Alex Crew


Education history

A.B.: Physics, Dartmouth College, 2008

M.A. Astronomy, Boston University, 2011

Ph.D. Physics, University of New Hampshire, 2013

Current projects


FIREBIRD is an NSF CubeSat mission designed to study electron microbursts from the Earth's radiation belt. The FIREBIRD mission consists of a pair of identical CubeSats that use electron detectors to address the characteristics of microburst precipiation as well as the spatial-temporal ambiguity of microburst measurements. As part of my graduate work, I worked on the design, testing, and calibration of the instrument. As an NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Postdoctoral Research Fellow, I am the science operations lead for both FIREBIRD-I (launched December 2013) and FIREBIRD-II (launched January 2015) missions, currently working on data processing, event selection, and microburst science. FIREBIRD is designed to operate independently to provide high resolution measurements of microburst events, as well as in concert with other missions (such as Van Allen Probes and BARREL) to make broader comparisons.

Van Allen Probes

 As part of my graduate work I worked on the calibration and testing of the MagEIS instrument that is part of the ECT instrument suite on Van Allen Probes. My principal interest is in electron microbursts and bringing the particle data to bear on the problem with multipoint measurements.

Research interests

CubeSats, Magnetospheric Physics, Wave-Particle interactions, Radiation Belt Science, Microbursts