Lisa Upton, A Scientific Dynamo!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lisa is a Visiting Scientist at HAO and also is currently working for Space Systems Research Corporation. In the spring of 2017, Lisa will begin a NSF postdoctoral fellowship at HAO, working as a collaborator with the dynamo group. Lisa's current research goals are aimed at understanding the solar dynamo, solar cycle variability, and the impact on the Sun-Earth environment. In particular her interests lie in observing and modeling magnetic flux transport. In the future, Lisa hopes to advance Sun-Earth system research by bridging the solar interior and the solar atmosphere with AFT. She also hopes to use AFT as a tool to improve Space Weather and Space Climate predictions.

Lisa Upton image
Lisa Upton

As an undergraduate, Lisa Upton was awarded an Akamai REU Internship at the Keck Observatories’ Center for Adaptive Optics in Waimea, HI. When she returned to the mainland in 2006, she began working for Joan Schmeltz as a research assistant in the University of Memphis Solar Lab. In 2008, Lisa received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Physics and in 2010 she received her M.S. degree in Physics from UM.

While she was working towards her Masters, Lisa had an internship at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, where she began working with Dr. David Hathaway using feature tracking to measure the axisymmetric flows on the surface of the Sun. This fruitful collaboration resulted in a paper in Science and after completing her Masters, Lisa relocated to Huntsville to continue her work with Hathaway. In 2012, Lisa received her 2nd Masters in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and was hired on as a Research Associate.

In 2013, she transferred to Vanderbilt University while continuing her work with Dr. Hathaway in Huntsville. In May of 2014, she received her Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University. For her PhD dissertation (Characterizing and Modeling Magnetic Flux Transport in the Sun’s Photosphere and Determining Its Impact on the Sunspot Cycle), Lisa developed (along with David Hathaway) a cutting edge Surface Flux Transport model, the Advective Flux Transport (AFT). She used the AFT model to investigate the importance of high latitude meridional flow variations in modulating the solar cycle as well as the ability of AFT to produce solar cycle predictions. Lisa relocated to Colorado in September 2014.