The acceleration of charged particles by natural processes is the principal theme of the majority of my research efforts. This is intrinsically interesting because Nature finds ways to select particular subsets of the at-large population of charged particles to endow with more energy. These energized particles then carry information about the energization process away, perhaps to a distant observer. They transport energy away from an energy-rich region and re-distribute it elsewhere with interesting effects. These phenomena spawn several easily stated questions:
I have worked together with students and other colleagues to explore some specific instances of this general problem. Where possible, our procedure to answer these questions has been to first obtain direct measurements using instrumentation that we design, build, test, calibrate, and then deploy on balloon, rocket, or spacecraft platforms. When information flows back to us, we wrest answers and further questions from it.
Link to ESS472 (High Altitude Research)