The Lawrence Hall of Science
The public science center of the University of California, Berkeley.
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Closed December 24 & 25
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The Sun is an essential source light, energy and warmth required to sustain life on Earth. However, in a modern world reliant on large-scale power grids and increasingly important space-based technology, solar activity can potentially wreak havoc on our global infrastructure. The Sun continuously ejects huge amounts of highly energetic, electrically charged particles into space, known as the ‘solar wind’. When the solar wind reaches Earth, it interacts with our planet’s geomagnetic field in extremely complex ways, posing a danger to technological infrastructure such as satellites, power grids and communications. We call this phenomenon ‘Space Weather’.
This talk will guide you through the origins and journey of the Solar Wind from the Sun to the Earth, describing some of these complex interactions and why they are so concerning for us here on Earth. Finally, what are scientists, such as those at UC Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory, doing to help understand, predict, and mitigate the effects of space weather?
Dr. Sam Walton
Sam completed his studies in the United Kingdom, Graduating with a Master’s degree in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester in 2018, before going on to obtain a PhD in the Space Sciences at University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, in August 2022. Sam’s research centers around understanding the Van Allen radiation belts, a highly dynamic, doughnut-shaped band of extremely energetic electrons surrounding the Earth, and a key piece of the 'space weather’ puzzle. Sam is now doing his research at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley as a postdoctoral scholar.
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