Dr. Philippe A. Bourdin
My strongest qualification lies in running large computer models of the solar corona that aim to reveal the coronal heating mechanism. This remains a riddle over eight decades, but with significant progress of understanding during the recent years due to the use of high-performance computing. The specialty in my work is that I drive coronal 3D models with magnetic observations from the photosphere and later I compare the model results to the really observed corona. Since this strategy was successful for a small active region, I like to extend it now to much more common solar phenomena, like coronal bright points.
Besides the observationally driven one-to-one models of the solar atmosphere, I also like to dig deeper, like obtain a better understanding of the plasma processes, where magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) models end. In particular this means to test the assumptions used in MHD and to check commonly used formulations, e.g. of the heat transport along the field and of the magnetic resistivity. I like to ask the question what exactly converts the magnetic to thermal energy. This can be tackled with particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, where no fluid-dynamical assumptions are made and individual electron or ion populations can be traced and analyzed to understand the actual energy dissipation. Fundamental plasma-kinetic physics related to magnetic reconnection is also a key in better understanding in-situ observations of magnetospheric missions, like NASA's MMS or ESA's Cluster satellite swarms.
Recently, we have started to establish the electro-motive force as a diagnostic tool for detecting shocks and magnetic transient events in heliospheric in-situ observations. We found our method is able to detect a CME without human interaction and could be used to automatically analyze plasma data on-board of heliospheric missions, like NASA's Parker Solar Probe or ESA's SolarOrbiter.