Dana Longcope is a solar physicist known for his work on MHD models of the structure and energetics of the coronal magnetic field and of the emergence of magnetic field from the solar interior. He is a professor of Physics and Head of the Physics Department at Montana State University in Bozeman. Longcope was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Northborough, Massachusetts. He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover in 1982 and earned his BS and PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 1986 and 1993 respectively. He did postdoctoral research at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University and at the Space Science Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley. He was a Miller Fellow at the UC Berkeley and joined the MSU Physics in 1996. He has served as chair and vice-chair of the Solar Physics Division of the AAS, and has served on the NRC Committee for Solar and Space Physics and the AURA Board of Directors. He was co-director of NASA’s Heliophysics Summer School for nine years. Longcope was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2000 and the 2021 Arctowski Medal from the NAS.

Research Interests

Dana Longcope is a plasma physicist studying the dynamics of magnetized plasmas in the interior and atmosphere of the Sun. Longcope has used analytical and computational methods to study the generation and emergence of magnetic fields from the Sun's interior, and developed a model to explain the correlation between internal twist and orientation observed in sunspot groups. He has studied the creation and maintenance of the hot solar corona through magnetic energy dissipation at topological boundaries called magnetic separators. He has developed techniques to quantify the magnetic reconnection during the emergence of active regions and to relate the reconnection to observed energy release. Longcope developed a systematic method of identifying and characterizing those topological boundaries and the energy stored by current that accumulates at them. Longcope has studied the storage of magnetic energy and its sudden release through magnetic reconnection, resulting in solar flares. He formulated a method of doing realistic simulations of emission from coronal plasma as the magnetic field retracts following reconnection in a solar flare.

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Primary Section

Section 16: Geophysics

Secondary Section

Section 12: Astronomy