Monday, December 14, 2020

A University of Iowa physicist won funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to progress her academic, research, and teaching career.

Allison Jaynes
Allison Jaynes

Allison Jaynes, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, won an NSF CAREER award. She will receive $682,000 over five years to investigate an atmospheric phenomenon known as pulsating aurora and how these auroras tie in with the Van Allen radiation belts that encircle Earth. The Van Allen belts are named after longtime distinguished UI physicist James Van Allen, who first discovered them in 1958.

The award “ensures that a deep and thoughtful approach can be taken to this specific science question, resulting in a comprehensive set of results and discoveries,” Jaynes says.

Jaynes’ award will support a full-time physics graduate student at Iowa, and partially supports a faculty member and student in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science to assist with the research. She also plans to stage a one-day camp over multiple years for local high-school students who identify as part of an underrepresented group, as well as support a network of Iowa physics students who will travel to nearby community colleges and institutions serving underrepresented groups to engage students in science.

The NSF CAREER award “emphasizes the importance the Foundation places on the early development of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching, enthusiastic learning, and disseminating new knowledge,” according to the NSF.