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Publications in VIVO

Brown, Benjamin P Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Brown's research focuses on astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) of stellar interiors. Brown explores stellar dynamo physics by studying the coupling of rotation, convection and magnetism through numerical simulations on massively-parallel supercomputers. This research is conducted using the Rayleigh code and the open-source Dedalus pseudospectral framework, along with the MESA stellar structure code. Brown's research focuses especially on global-scale dynamo action and the properties of convection, studying how large-scale fields can be built in the convection zone of a star. Further research is exploring how such dynamos couple to the stably-stratified radiative interior through tachoclines of shear and penetrative convection, and has lead to improved treatments of gravity waves within anelastic and other low-mach number models. Results from these dynamo models are being connected with astrophysical observations and laboratory based dynamo experiments.


  • magnetohydrodynamics, dynamo physics, compressible convection


selected publications


courses taught

  • ASTR 1000 - The Solar System
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Introduction to the night sky, planets, moons and the life in our solar system. Highlights the latest discoveries from space. For non-science majors. Some lectures may be held at Fiske Planetarium. Offers opportunities for nighttime observations at Sommers-Bausch Observatory. Similar to ASTR 1010, but without lab. Degree credit not granted for this course and ASTR 1010 or ASTR 1030.
  • ASTR 1030 - Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 1
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Covers principles of modern astronomy summarizing our present knowledge about the Earth, Sun, moon, planets and origin of life. Requires nighttime observation sessions at Sommers-Bausch Observatory. Required in ASTR major/minor. Like ASTR 1000 and 1010, but taught at a higher intellectual level, including a significant amount of quantitative analysis. Degree credit not granted for this course and ASTR 1000 or ASTR 1010.
  • ASTR 5400 - Introduction to Fluid Dynamics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Covers equations of fluid motion relevant to planetary atmospheres and oceans and stellar atmospheres; effects of rotation and viscosity; and vorticity dynamics, boundary layers and wave motions. Introduces instability theory, nonlinear equilibration and computational methods in fluid dynamics. Same as ATOC 5400.
  • ASTR 5410 - Fluid Instabilities, Waves, and Turbulence
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Involves linear and nonlinear analyses of small-scale waves and instabilities in stratified fluids, with effects of rotation. Studies internal gravity and acoustic waves with terrestrial, planetary and astrophysical applications. Studies thermal and double-diffusive convection, homogeneous and stratified shear flow instabilities. Examines these topics from the onset of small amplitude disturbances to their nonlinear development and equilibration. Department enforced prerequisite: ASTR 5400 or ATOC 5060. Same as ATOC 5410.
  • ASTR 5550 - Observations, Data Analysis and Statistics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Introduces multi-wavelength observational techniques,their limitations and effects of various noise sources. Describes basic data handling, error analysis, and statistical tests relevant to modeling. Topics include probability distributions, model-fitting algorithms, confidence intervals, correlations, sampling and convolution. Students derive physical measurements and uncertainties with hands-on analysis of real datasets. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics or instructor consent will be required.


International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

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