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Guest Name
Ramon Lopez
Guest Occupation
B.S. Degree in Physics, M.S. and Ph.D. in Space Physics, Professor, Adjunct Researcher, School District Consultant, Author
Guest Biography

Ramon E. Lopez received his B.S. in Physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Space Physics in 1984 and 1986, respectively, from Rice University. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Lopez is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His awards include the 2002 APS Nicholson Medal, the 2010 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2012 APS Edward A. Bouchet Award, and two NASA Group Achievement Awards. Dr. Lopez leads a research group that is working in both space physics and science education.

Dr. Lopez's space physics research interests are primarily in magnetospheric physics and space weather, as well as solar wind variations and what it tells us about solar activity. Topics of study include solar wind-magnetosphere coupling, magnetic storms and substorms, auroral dynamics and structure, current systems, particle energization, and space weather. The group is part of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM), a Science and Technology Center funded by the NSF for which Dr. Lopez is a Co-PI and Co-Director for Diversity.  CISM research centers on detailed comparisons between observations (space- and ground-based) and the results of 3-D MHD simulations of the magnetosphere as a means of validating models for space weather prediction.  Other research focuses on solar wind-magnetosphere coupling during periods of large values of the interplanetary magnetic field. This work is supported by NASA and the NSF. The current activites of the research group may be found here.

Dr. Lopez's physics education research interests are primarily in issues related to spatial intelligence and visual cognition. Dr. Lopez is an Adjunct Researcher with the Spatial Intelligence Learning Center. In addition, he is one of the Co-Directors for UTeach Arlington. In 2003, he was elected Vice Chair of the APS Forum on Education and served as Chair in 2005. Dr. Lopez has also served various education-related committees of the AGU (American Geophysical Union) and the APS, and as a member of the Board of Directors of SACNAS. In the Fall of 2003, he was co-organizner of the Introductory Calculus-Based Physics Course Conference, sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Dr. Lopez is active in K-12 science education as well. He has served as a consultant for a number of school districts around the country, as well as other organizations, particularly the National Science Resources Center. He has been a consultant to the Texas Department of Education for physics content in the STAAR end-of-course physics exam. He worked on the College Board Standards for College Success, coauthoring the physical science standards, and he was one of the authors for the 3rd edition of Active Physics. He is current one of the leaders of the team developing the Next Generation Science Standards.

Dr. Lopez is also the co-author of a popular book on space weather entitled "Storms from the Sun", published by Joseph Henry Press, the tradebook arm of the National Academy Press. This book is now available as a free PDF directly from the National Academy Press.