England) with a Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics. Heelis is an expert on “space weather,” the phenomenon of disturbances that occur in the ionosphere, the gaseous band of charged particles that surround the Earth. Space weather “storms” can disrupt GPS signals and wreak havoc on navigation systems for planes, trucks, ships and even missiles.
If your GPS navigation system goes on the fritz in the coming days, you might have the sun to blame. Early this week, the sun released four X-class solar flares, the strongest type of flare. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a 40-percent chance of more X-class flares in the coming days, some possibly pointed toward the Earth. Dr. Roderick Heelis, director of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences and holder of a Distinguished Chair in Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UT Dallas, is an expert on the interaction between the sun and planetary environments, as well as the dynamics of charged particles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. He and his colleagues measure weather in space with sophisticated instruments that fly on satellites, and they create computer models designed to predict space weather.
An experiment run by a UT Dallas professor launched successfully this month into space on its way to a greater understanding of mysterious plasma bubbles that interrupt radio signals. Dr. Roderick Heelis is heading the experiment, called the Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamic Investigation, more affectionately known as CINDI. Dr. Heelis holds a Cecil H. and Ida Green Chair in Systems Biology and is director of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences at UT Dallas. The NASA-sponsored mission is being conducted in cooperation with the Air Force. The rocket carrying CINDI launched from the underbelly of an Air Force plane on April 16. The plasma bubbles that CINDI will investigate occur mainly above Earth’s equatorial region but wreak havoc on radio communications worldwide. “Understanding when and where plasma bubbles occur, how severe they will be and how long they will last is vitally important since interference from plasma bubbles affects GPS signals and other radio signals that can travel around the globe by reflection from layers in Earth's upper atmosphere, called the thermosphere and the ionosphere,” Dr. Heelis said.
Drew Hartman, May, 2007
Longitudal and Seasonal Variations in the Topside Equatorial Vertical Ion Drift Near 0600, 0930, 1800 and 2130 LT
Kelly Drake, May 2008
Studies of the High Latitude Ionospheric Convection
Russell Stoneback, May 2009
Applications of the Electromagnetic Helmholtz
Sasmita Mohapatra, August 2009
Behavior of Zonal Ion Drifts in the Low and Middle Latutude Ionosphere
Edgardo Pacheco, December 2009
Latitudinal (Apex-Height) Variations in Ion Drifts in the Ionosphere at Low and Middle Latitudes
The Coupled Ion-Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI) Instruments, NWM & IVM
$1,000,000 - NASA [2009–2010]
Ionospheric Dynamics Associated with Large-Scale Density Gradients
$380,000 - NASA [2007–2010]
Longitude Variations in Dynamo Electric Fields in the Low and Middle Latitude Ionosphere
$275,000 - NASA [2007–2010]
Longitude Variations in Dynamo Electric Fields in the Low and Middle Latitude Ionosphere
$276,115 - NASA [2006–2009]
VITMO: A VxO for S3C Data for the Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Thermosphere Community