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Fran Bagenal

Planetary Space Physicist


MIT — Cambridge, MA
PhD, Earth & Planetary Sciences


Fran Bagenal studies the magnetic fields of planets, the interactions of plasmas with atmospheres, and magnetospheric processes. She has worked with plasma data from a variety of space missions, starting with the Voyager mission to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. She was on the science teams of the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Deep Space 1 mission to Comet Borrelly. She edited Jupiter: Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere (Cambridge University Press, 2004). She heads the plasma teams on the first two New Frontiers missions: New Horizons mission to Pluto (launched January 2006, due to arrive at Pluto in July 2015) and Juno, a Jupiter polar orbiter (launched 2011, due to arrive at Jupiter in 2016).


New Horizons mission to Pluto, Juno mission to Jupiter.



Recent papers (out of total of 111 published since 1977)

Diverse Plasma Populations and Structures in Jupiter’s Magnetotail, McComas, D. J.; Allegrini, F.; Bagenal, F.; Crary, F.; Ebert, R. W.; Elliott, H.; Stern, A.; Valek, P., Science, 318, 217, 2007.
Jupiter: A fundamentally different magnetospheric interaction with the solar wind, McComas, D. J.; Bagenal, F., Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L20106, 2007
Current-Voltage Relation of a Centrifugally Confined Plasma, L. C. Ray, Y. -J. Su, R. E. Ergun, P. A. Delamere, and F. Bagenal, J. Geophys. Res., 114, A04214, 2009
Generation of Parallel Electric Fields in the Jupiter-Io Torus Wake Region, R. E. Ergun, L. Ray, P. A. Delamere, F. Bagenal, V. Dols, Y.-J. Su, J. Geophys. Res., 114, A05201, 2009
Comparative Planetary Environments, F. Bagenal, in Heliophysics: Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos, C.J. Schrijver, G.L. Siscoe (eds), Cambridge University Press, pp 360-398, 2009
Effect of Field-Aligned Potentials on Angular Momentum Transfer [...]

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Member of the American Astronomical Society and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Honors and awards

2010 Boulder Faculty Assembly’s Excellence in Research Award
2006 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
Nine NASA Group Achievement Awards for contributions to the Voyager, Galileo, Deep Space 1 and New Horizons missions.
2000, 2003 President's Faculty Excellence Award for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Technology, University of Colorado, Boulder


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