Meeting Information

Our Dynamic Sun

November 20, 2013
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Date: Wednesday, 20 November, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Holly Gilbert, Chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory, Heliophysics Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Topic: Our Dynamic Sun

Time and Location: 1:00 pm, with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD — off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Our closest star has been an object of mystery and inspiration for millennium, but over the last 50+ years, solar scientists have made great strides in understanding the inner workings of what makes the Sun tick. The layers of the solar atmosphere lead to dynamic behavior and act as the birthplace of space weather. NASA has a fleet of spacecraft dedicated to studying the Sun and its domain- the heliosphere, including its effects on Earth. I will take you on a journey through the Sun’s varying moods, focusing on coronal mass ejections and associated activity, and discuss the implications for Earth in the past, present, and future.

Biography: Dr. Holly Gilbert is Chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She obtained a BS in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her PhD in theoretical astrophysics from the University of Oslo in Norway. Prior to joining NASA, Dr. Gilbert was a Research Scientist at Rice University and an Associate Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

As a solar physicist for over 13 years, Dr. Gilbert has extensive experience studying the solar atmosphere and phenomena associated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs), such as prominences and global waves. In her research she has utilized used both ground- and space based data to gain a better understanding of solar dynamical processes. An ongoing primary focus of her research is determining the nature of prominence support, formation, and evolution and how this relates to CMEs. Her research in this area will lead to a greater understanding of the magnetic environment that controls solar eruptions (sometimes referred to as solar storms ).

Dr.Gilbert’s previous role at NASA (Associate Director for Science) involved managing the education and outreach activities of the Heliophysics Science Division. Dr. Gilbert also has extensive experience with the media, including appearances on documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, NOVA, and National Geographic Channel. Her commitment to education and outreach was recognized by the dedication of the Dr. Holly Gilbert Solar Telescope at St. George Observatory in Schriever, LA in 2007.