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Living With a Star in the Era of Data Science (and how it will change what you thought you knew about weather)

October 8, 2019 @ 12:30 pm

Abstract: The connection between the Sun and the Earth is a complex one, involving interactions and variabilities across a dizzying spectrum of scales and systems. The result is a relationship between us and our star that is observable only through a fleet of instruments, methods, and technologies yet creates weather in the near-Earth space environment that is both life-sustaining as well as life-threatening. This relationship is colloquially known as space weather.To unravel the critical complexities and variabilities and to evolve beyond current approaches to understand space weather, new data-driven approaches and data analysis technologies are required. These data-driven methods are taking on new importance in light of the continuously changing data landscape of the space weather system, a challenge (and opportunity) shared by all scientific disciplines. Therefore, the scientific community faces both an exciting opportunity and an important imperative to create a new frontier built at the intersection of traditional approaches and state-of-the-art data-driven sciences and technologies.
In this talk we will first introduce the beauty and power of space weather and then discuss the meaning of data science in the context of space weather, highlighting data science as the actionable exploration of the full data lifecycle, covering collection, through storage, to analysis and decision-based communication of the analysis. We will present the latest efforts to leverage data science innovation to further space weather science, revealing lessons that reverberate across all scientific disciplines and that tie science to engineering, art, and design.
This talk is intended to provide insight to and spark discussion around the characteristics of convergence and antidisciplinary and the role of data science, namely creating new progress and a new frontier through radical interdisciplinarity and methodology transfer.
Bio: Ryan McGranaghan is the Principal Data Scientist and Aerospace Engineering Scientist at ASTRA Associates in Boulder, CO, where he leads data science and machine learning efforts to improve our understanding of the Earth’s space environment. Ryan began this role after completing a Jack Eddy Living With a Star Postdoctoral Fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during which he studied the Earth’s and solar system planets’ interactions with the Sun.
Ryan takes a multi-disciplinary (what he terms ‘antidisciplinary’) approach to the study of space, bringing together traditional space physics with innovation from the field of data science. His passion for data-driven discovery has led to involvement in the JPL Data Science Working Group, the NASA Frontier Development Lab artificial intelligence R&D incubator, and complex systems institutes throughout the United States. Prior to joining JPL, Ryan received the Visiting Young Scientist Fellowship to join the Dartmouth College School of Engineering faculty. During his six-month visiting tenure he created and taught a graduate-level course on statistical inference and data assimilation and conducted research across the engineering, applied math, and physics departments. Ryan was selected as a National Science Foundation Fellow to complete his Ph.D. research at the University of Colorado Boulder, and completed his degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences in the Fall of 2016. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from CU Boulder and a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee.
Ryan has enjoyed research experiences with Los Alamos National Laboratories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research High Altitude Observatory, and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, to name a few.
Ryan is a passionate communicator and entrepreneur of science. He was selected to give a TED talk in April 2015 on the topic of space weather, and continually strives to move audiences and more effectively communicate science through compelling storytelling and data visualization. His latest passion has been a new podcast called Origins that examines the pivotal moments across the lives of thought-leaders from science, art, engineering, and design.


October 8, 2019
12:30 pm