Brian Welsch's Homepage

Brian Welsch

Professional Background:

I work at the Space Sciences Laboratory (a.k.a. SSL) of the University of California at Berkeley. My Google scholar page links to many of my publications, and my current curriculum vitae outlines my professional background; this page is more human. When I first arrived at SSL, I worked on the Solar MURI project, which aimed to predict CMEs and their effects on the near-Earth space environment. While the MURI project has concluded, I still focus on Space Weather.

Photo credit: Courtesy NASA/TRACE.
TRACE Full Sun Image, Courtesy NASA/TRACE. Q. Why study the Sun?

A. It's neat! Here, a picture (right) is worth a thousand words.

(You might also check out the latest pictures of the Sun in different wavelengths, a striking juxtaposition of different data.)

My current areas of research include magnetohydrodynamics, magnetic field topology & magnetic helicity. Some recent papers and presentations are on-line.

In Feb. 2002, I earned my Ph.D. after working with MSU's Solar Physics Group. My thesis advisor, Professor Dana Longcope, and I studied the topological properties of solar magnetic field configurations. My Ph.D. thesis dealt with the flux of magnetic helicity in the quiet sun.

I've run SSL's Solar Lunches, a journal club, off and on for a few years. In addition, I've been slowly compiling a few pages of useful solar pages, including some images and factoids.

Teaching & Outreach Experience:
Over the summer of 1999 I taught intro astronomy for non-science majors at MSU, Phys 101: Mysteries of the Sky. In the summer of 2001, I taught a calculus-based electricity & magnetism (E & M) course for engineering students at Montana Tech. For about six years, I volunteered an hour or more per week in MSU's Physics Learning Center, providing free tutoring in physics. For a few years, I answered some of the solar physics questions submitted to Ask Dr. SOHO. More recently, I volunteered as a tutor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison from 2003 - 2006. In spring 2012, I taught a calc-based intro to thermo and E & M course at UC Berkeley to about 200 first- and second-year engineering students.

"Institutional History:"
B.S. in Physics, with Minor in Philosophy, 1994, College of William & Mary , Williamsburg, VA.
M.S. in Physics, 1998, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.
Ph.D. in Physics, 2002, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

Brian's Head

Personal Interests: I keep myself busy, and am usually off on some escapade, or planning to be soon. Here are some random pics.

Nearly every day I exercise in some way: I enjoy running, swimming, and biking. In '98, I ran the Calgary Stampede Runoff marathon. From 2003 - 2005, I ran the San Francisco marathon (in '03 under the nom de race Bill Abbett, a co-worker who registered but couldn't make the race). In September, 2004, I ran the Ben Nevis race in Scotland, which was a blast -- I'd love to do it again.

I love the outdoors: I backpack, rock climb, road & mountain bike, and ski --- cross-country, telemark, & downhill.

Glacier National Park is a favorite destination.

I joined the forces of CHAOS a while back; they're a fun crowd and a constant source of adventure. 1 2 3 4

CDT Looking South, 
July '97
Here's the view of the Continental Divide Trail in Glacier, looking south from Cut Bank Pass towards Dawson Pass. Flinsch Peak is to the left, and the Nyack & Coal Creek drainages are to the right.

I also enjoy going to movies; I rarely dislike any that score at or above 90% on The Tomato Meter.

Some www links: For a quick laugh, I hit the Borowitz report occasionally. I'm a Krugman junkie. Cool pics from astrophysics can be found at the Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive. And, last but not least, a link to what is perhaps the best picture ever.

  • E-mail: welsch-at-ssl-dot-berkeley-dot-edu

  • Phone:
    C - (510) 612 - 0879
    O - (510) 642 - 9650

    Background tiles: Contrast-reduced, artificial-color image of solar granulation observed with the Dunn Solar Telescope.