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Rick Wilder

Research Scientist - Space Plasma


  • 303-735-7192
  • Office: SPSC-N279


I am a Research Scientist at LASP. My main research interests include magnetic field topology, large-scale field-aligned current systems (FACs), and magnetic reconnection.

I received my Ph.D. in 2011 from Virginia Tech, where I worked on SuperDARN radar and ground magnetometer data under the supervision of Dr. Robert Clauer. I moved to Boulder shortly thereafter, where I collaborated with Atmospheric and Space Technology Research associates, LLC, on Assimilative Mapping of Ionospheric Electrodynamics (AMIE) algorithm, and ingesting magnetometer data from the AMPERE mission in particular. I also performed studies using their ground-based GPS and HF Doppler ionospheric sounder instruments.

I currently am working on the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) mission's Burst Data and Scientist In The Loop program. In particular, we are working on methods of identifying reconnection diffusion region candidates using a minimal amount of data. I am also working with data from the Cluster and AMPERE missions in conjunction with MHD simulations to understand the coupling between the magnetosheath-magnetopause interaction and the associated ionospheric current system.


Virginia Tech — Blacksburg, VA
Ph.D. Electrical Engineering and Space Science, 2011

Virginia Tech — Blacksburg, VA
B.S. Electrical Engineering, 2005


Research Interests and Skills Include: Magnetospheric Physics, Magnetic Field Topology, Magnetic Reconnection, Polar Cap Phenomena, The Bow Shock and Magnetosheath, Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling, Radar Observations (Coherent and Incoherent Scatter), Data Analysis, and Numerical Modeling


MMS Scientist in the Loop and Burst Management

Magnetic Reconnection Under Non-Southward IMF

Large-scale current systems on open field lines.


Kissinger, J., F. D. Wilder, R. L. McPherron, T.-S. Hsu, J. B. H. Baker, and L. Kepko (2013), Statistical occurrence and dynamics of the Harang discontinuity during steady magnetospheric convection, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118, 5127–5135, doi:10.1002/jgra.50503.

Wilder, F. D., S. Eriksson, and M. Wiltberger (2013), Investigation of the interhemispheric asymmetry in reverse convection near solstice during northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions using MHD simulations, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118, 4289–4297, doi:10.1002/jgra.50421.

F. D. Wilder, S. Eriksson, H. Korth, J. B. H. Baker, M. R. Hairston, C. Heinselman, and B. J. Anderson, Field-aligned current reconfiguration and magnetospheric response to an impulse in the interplanetary magnetic field By component, Geophys. Res. Lett., Accepted for publication, doi:10.1002/grl.50505, 2013

Ngwira, C., A. Pulkkinen, F. D. Wilder, and G. Crowley, Extended study of extreme geoelectric field event scenarios [...]

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American Geophysical Union, Sigma Xi Research Society, Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society

Honors and awards

National Science Foundation Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (AGS-PRF), 2012-2014
Honorable Mention, Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011
Inducted into the Sigma Xi Research Society, 2011
Best Student Tutorial Award, GEM Summer Workshop, 2009
Inducted into the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society, 2004