My main scientific interests are in problems of plasma astrophysics, especially solar and heliospheric physics, from an observational and experimental point of view. Studying the Sun and the heliosphere has an essential advantage over studying other astrophysical objects in that detailed spatially resolved observations and even in-situ observations can be obtained. Over the past two decades, I have been working on problems of how the solar corona is heated, how magnetic energy is converted, how energetic particles are accelerated and how they escape from acceleration sites into interplanetary space. During this time, I have published more than 160 papers in refereed journals addressing these problems, 32 as a first author.
Most of the recent advances in our understanding of heliophysics have been provided by space instrumentations. It is therefore essential to be closely involved in or to lead future space hardware projects. I have successfully worked to become a leading figure in the planning and designing of space missions. I am Principal Investigator (PI) of the NASA Small Explorer mission RHESSI and of the STIX instrument on ESA’s Solar Orbiter and have been the PI of sounding rocket missions, FOXSI and FOXSI 2.
Currently, I hold a double appointment, shared between the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL), University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). At Berkeley, I have a Senior Fellow position that allows me to maintain my own research group.
Presently my work is divided between:
(1) Management of space hardware projects and associated science exploitation
(2) Planning, lobbying, designing, and managing of future space instrumentation
(3) Data analysis of various remote sensing solar observations
(4) Mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scientists