I was born in
where I did an undergraduate program in Physics (working with Carlos
Ávila and Juan Carlos Sanabria) and one in Electronic Engineering
(working with Mauricio Guerrero) in the Universidad de los Andes.
Subsequently, I came to the United States to do my PhD in Physics in
Montana State University with Piet Martens and Dibyendu Nandy. After my PhD, I became a Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellow
at the Harvard-smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
where I worked
with Ed DeLuca. I'm currently a
Research Associaciate at Montana State University and a visiting
scholar at the University of California - Berkeley.
The main objective of
my research is to understand the solar magnetic cycle and its
connection with solar variability, space climate, and terrestrial
During my PhD I developed a
mean-field kinematic dynamo model, improving upon each of its
ingredients in order to capture better the physical processes involved
in the solar cycle and reduce the amount of free parameters in such
models. For my dissertation work I was awarded the
2011 Fred L. Scarf Award of the Space Physics and Aeronomy
Section of the American Geophysical Union. This award is granted to an
outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to
solar-planetary science. The output of this improved model has been
used (in collaboration NASA artist Tom Bridgman) to make movies for education and outreach of the
solar magnetic cycle.
One of the innovations of the
model is the capability of modeling the eruption sunspots and the decay
of their associated magnetic fields. This allowed my collaborators and
me to study the causes leading to the unusually deep and
long minimum of solar cycle 23 pubished in Nature magazine. This
work has also been
featured by the media, see for example: NASA Science News, ScienceNow, Montana State University, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,
Scientific American, Reuters.
During my Jack Eddy postdoctoral fellowship
the focus of my research to include both modeling and the analysis of
observations. With the help of my collaborators, I have been able
to consolidate a century of observations that can be used to study the
long term evolution of the solar polar fields.
Additionally, working in collaboration with Anthony R. Yeates, we have
developed the first three-dimensional kinematic model of the solar
My position as a Jack Eddy fellow has also
allowed me to interact with the press and help, through interviews, to
diseminate scientific results among the general public. The
content of these interviews has been used in articles by the Smithsonian
Magazine and the Wall
One of my main interests is
music. I’m a flute player and, as part of my flute seminar, I made a
talk on Colombian folk music which I have now presented in several
places around the world: MSU, CfA, and HAO (in USA), and IISER-K and
USO (in India). Due to the lack of content about Colombian music on the
web, I decided to publish a webpage based on such presentation titled A Small Trip through Colombian Music.
Among other things, I’m also
interested in history, cartography and computer gaming. I was very
fortunate to be able to put all of them together as part of the
development team in Magna Mundi – an upcoming computer game
by Universo Virtual and Paradox Interactive. My role was to
assemble a wide array of geophysical data and, in combination with a
team of artists, develop Magna Mundi’s in-game world map.
Unfortunately, the game was cancelled due to conflicts between the
publisher house and our team. However, that didn't detract from
the pleasure of working in this project.
Although not fully
comprehensive, I hope that this small overview of my achievements and
interests has piqued your curiosity. Maybe we have already met (in
which case I’m glad we have), maybe we are yet to meet (in which case I
hope we do); in the end, nothing is more interesting to me than people