Tuija Pulkkinen

University of Michigan


Election Year: 2014
Primary Section: 16, Geophysics
Secondary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Biosketch

Tuija Pulkkinen is Professor of Space Science and Technology and Vice President for Research and Innovation at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Prof. Pulkkinen is a recognized space scientist working in the field of magnetospheric plasma physics and solar - terrestrial relationship. She is particularly known for her work on modeling the plasma and electromagnetic environment of the near-Earth space using and developing as well empirical models as plasma simulation methodologies. Pulkkinen grew up in Lappeenranta and studied at the University of Helsinki in Finland with a PhD in theoretical physics (space physics) in 1992. She joined the Finnish Meteorological Institute in 1988 and led the space research group there from 2003 until leaving for Aalto University in 2011, with two extended visits to U. Colorado in Boulder in 1996-1997 and to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2006-2007. Prof. Pulkkinen has held numerous positions in international and national scientific organizations, including presidency of the European Geosciences Union. She is a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Royal Astronomical Society, Academia Europea, and a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Prof. Pulkkinen's main research interests concern the Sun-Earth connection including the entire chain from the Sun through the solar wind, to the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and middle atmosphere. The key question is how energy and plasma are transferred from the solar wind to the magnetosphere and ionosphere, and how they affect the dynamics of the plasma and electromagnetic fields in the near-Earth space. Pulkkinen has addressed these issues through developing empirical models that allow comparisons of spatial and temporal relationships of processes observed in different parts of the magnetosphere - ionosphere system. She and her group have developed methods to quantitatively evaluate the energy entry processes using large-scale plasma simulations and compared the results with in-situ observations from space. With these tools she has identified the key configurational changes that occur prior to and during geomagnetic storms and substorms, and the key role of the solar wind speed in driving the geomagnetic activity. As the dynamic processes generate energetic particle fluxes to the upper atmosphere, these results contribute to understanding the occurrence and dynamics of auroras in the northern and southern polar regions.

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