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Publications in VIVO

Brown, Benjamin P

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Brown's research focuses on astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) of stellar interiors and Jovian planetary atmospheres. Brown explores stellar dynamo physics and planetary atmosphere physics through numerical simulations on massively-parallel supercomputers. This research is conducted using 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, atmospheric physics


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 / Fall 2023
    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 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023
    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. Department enforced prerequisite: partial differential equations or equivalent. Same as ATOC 5400 and PHYS 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.
  • ASTR 5540 - Mathematical Methods
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Presents an applied mathematics course designed to provide the necessary analytical and numerical background for courses in astrophysics, plasma physics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, and radiation transfer. Topics include integration techniques, linear and nonlinear differential equations, WKB and Fourier transform methods, adiabatic invariants, partial differential equations, integral equations, and integrodifferential equations. Draws illustrative examples from the areas of physics listed above. Same as ATOC 5540.
  • 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.
  • ATOC 5540 - Mathematical Methods
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Applied mathematics course; provides necessary analytical background for courses in plasma physics,fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, and radiative transfer. Covers integration techniques, linear and nonlinear differential equations, WKB and Fourier transform methods, adiabatic invariants, partial differential equations, integral equations, and integrodifferential equations. Same as ASTR 5540.


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