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Michael Brown - Principal Investigator

Professor Michael Brown has spent twenty years studying the physics of spheromaks at Swarthmore College. He previously worked at Cal-Tech with Paul Bellan and received his Ph.D from Darthmouth University. He is currently the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Swarthmore College.

Visit Professor Brown's webpage.


David Schaffner - Assistant Professor at Bryn Mawr College

Dr. David Schaffner worked at Swarthmore College as a post-doc February of 2013 to July 2015. He previously studied turbulence and transport in the Large Plasma Device (LAPD) at UCLA. He is currently an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College. David is continuing collaborative work on SSX while developing his lab at Bryn Mawr.

Visit David's profile on Research Gate, and Bryn Mawr.





Undergraduate Researchers

Published Student Researchers/Senior honors (SSX and dynamo):
  • Peter Weck '15: first-author paper, paper2, poster
  • Adrian Wan '15 (APS-DPP student award 2014): paper 1, paper 2, poster
  • Ken Flanagan '12 (Wisconsin): poster
  • Xingyu Zhang '12 (Harvard): first-author paper
  • Darren Weinhold '12
  • Dan Dandurand '11 (Berkeley, DOE Fellow): paper1, paper2poster
  • Vernon Chaplin '07 (APS Apker finalist, Caltech, DOE Fellow): first-author paper, paper2
  • Jason Horwitz '07: paper1
  • Jerome Fung '06 (Harvard, APS-DPP student award 2005): paper1
  • Aongus O Murchadha '05 (Wisconsin)
  • Matt Landreman '03 (APS Apker finalist, Rhodes Scholar, NSF Fellow, APS-DPP award 2002, Oxford, MIT): first-author paper
  • Abram Falk '03 (Harvard, UCSB/Chicago)
  • Andrew Fefferman '03 (Cornell)
  • Dave Schlossberg '01(Wisconsin)
  • Tim Gray '01 (Princeton, Swarthmore)
  • Amy Reighard '01 (Michigan, LLNL): first-author PRL
  • Dave Auerbach '01 (UCLA)
  • Slava Lukin '00 (NSF Fellow, DOE Fellow, Princeton, NRL): first-author paper
  • Walter Luh '99 (Stanford)
  • Tom Kornack '98 (DOE Fellow, Princeton): first-author paper
  • Josh Lifton '98 (MIT)
  • Cameron Geddes '97 (APS Apker winner, Hertz Fellow, Berkeley, LBL): first-author paper
Contributing Student researchers:
  • Holden Park '16

  • Ariel Rock '16

  • Max Krackow '15
  • Samer Nashed '15
  • Emily Hudson '17
  • Jeffrey Owusu-Boateng '16
  • Ezra Day-Roberts '13 (Minn)
  • Alexandra Werth '14 (Princeton Eng)
  • Mike Fisher '14 (Michigan Eng)
  • Max Korein '11 (CMU)
  • Bevan Gerber-Siff '10
  • Ed Dewey '10
  • Kevin Labe '11 (Chicago)
  • Jeff Santner '09 (Princeton Eng)
  • Lake Bookman '08
  • Anna Phillips '10
  • Marc Chang '06
  • Zack Michielli '06
  • Victoria Swisher '06
  • Rachel Sapiro '04 (Michigan)
  • Aaron Modic '04
  • David Murphy '03
  • Keith Gilmore '01
  • Peter Sollins '98
  • Erik Henriksen '97 (Washington University faculty)
  • Eric Engstrom '96
  • Charles Danforth '95

Former Postdocs:

Tim Gray

Chris Cothran


Paul Jacobs


Steve Palmer

Buzz Feature: Prof. Brown Gives Turbulence Tutorial at APS-DPP 2014

Prof. Brown Gives Turbulence Tutorial at APS-DPP 2014

At the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics conference (APS-DPP) this year, Professor Brown gave a tutorial talk on turbulence titled "MHD Turbulence: Observation and Experiment." The talk, which was attended by about 150 other plasma physicists from around the country, gave an overview of basic turbulence theory, then discussed four particular metrics used to analyze turbulence and specifically how these metrics are used on SSX. The talk incorporated research conducted by Swarthmore undergraduates Adrian Wan '15 and Peter Weck '15.

See the pdf version of the talk here.

Buzz Feature: Peter Weck '15 Presents Poster at APS-DPP 2014

Peter Weck '15 Presents Poster at APS-DPP 2014

Peter Weck '15 presented his research at the APS DPP meeting in New Orleans during the undergraduate poster session. Peter's work focuses on a relatively new turbulence analysis technique that looks at the permutation entropy and statistical complexity of a time series signal. See Peter's poster here.

Buzz Feature Vandervelde-Cheng Scholar 2014 - Emily Hudson

Emily Hudson '17 Named a Vandervelde-Cheng Scholar

Emily Hudson '17 was named a Vandervelde-Cheng Scholar for the summer of 2014. The Vandervelde-Cheng Scholarship supports summer physics research for Swarthmore undergrads. Emily's work this summer focused on studying the velocity of plasma plumes down the MHD wind tunnel on SSX. She presented her work at the Sigma Xi exhibition in the Science Commons.

Buzz Feature: SSX in APS-DPP Press Release

SSX among experiments profiled in APS-DPP press release

The field of plasma astrophysics is explored in various laboratory settings including MRX at Princeton, LAPD at UCLA, the dipole experiment at Columbia University and SSX at Swarthmore.

See press release here.

Buzz Feature: Grappling with the Unknown

SSX hits Swarthmore front page

Undergraduates Peter Weck and Adrian Wan are interviewed about research and publishing on the SSX in this news feature from the Swarthmore front page.

Grappling with the Unknown

Buzz Feature: Laboratory Astrophysics on Physics Central

Solar Winds and Hot Plasma Experiments

Turbulence research on SSX was recently profiled on the Physics Buzz blog along with experiments from UCLA and Princeton. All three research areas fall under the umbrella of laboratory astrophysics. The blog post includes a podcast with interviews of David Schaffner, Seth Dorfman (UCLA) and Masaaki Yamada (Princeton).

Physics Central Physics Buzz

Buzz Feature: Two new papers accepted to start 2015

Two Papers Accepted to Start the New Year

Two papers, "Permutation entropy and statistical complexity analysis of turbulence in laboratory plasmas and the solar wind" written by Peter Weck '15 and "Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence: Observation and Experiment" by Michael Brown have been accepted January 2015 for publication in Physical Review E and Physics of Plasma respectively. The first is Peter's first publication and also represents the SSX lab's first foray into both information theory analysis as well as the use of solar wind data. Mike's paper stems from his Invited Tutorial from APS-DPP 2014 and comprises a tutorial on turbulence analysis techniques using a single time series from the WIND satellite in the solar wind. Online versions will be available as soon as they are published.

SSX Buzz Archive