Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Montana State University
  • David E McKenzie
  • (406) 994-7843
Award Date:03/21/2006
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 584,156
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 597,156
  • FY 2006=$118,719
  • FY 2008=$116,555
  • FY 2010=$128,503
  • FY 2007=$110,995
  • FY 2009=$122,384
Start Date:04/01/2006
End Date:03/31/2012
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:REU Site: Solar Physics Program at Montana State University
Federal Award ID Number:0552958
DUNS ID:625447982
Parent DUNS ID:079602596

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Montana State University
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

The proposers presented a plan to continue an ongoing Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Montana State University (MSU) in solar physics, involving student analysis of data from space missions such as Yohkoh, SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory), TRACE (Transition Region And Coronal Explorer), and RHESSI (Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager), as well as from ground-based observatories. The Principal Investigators (PIs) target undergraduates majoring in physics, mathematics, and computer sciences. The program provides solar physics research opportunities for students through an introductory course in solar physics, lectures by visiting scholars, independent research projects carried out with a faculty mentor, and web publication of the students' final reports. Student research projects frequently result in joint professional publications or presentations with the MSU faculty mentor. This MSU REU program provides an important service to the discipline of solar physics, since the subject is being taught at relatively few United States colleges and universities. The PIs are successful in recruiting women (achieving a 3-to-1 female-to-male ratio in 2005) and participate in three programs for Native American students and teachers. MSU now plans to recruit other minorities and to add an ethics component to this project. Their program offers other benefits to society through its strong space weather component. Past participants have reported that the exposure to professional research in a university environment helped them to decide whether to continue their education in graduate school, and whether to pursue solar physics research as a profession.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

A. Des Jardins, R. Canfield, D. Longcope, E. McLinden, A. Dillman "Signatures of Magnetic Stress Prior to Three Solar Flares Observed by RHESSI" Astrophysical Journal, v.693, 2009, p.886.

Angela Des Jardins, Richard Canfield, Dana Longcope, Crystal Fordyce, and Scott Waitukaitis "Reconnection in Three Dimensions: The Role of Spines in Three Eruptive Flares" The Astrophysical Journal, v.693, 2009, p.16.

Richard C. Canfield, Maria D. Kazachenko, Loren W. Acton, D. H. Mackay, Ji Son, Tanya Freeman "Yohkoh SXT Full-Resolution Observations of Sigmoids: Structure, Formation, and Eruption" The Astrophysical Journal, v.671, 2007, p..

Yeates, A.R., Nandy, D., & Mackay, D.H. "Exploring the Physical Basis of Solar Cycle Predictions: Flux Transport Dynamics and Persistence of Memory in Advection versus Diffusion Dominated Solar Convection Zones" Astrophysical Journal, v.673, 2008, p.544.

Longcope, Des Jardins, Carranze-Fulmer, Qiu "A Quantitative Model of Energy Release and Heating by Time-dependent, Localized Reconnection in a Flare with Thermal Loop-top X-ray Source" Solar Physics, v.267, 2010, p.107.

Qiu, Liu, Hill, and Kazachenko "Reconnection and Energetics in Two-ribbon Flares: A Revisit of the Bastille-day Flare" The Astrophysical Journal, v.725, 2010, p.319.

Howard, T.A., D. Nandy, and A. Koepke "Kinematic properties of solar coronal mass ejections: Correction for projection effects in spacecraft coronagraph measurements" Journal of Geophysical Research, v.113, 2008, p.1104.

Richard C. Canfield and Alexander J. B. Russell "Solar Active Region Flux Fragmentation, Subphotospheric Flows, and Flaring" The Astrophysical Journal, v.662, 2007, p..

Cheng, Kerr, Qiu "Hard X-ray and UV Observations of the 2005 January 15 Two-ribbon Flare" Astrophysical Journal, v.744, 2011, p.48.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Montana State University focuses on solar physics and the space environment.  Throughout the duration of this program at MSU, the student participants have performed cutting-edge research, each mentored by one or two faculty or graduate students.  At the end of the ten-week program each student gives a PowerPoint presentation on their project and its findings.  The research often results in publications in the refereed literature, and presentations at professional conferences.  

An online list of publications is  maintainted at

A list of conference presentations is maintanted at

Most of the participants go on to graduate school afterwards, and many have stayed in the discipline of solar physics.  

In addition to the research component, the participants receive a lecture series on solar physics and the Sun, and a guest lecturer (usually Prof. Eric Priest from the University of St. Andrews) provides a series of lectures on solar magnetohydrodynamics.  The students also have the option to participate in a public outreach event, giving astronomy "tours" to visitors at Yellowstone National Park; many of the students have enjoyed this opportunity.  The schedule of events for a typical year can be seen in the online calendar,

Unlike many other REU programs, we accept some applications from non-US citizens.  These students (who comprise a minority of our participants) are supported by non-NSF funds, typically research grants or internal support.  Our participants have greatly enjoyed the chance to interact and collaborate with colleagues from non-US institutions.

Last Modified: 06/01/2012
Modified by: David E Mckenzie

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.