MAE Welcomes Dr. Petersen

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department welcomes Dr. Alicia Petersen!

Dr. Alicia Petersen is coming from the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, where she has been a Space Physics Research Fellow for the National Research Council. Through data analysis, instrumentation and modeling, Dr. Petersen researches the kinetic physics, magnetism and dynamics at play during the transit and interaction of space weather phenomena in the inner solar system, their impacts on spacecraft, and strategies for mitigating the impacts of space weather.

She earned her PhD & MS in Space Physics, Engineering and Scientific Computing from the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Petersen spent two years studying particle physics and German while abroad in Erlangen, Germany and doing research at the Remeis-Sternwarte Observatory in Bamberg, Germany. She earned her undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Space weather events have damaging effects on spacecraft, communications, GPS, air transportation, and power systems. Space weather is caused by phenomena which originate at the Sun and propagate through the inner solar system before reaching Earth. Dr. Petersen’s lab, SWIFT (Space Weather Impacts, Forecasting and Transit) at MAE will be doing computational modeling of the Sun’s magnetic field and solar electrons in the inner solar system, designing/building instrumentation for monitoring space weather and using in situ space-based observations of solar particles to investigate the propagation and interactions of space weather.

Dr. Petersen is excited to move to Gainesville with her husband, Dr. Christopher “Chrispy” Petersen and their son, Leo, (named after the constellation, not the orbit.) In her free time, Dr. Petersen enjoys a variety of crafting activities, such as sewing, mixed media art and knitting. She also enjoys archery, rapier, hiking and spending evenings playing strategic tabletop board games.

Welcome to the MAE Gator family, Dr. Petersen!