Current Plaudits

Brian Thomas

Associate professor, physics and astronomy

Journal articles

  • "Lookup Tables to Compute High Energy Cosmic Ray Induced Atmospheric Ionization and Changes in Atmospheric Chemistry." Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (in press) (with D. Atri, A.L. Melott).
  • "Atmospheric Consequences of Cosmic Ray Variability in the Extragalactic Shock Model: II Revised Ionization Levels and Their Consequences." Journal of Geophysical Research (in press) (with A.L. Melott, D. Atri, M.V. Medvedev, G.W. Wilson, M.J. Murray).
  • "Cometary Airbursts and Atmospheric Chemistry: Tunguska and a Candidate Younger Eryas Event." Geology 38: 383 (2010) (with A.L. Melott, G. Dreschhoff, Carey K. Johnson).
  • "Gamma-ray Bursts as a Threat to Life on Earth." International Journal of Astrobiology 8: 183 (2009).
  • Paleobiology 35: 311 (June 2009) (with A.L. Melott).
  • "An In-Class Discussion Activity on the Nature of Science and Intelligent Design." The Physics Teacher 47:106 (February 2009).
  • "Atmospheric Consequences of Cosmic Ray Variability in the Extragalactic Shock Model." Journal of Geophysical Research 113:  E10007 (October 2008) (with A.L. Melott, A.J. Krejci, M.V. Medvedev, G.W. Wilson, M.J. Murray).
  • "Amphibian Nitrate Stress as an Additional Terrestrial Threat from Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Events?"  Astrobiology 8:  731 (August 2008) (with M.D. Honeyman).

Presentations

  • "Discussing Science and Intelligent Design in a Physical Science Course," Mid-America Regional Astrophysics Conference, Kansas City, Mo., April 2010
  • "Improving Estimates of Biospheric Effects of Gamma-Ray Bursts," Astrobiology Science Conference, Houston, Texas, April 2010
  • "Exploding Stars and the End of the World," HiPACE Lecture, WU, February 2010
  • "A Scientist's Perspective on Global Warming," Topeka Downtown Optimists, January 2010
  • "Not Another Disaster Movie! Exploding Stars and the End of the World," Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomer League, Topeka, January 2010
  • Not Another Disaster Movie! Exploding Stars and the End of the World," Newton (Kan.) High School physics class, November 2009
  • "Late Ordovician Geographic Patterns of Extinction Compared with Wimulations of Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Damage," Geological Society of America, Portland, Ore., October 2009
  • "Comparing Simulations of Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Damage with Late Ordovician Geographic Patterns of Extinction," Mid-America Regional Astrophysics Conference, Kansas City, Mo., April 2009 (with A.L. Melott)
  • "Late Ordovician Geographic Patterns of Extinction Compared with Wimulations of Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation Damage," Kansas Academy of Science, Topeka, March 2009 (with A.L. Melott)
  • "Gamma-Ray Bursts and the Earth," Embedded Systems Laboratory symposium "Cosmic Cataclysms and Life," Frascati, Italy, November  2008

Grants

  • 'High Energy Cosmic Ray Effects on Terrestrial Atmospheric Chemistry, 60,000 hours on Intel 64 cluster (Abe)," National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 9/2009-9/2010. Dimitra Atri, co-investigator
  • "A Lookup Table to Compute High Energy Cosmic Ray Effects on Terrestrial Atmospheric Chemistry, 50,000 hours," National Center for Supercomputian Applications, 8/2009-8/2010. Adrian Melott, co-investigator
  • "Astrophysical Ionizing Photon Events and Primary Productivity of Earth's Oceans," NASA, $530,703 7/1/2009-6/30/2012.  Adrian Melott and Patrick Neale, co-investigators
  • Washburn International Travel Grant November

Community involvement

  • Think Big Topeka participant to bring Google fiber project
  • Career mentor, University of the pacific Alumni Mentor Network
  • Star party, College Hill Neighborhood Association
  • Astronomy instructor Washburn Merit Badge Day 2009
  • Astrobiology videoconference for Lakin (Kan.) High physics class

Public commentary

  • Interview, "Cosmic Hazards" French TV, February 2010
  • Articles on work looking for signatures of comet impacts in ice cores in online publications such as Science Daily, December 2009
  • Work on terrestrial effects of solar flares noted in report of National Research Council "Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts."
  • Work on gamma-ray bursts as a threat to life on Earth top of National Geographic online article (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090403-gamma-ray-extinction.html), April 2009
  • Work on solar flares mentioned in "Bracing for a Solar Superstorm," Scientific American, August 2008

Other

  • Articles referee, Annales Geophysicae
  • Article referee, Journal of Astrobiology
  • Manuscript referee, International Year of Planet Earth Life volume (Springer Verlag on behalf of UNESCO)