I was born in Colombia, 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 climate change.

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 I expanded 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 cycle.

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 Street Journal.


Outside of Science

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 themselves.