Director at the Southwest Research Institute
Dr. Burch is an experimental space plasma physicist specializing in the physics of the aurora, dynamics of the Earth’s magnetosphere, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, global imaging of the Earth’s magnetosphere, and plasma transport in Saturn’s magnetosphere. He was P.I. of the NASA IMAGE Explorer mission, which was the first mission dedicated to imaging the charged particles in the Earth’s magnetosphere. His current research involves analysis of data from the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer and the Rosetta Ion-Electron Sensor. He is leading a comprehensive study of magnetic reconnection as P.I. of the Instrument Suite Science Team for the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission to be launched in 2014. For MMS he designed a new generation plasma composition analyzer that will greatly improve the accuracy of minor ion detection in space plasmas.