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Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (2013)

Chapter: Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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D

Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics

SUMMARY

Working Group Mission and Challenges

The cross-disciplinary Education and Workforce Working Group assessed the current state of health of the solar and space physics field and provided foundational support and guidance to the survey committee regarding recommendations designed to enhance the community’s efforts in education, to support the necessary workforce needed within solar and space physics, and to contribute to the community’s broader STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education efforts. The assessment was based on the community’s first demographic survey and quantitative determination of the state of health of the solar and space physics community.

One of the largest challenges in this undertaking was that the disciplines constituting solar and space physics are spread among many different academic fields (physics, astronomy, the Earth and space sciences, and several engineering disciplines), making the task of assessing a number of basic quantitative measures challenging because of different standards and norms in the various academic environments.

Quantitative Studies of the Health of the Field

To quantitatively answer these and other questions, the Education and Workforce Working Group undertook a series of studies. These included the following: (1) development of a community-wide database of members and programs to determine the size of the community; (2) development of a community demographic survey with the American Institute of Physics (AIP) to determine the age, gender, type of employer, academic background, and participation levels within various NASA and National Science Foundation (NSF) programs, among other questions; (3) development and implementation of graduate student surveys (both online and within focus groups) to determine their pathways into the field; (4) a Ph.D. survey to determine the number of Ph.D.s graduated each year, from which institution, and within what subdiscipline; (5) a job advertisement study to determine the number of positions advertised each year;

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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and (6) a bibliometric survey of the number of publications in each of the three main subdisciplines (solar and heliospheric, magnetospheric, and ionosphere/thermosphere) in each year over the past decade. This appendix describes each of these studies and provides the results from those that have been completed as well as highlights of some of the other results.

In addition to these studies, the Education and Workforce Working Group received a number of white papers through the decadal survey process and held several town hall meetings and stand-alone working group meetings and teleconferences to receive input and information, including from NASA, NSF, and professional societies (such as the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the American Physical Society). Key findings are summarized here.

FINDINGS OF THE EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE WORKING GROUP

Graduate Students

Professionals in solar and space physics work in diverse settings, including government labs, industry, research centers, and academic institutions (in colleges and departments that go by many different names), which complicates any demographic study of the field. Also, solar and space physics is not currently listed as a dissertation research area within NSF’s Annual Survey of Earned Doctorates.1 This survey influences other rankings, ratings, and demographic surveys done by the National Research Council and AIP.

Graduate students interviewed at Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM)-Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) and Solar and Heliospheric Influences at Earth (SHINE) meetings often cited a childhood interest in space and astronomy that grew through high school and undergraduate physics courses into an interest in trying out astronomy research as an undergraduate. Once exposed to the solar and space physics field, the reasons they cited for finding space physics more attractive than astronomy or cosmology included the following: (1) the domain of physical reality being studied is not so remote and can be accessed by humans; (2) the research content is easier to explain to family and friends; (3) the research has more societal relevance; and (4) there is a more compelling opportunity to constrain theory with in situ data.

Graduate students surveyed about how their graduate program could be better at preparing them cited a desire for more networking, a sense of community, and access to in-depth academic courses that are specific to space physics (e.g., If someone developed a great course on complexity theory and space physics, how could it be more broadly disseminated in the community?). Solar and space physics is most often taught or introduced in summer schools at the graduate level, so opportunities to become aware of the discipline have been more limited at the undergraduate and pre-college levels. This raises the issue of what kinds of activities captured the attention of current students in the field.

Approximately 50 percent of the graduate students surveyed at NSF-supported GEM-CEDAR and SHINE meetings during the summer of 2011 reported an undergraduate research experience in the solar and space physics field (e.g., via the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program). This highlights the importance of such programs for recruiting students in the future. As a consequence, it seems prudent to develop a community of solar and space physics REU and Research Experiences for Teachers sites and programs—to facilitate the sharing of resources, collaboration through distance-learning technologies, training of mentors and program staff regarding issues of diversity, and utilization of existing summer schools—to augment REU programs and enhance the opportunities for attracting a diverse and talented

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1 See National Science Foundation, Survey of Earned Doctorates, available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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graduate student population. The Los Alamos National Laboratory’s post-baccalaureate program,2 which provides recent college graduates the opportunity to explore research experiences within solar and space physics, is another model for recruiting graduate students.

Challenges of Educational Institutions

The studies described in detail below in this appendix show that while the Ph.D. production rate for solar and space physics has increased over the past decade, the number of advertised positions in the field has decreased. Indeed, the number of advertised faculty positions reached a decadal low in the last year surveyed, 2010. Although, historically, many solar and space physics graduates find jobs in areas other than academic research, the trend—an increasing number of students being trained versus a decreasing number of faculty hires to train them—indicates the continued importance of the NSF Faculty Development in Space Science program. This program grew out of a recommendation by the 2003 decadal survey3 and led to the creation of eight tenure-track faculty positions, most of whose awardees have already become tenured. The program is widely viewed, along with CAREER awards, as an exemplary means of sustaining space physics within the university and promoting the science and engineering workforce. In order to increase the reach of this program and the diversity of students exposed to opportunities in solar and space physics, eligibility for these awards could be expanded to include 4-year institutions, not just Ph.D.-granting research universities.

Regardless of whether a student remains in the field, there are skills all students need in order to become successful professionals. These skills include interpersonal and communication skills, career awareness, leadership, grantsmanship, and laboratory management skills. The formal discipline training provided in graduate school does not usually provide adequate mentoring and training opportunities for developing such skills.

NASA ended the 30-year-old NASA Graduate Student Research Program (GSRP) in 2012. Providing a research stipend and a set amount of fees, tuition, and travel, the program supported solar and space physics graduate students working closely with NASA scientists as research mentors. It was cost-effective because universities generally helped to subsidize the cost of tuition and stipend, which the GSRP did not cover fully, thus enabling the NASA research dollar to go further. While another program, NASA’s Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) program, will provide funding for graduate students, there was concern expressed that the formal link between the student and a NASA center will disappear, and there was a strong desire to see NESSF support for solar and space physics maintained at levels as high as those the GSRP historically provided.

Vibrant university-based solar and space physics education and research programs that extensively involve experimental science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students focused on instrument development and space systems are vital to maintaining the health of the field. Hurdles to this include lack of low-cost access to space, long development times for spacecraft missions, funding limitations, and the inhibiting qualities of International Traffic in Arms Regulations.4

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2 See Los Alamos National Laboratory, About the LANL Undergraduate Student Program: Program Overview, available at http://www.lanl.gov/education/undergrad/about.shtml.

3 National Research Council, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003.

4 See Department of State, International Traffic in Arms Regulations, available at http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar_official.html.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Education and Public Outreach and K-12 Issues

Since the time of the 2003 decadal study, the community of NASA-supported, discipline-focused education and public outreach (EPO) professionals (e.g., the Heliophysics Education and Public Outreach Forum5) has grown in size and capacity to connect the scientists, missions, and results of the solar and space physics research community with potent dissemination partners in the world of K-12 education (e.g., science teacher professional societies and teacher networks in physics and Earth science) and informal education (i.e., science centers and planetariums). Scientific professional societies like AGU now host more than 20 education sessions at their meetings, and the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) Division has a very strong EPO committee. Thus EPO professionals have become close and vital allies in the cultivation of a healthy scientific workforce and should be considered members of that workforce in solar and space physics.

Many members of the community felt that NASA and NSF should consider programs and workshops to support the EPO skills and partnership of solar and space physics EPO professionals and solar and space physics researchers. EPO professionals and physics educators are essential members of the solar and space physics workforce who are working collaboratively with scientists to develop the solar and space physics workforce as well as public support and interest in solar and space physics.

Of particular note is the existence of a growing national standards movement that will have an increasing impact in science and mathematics education nationwide. These standards (the Common Core6 and the Next Generation Science Standards7) are being adopted by many states and will guide instruction through the next decade. The NASA Heliophysics Education Forum will play a critical role in providing bridges between the scientific research community and the standards movement.

Background for Findings and Priorities and Description of Research Projects Undertaken by the Education and Workforce Working Group

The cross-discipline Education and Workforce Working Group’s mission as defined by the decadal survey committee was to identify trends, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and to give strategic guidance related to education and workforce issues in solar and space physics. The working group identified four broad themes (workforce, the community, university programs, and K-12 education) around which to organize its findings and conduct surveys. Six studies were initiated by the working group, as detailed in the following sections of this appendix.

COMPILATION OF CURRENT SUMMER SCHOOLS

In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of “summer schools” in which specialized solar and space physics content is taught, with graduate students being the largest (but not only) audience. The summer school established by the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM) has been seen as particularly successful.8Table D.1 is a list of summer schools identified by the Education and Workforce Working Group.

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5 See NASA, SMD EPO Forums, available at http://smdepo.org/node/546.

6 See Common Core State Standards Initiative website, available at http://www.corestandards.org.

7 See Next Generations Science Standards website, available at http://www.nextgenscience.org.

8 R.E. Lopez and N.A. Gross, Active learning for advanced students: The Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling Graduate Summer School, Advances in Space Research 42:1864-1868, doi:10.1016/j.asr.2007.06.056, 2008; S. Simpson, A Sun-to-mud education in two weeks, Space Weather Quarterly 2(7):S07002, doi:10.1029/2004SW000092, 2004.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

TABLE D.1 2011 Summer Schools in Solar and Space Physics

 

Name   Sponsorship Agency, Program   Intended Audience

 

Heliophysics Summer School   NASA, Living With a Star   Career scientists, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and physics undergraduates in astrophysics, geophysics, plasma physics, or space physics.
2011 Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program in Solar and Space Physics   National Science Foundation (NSF)   Current sophomore and junior undergraduates with an interest in solar and space physics.
Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling   NSF   Students who are about to enter, or are in their first year of, graduate school; also for anyone new to space weather who would like to enhance their understanding.
University of Arizona and National Solar Observatory 2008 Solar Physics Summer School   Supported in part by a grant from NSF   Graduate to advanced undergraduates with an intense interest in solar physics, space physics, or related fields.
American Astronomical Society, Solar Physics Division, High Energy Solar Physics   NASA, Living With a Star, Targeted Research and Technology program   Specifically incoming graduate students but also graduate students at any level and recent Ph.D.s.
Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science (PARS)   NSF; University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute   Provides upper-atmosphere/ionosphere instruction and hands-on experimental experience for students and their graduate advisors.
AMISR summer school   NSF; MIT Haystack Observatory   Graduate and advanced undergraduate students, as well as scientists new to the incoherent scatter radar technique.
CEDAR-GEM and SHINE meeting summer schools   NSF   Graduate and advanced undergraduate students.
Los Alamos Space Weather   Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics   Designed for graduate students enrolled in a graduate program in the United States.
Joint Space Weather Summer School   University of Huntsville and German Aerospace Center (DLR)   Graduate and undergraduate students.

 

GRADUATE STUDENT SURVEY

The co-chairs of the working group led the development of a graduate student interview protocol to determine the different pathways that graduate students took into solar and space physics. This effort was inspired by an appeal from graduate students who attended a town hall meeting convened by the decadal survey in early 2011. The protocol was reviewed and revised by working group members and AIP partners, and vetted through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process of both Georgia State University (Morrow) and the University of Michigan (Moldwin). Interviews with graduate students (two or four groups per day, with four to six graduate students per group) attending NSF-supported summer meetings (e.g., CEDAR-GEM, SHINE) were conducted. The group interviews combined individual written responses to a short questionnaire and the oral discussion related to the written responses, which involved all group members. Some highlights of these interviews are included in the findings.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY

The Education and Workforce Working Group, with support from an NSF grant, collaborated with AIP to conduct the first-ever comprehensive demographic study of solar and space physics and related fields. This included scientists who investigate (1) the Sun, (2) the nature of the region of space affected by the Sun, and (3) the response of Earth and the rest of our solar system to this space environment. Such scientists study the predictability of changes in our space environment that can impact life and society on Earth. They also explore ways that investigating the Sun and the space environment can teach us about important physical processes that occur throughout the universe. The names of the disciplinary areas in which these scientists operate include solar physics, heliophysics, space physics, aeronomy, and upper atmospheric physics.

As part of the demographic survey, a database of individuals and their email addresses was compiled. This database drew on four sources: the AGU’s Solar and Space Physics member directory, the APS Division of Solar Physics member directory, the NSF AGS list of research grants and proposals, and the NASA Heliophysics SR&T grant and proposal databases.

The objectives of the survey were to:

1. Establish a baseline of statistical facts about the pipeline in solar, space, and upper atmospheric physics.

2. Identify factors that affect career paths and career development, and in particular determine how people find their way into solar, space, and upper atmospheric physics, and how they are distributed among universities, government labs, and industry.

3. Examine the community’s current perceptions about the health and vitality of the field.

4. Investigate participation in programs and projects run by NSF, NASA, or other funding agencies, and also try to determine what fraction of the community is dependent on “soft money.”

Email announcements describing the survey were sent out to the community on October 6, 2011. These were followed up on October 11, 2011, with an email with the URL for the survey that went to 2,560 unique email addresses (from the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy Section, American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Physics Division (SPD), Space Weather Week attendee lists, and NSF principal investigator lists). There were 1,305 responses (51 percent) of which 1,171 were from individuals working in the areas of solar, space, and upper atmospheric physics and who work and live in the United States. The survey generated 125 pages of single-spaced responses to a number of open-ended questions, such as respondent comments concerning factors leading to career success and barriers to success. Some highlights from the survey are presented here.

Of the respondents, 83 percent were men and 17 percent women. Most were white (81 percent), while 13 percent were Asian or Asian American, with 6 percent other. The median age of the respondents was 51 years, with a symmetric distribution (the middle 50 percent were between 40 and 62 years old). Physics was by far the most common undergraduate degree (62 percent). For those earning their Ph.D.s in 1999 or earlier, physics was the most common degree field (40 percent), while the most common degree for those receiving Ph.D.s since 2000 is space physics (36 percent, with physics having dropped to 27 percent). Almost three-quarters of graduate student support and two-thirds of undergraduate student research support are from NASA or NSF.

The number of women in solar and space physics is greater than for physics, but women and (especially) minorities remain underrepresented, with African Americans and Hispanics constituting only 3 percent of the community. This disparity highlights the need for more efforts to increase diversity in solar and space physics. The activities of CISM have shown that focusing on diversity can result in significantly

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

improved recruitment from historically underrepresented groups,9 so solar and space physics as a community could benefit from programs that specifically target enhancing diversity within solar and space physics, such as the NSF Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences program.10

Nearly three-quarters of recent Ph.D. recipients (receiving their degree since 2000) participated in some form of undergraduate research. About half of the respondents reported that they were involved at some level in K-12 education and/or public outreach. This highlights the importance of education and public outreach and the role that the Heliophysics Education and Public Outreach Forum plays in connecting the scientific community with education resources.

The survey asked a number of Likert-scale questions, giving respondents the opportunity to elaborate on their answers—two of which are highlighted here. One question asked if they strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, or “don’t know” regarding the following statement: “The next generation of scientific leadership is emerging in my field, and I am confident that they will be able to answer the scientific questions of the next decade.” Two-thirds of the respondents agreed or agreed strongly with the statement, while one-quarter disagreed or disagreed strongly. The open-ended comments were generally optimistic about the abilities of the next generation but pessimistic about reduction in funding and NASA missions. Another question asked, “What have been the barriers to your career up until this point?” and the responses were divided between men and women. More than 31 percent (48 of 154) of the written responses from women indicated some form of gender discrimination or lack of family-friendly policies as barriers.

PH.D. PRODUCTION IN SOLAR AND SPACE PHYSICS

To assess the state of health of the field of solar and space physics and the discipline areas it comprises, an analysis of the number of Ph.D.s produced each year was done for the decade 2001-2010. The University of Michigan Ph.D. Dissertation Archive (Proquest) was queried for solar and space physics dissertations. The discipline areas generated between 30 to 40 Ph.D.s per year from 2001 to 2006 but then saw the number increase to 56 to 71 per year for the rest of the decade. Most of the increase was due to the doubling of ionosphere-thermosphere-meosphere (ITM) Ph.D.s (from an annual average of 12.4 Ph.D.s in the first half of the decade to 24.4) and solar Ph.D.s (from an average of 5.6 to 13). Magnetospheric Ph.D.s also increased, but by a smaller number (from an annual average of 12 to 16.5).

The Proquest dissertation database was queried for dissertations published between 2001 and 2010 for Ph.D.s in the broad field of solar and space physics. The keywords used to identify dissertations were the following: space physics, solar physics, magnetosphere, ionosphere, thermosphere, aurora, auroral, aurorae, heliosphere, space weather, aeronomy, solar corona, solar wind, solar chromosphere, helioseismology, solar flare, and solar active region. These terms were looked for in the dissertation keywords, title, and abstract. Once identified, the dissertation titles and/or abstracts were then analyzed to eliminate dissertations more focused on astrophysics, space engineering, or other nonrelated disciplines (like medicine). Only Ph.D. dissertations were included. The Proquest database contains most of the dissertations produced in the United States and Canada, but only a few from other universities around the world; therefore, the results include only dissertations produced in North America. The dissertations were divided

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9 D.E Chubin, E. Derrick, I. Feller, and P. Phartiyal, AAAS Review of the NSF Science and Technology Centers Integrative Partnerships (STC) Program, 2000-2009, Final Report, December 17, 2010, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., 2010.

10 See National Science Foundation, Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG), available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12726.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

into five subdisciplines (solar, heliosphere, magnetosphere, ionosphere/thermosphere/upper atmospheric electricity, and space plasmas).

A total of 475 Ph.D.s were identified. Figure D.1 shows the solar and space physics Ph.D. production as a function of year. Note the significant increase in Ph.D. production in 2007 that persisted through 2010. Figure D.2 shows the Ph.D. production as a function of year for each of the five subdisciplines. The increase in Ph.D. production in the second half of the decade is primarily due to ITM and, to a lesser extent, solar Ph.D.s.

The 475 Ph.D.s were produced at 76 different institutions. The top 10 institutions produced 238 (or 50 percent) of the total. Thirty of the 76 institutions produced only 1 solar and space physics Ph.D. during the decade. Table D.2 shows the top universities for solar and space physics production (all universities that averaged at least 1 Ph.D. per year). It should be noted that most of these universities have multiple departments that produce Ph.D.s in multiple subdisciplines. The overal trend of increasing Ph.D. production in the latter half of the decade is mirrored in these top departments (data not shown). It is difficult to assess the state of health of individual departments using one decade’s worth of Ph.D.-production numbers because, even in the top Ph.D.-producing departments, the year-to-year fluctuation was large and the average time to Ph.D. is 5 to 6 years.

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FIGURE D.1 U.S. and Canadian Ph.D.s in solar and space physics produced in the past decade. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

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FIGURE D.2 Ph.D. production as a function of year in each of the five subdisciplines of solar and space physics. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES STUDY

To assess the state of health of the field of solar and space physics, an analysis of the number of job postings produced each year was done for the decade 2001-2010. A compilation of the job advertisements listed in the AAS’s SPD and the AGU’s SPA electronic newsletters was done for the period 2001 to 2010. The positions were sorted into four types (faculty, postdoctoral researcher, scientist, and staff), institution type (academic, government laboratory, or industry), and whether the position was located inside or outside the United States. The scientist position includes any non-faculty or postdoctoral position that required a Ph.D. and included civil service and soft-money research positions. Support staff positions, such as an observatory telescope operator or computer programmer, often did not require a Ph.D. One finding from the job advertisement survey was that there was very little (about 20 percent) overlap in the job postings (i.e., jobs advertised in the SPD newsletter were generally not advertised in the SPA newsletter, and vice versa), indicating that the communities are distinct. However, this was not true for faculty advertisements. Most faculty positions were advertised in both the SPD and SPA newsletters. Worldwide, 949 solar and space physics positions were advertised over the decade, with 52 percent of the jobs located outside the United States.

Figure D.3 shows unique positions advertised for the United States (SPD + SPA) over the decade by job type (faculty, scientist, and postdoctoral researcher). Jobs advertised in both SPA and SPD were not double counted. A disconcerting trend is a decline in job advertisements in 2010 for all types of positions. The total number advertised for each type in 2010 was the lowest number in the decade. For both com-

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

TABLE D.2 Top Solar and Space Physics Ph.D. Producing Departments in the United States and Canada

 

Institution   Number of Total Ph.D.s, 2001-2010

 

University of Colorado, Boulder   37
University of California, Los Angeles   34
University of Michigan   31
Stanford University   27
Rice University   25
Utah State University   22
Boston University   18
University of New Hampshire   16
University of Washington   14
Dartmouth College   14
Cornell University   14
New Jersey Institute of Technology   13
University of Texas, Dallas   11
University of California, Berkeley   11
University of Maryland   10
University of Alaska, Fairbanks   10

 

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FIGURE D.3 Number of advertised positions in solar and space physics. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

munities within the United States, the total job advertisements reached their lowest levels in the decade (14), approximately half the decadal average number of job advertisements.

Figure D.4 shows the number of U.S. faculty jobs advertised in SPD and SPA and the total number of non-duplicative faculty advertisements. Note that most, if not all, faculty jobs advertised in SPD were advertised in SPA. Significant year-to-year variation is seen. Figure D.5 shows the total number of unique faculty jobs advertised worldwide in solar and space physics. The average for the decade is about 18 per year.

Figures D.6 and D.7 are similar to Figures D.4 and D.5, except for postdoctoral positions. Note that there are more unique field-specific postdoctoral positions that are advertised only in SPA or SPD, compared to faculty positions. Note the negative trend of postdoctoral positions as well as the imbalance since 2008 in the total number of worldwide postdoctoral position advertisements and the total number of U.S. and Canadian Ph.D.s produced (shown in Figure D.1). Also note that the majority of postdoctoral position advertisements are from non-U.S. institutions. The number of postdoctoral positions advertised in any given year does not count the large number of postdoctoral positions that are filled in the community without advertising. Figure D.8 shows the worldwide total of scientist/researcher positions (consisting of civil service, leadership, and soft-money positions). Again, the 2010 numbers are significantly less than the average during the decade.

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FIGURE D.4 Number of advertised U.S. faculty positions in solar and space physics. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

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FIGURE D.5 Number of advertised faculty positions in solar and space physics, worldwide. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

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FIGURE D.6 Number of advertised U.S. postdoctoral positions in solar and space physics. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

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FIGURE D.7 Number of advertised postdoctoral positions in solar and space physics, worldwide. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

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FIGURE D.8 Number of advertised scientist positions in solar and space physics, worldwide. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
×

BIBLIOMETRIC SURVEY

A bibliometric survey of the fields of solar and space physics was conducted to provide a measure of the health of the field. Using the Thomsen-ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) Web of Science bibliometric database, the number of publications in the three broad areas of solar and space physics (solar and heliospheric physics, magnetospheric physics, and upper atmosphere and ionospheric physics) were examined for the period 2001 to 2009. The results shown in Figure D.9 indicate that the fields have experienced significant growth over the decade, with productivity increasing overall in the latter half of the decade. The share of U.S. publications relative to the rest of the world over this time interval has remained constant, with about 50 percent of the total papers published by U.S. investigators. The subdiscipline with the most variability year-to-year is magnetospheric physics, and it shows a 7 percent decline from 2008 to 2009.

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FIGURE D.9 Number of papers published in solar and space physics, worldwide. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, for the Education and Workforce Working Group of the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics).

 

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Page 354
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Education and Workforce Issues in Solar and Space Physics." National Research Council. 2013. Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13060.
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From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun's influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics--the disciplines NASA refers to as heliophysics--have yielded spectacular insights into the phenomena that affect our home in space.

Solar and Space Physics, from the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee for a Decadal Strategy in Solar and Space Physics, is the second NRC decadal survey in heliophysics. Building on the research accomplishments realized during the past decade, the report presents a program of basic and applied research for the period 2013-2022 that will improve scientific understanding of the mechanisms that drive the Sun's activity and the fundamental physical processes underlying near-Earth plasma dynamics, determine the physical interactions of Earth's atmospheric layers in the context of the connected Sun-Earth system, and enhance greatly the capability to provide realistic and specific forecasts of Earth's space environment that will better serve the needs of society.

Although the recommended program is directed primarily at NASA and the National Science Foundation for action, the report also recommends actions by other federal agencies, especially the parts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charged with the day-to-day (operational) forecast of space weather. In addition to the recommendations included in this summary, related recommendations are presented in this report.

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