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Chadi Salem

Project ScientistUniversity of California at BerkeleySpace Sciences Laboratory
Work Phone: ‘+1-510-643-2249
Photo of Chadi Salem


I am currently a Scientist/Physicist at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) of the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley). I have been at SSL since 2001. I am also the acting Associate Director of the Solar Heliospheric Group since February 1st 2021.  

I earned a Bachelor (french DEUG and License) in Physics in 1994 and a Masters in Physics in 1996 from the University of Paris VII Denis Diderot. I continued on with a PhD at the LESIA (Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique) — previously DESPA — of the Paris Observatory in Meudon between 1996 and 2000.  I received my PhD in Astrophysics and Space Techniques from the University of Paris VII Denis Diderot in December 2000. Right after that, I moved to California to start a postdoc at SSL in February 2001 through the summer of 2003. I have been a long-term research member of SSL since then, first as an Assistant Research Scientist and currently as a Project Scientist.


Research Interests:

I am interested in problems of plasma astrophysics, from the experimental/observational point of view, with a particular focus on the solar wind and solar coronal plasma. The solar wind, emanating from the hot solar corona, is a weakly collisional, strongly turbulent plasma undergoing supersonic and super-Alfvenic spherical expansion, inside which space experiments have furnished the scientific community with a wealth of data (electromagnetic fields, particle distribution functions and associated moments) at a resolution which is not available in any terrestrial laboratory. This makes the solar wind a unique environment in which to study MHD and kinetic turbulence as well as fundamental plasma processes in astrophysical plasmas.

More specifically, my interests include solar wind turbulence at both MHD and kinetic levels and kinetic, dissipative plasma processes such as structures, waves, wave-particle interactions, instabilities and ion/electron thermal noise. A significant part of my work is also dedicated to solar wind electron microphysics, in order to understand electron energy and heat transport phenomena in the heliosphere. 

My expertise in these topics, based on 22+ years of experience, is based on the analysis of data from several space physics missions: Wind, Ulysses, STEREO, Cluster, Helios 1 & 2, THEMIS, ARTEMIS, and from the recent Parker Solar Probe. It has been developed with the thorough understanding of fields, plasma wave and particle instrumentation, spacecraft charging effects, the analysis and calibration/cross-calibration of spacecraft data, and the instrumental effects on the data itself. This is crucial to any quantitative theoretical interpretation of the measurements.

I started in this field as a graduate student at the LESIA of the Paris Observatory in Meudon (South West of Paris), and brought my research topics with me to SSL and continued my research work throughout my postdoc and beyond.  My research work is supported by various NASA and NSF grants, and benefits from several national and international collaborations on the above-mentioned topics and projects.