About Me

My name is Will Barnes. I’m currently a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. where I’m using hydrodynamic simulations and forward modeling to understand heating in the solar corona. Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. In May of 2019, I completed my PhD in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University under the direction of Dr. Stephen Bradshaw. My dissertation, Diagnosing the Frequency of Energy Deposition in the Magnetically-Closed Solar Corona, can be found here.

My primary research interest is the heating of the solar corona, the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere. In particular, I create simulations of coronal loops, huge arcs of million-degree plasma suspended high above the solar surface, to try and better understand how the coronal plasma is heated to temperatures orders of magnitude hotter than the solar surface.

I’m passionate about open-source software (particularly Python!) in science and especially astronomy and solar physics. I’m involved with both the SunPy project and OpenAstronomy which seek to promote best programming practices and openness in scientific software development. You can read more about my software projects on my Projects page or check out my GitHub profile. Currently, I’m working on a package that will provide an improved Pythonic interface to the CHIANTI atomic database.