Meredith J. Wills-Davey

Meredith J. Wills-Davey

Montana State University - Bozeman
Physics Department
MSU Solar Physics Group

A.B. in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1996, Harvard University
M.S. in Physics, 1999, Montana State University
M.S. Research Area: Physics Education
Ph.D. Research Area: Solar Physics

Research Interests

Solar Physics

Advisor: Loren Acton

Currently, I am studying propagating disturbances (a.k.a. waves, ripples, etc.) in the solar corona. My initial work appears in Solar Physics 190: 467-483, 1999. This study, completed with the help of Barbara Thompson, examined the morphology of a propagating disturbance observed by the TRACE instrument on 13 June 1998.

As a follow-up, I am examining other examples of these "wave" phenomena. Preliminary results suggest that flares help initiate such propagations, and the events themselves seem to act as triggers for coronal loop oscillations.

Continuing work will focus on the following:
  • Creating computer simulations of wave observations, in order to better understand the type of propagations that are occurring.
  • Examining properties of coronal loop oscillations, to determine how they relate to the waves which (may) serve as a trigger mechanism.
  • Examining coronal dimming associated with these propagations, and the possible connection to coronal mass ejections.

  • Physics Education

    Advisor: Jeff Adams

    This work is largely completed, although I still have several submitted papers floating around. My Master's thesis, entitled A Study of Cooperative Learning Group Dynamics in an Inquiry-based Physics Course, looked at student interactions in two semesters of MSU's Physics By Inquiry course. The goal of the study was to understand the main predictors of group dynamics in small-group learning settings. Ultimately, the study reveals that only a few (easily testable) factors contributed significantly to student interactions.

    Personally, I am very pleased with this work and hope that instructors will read it and consider implementing my techniques. Please feel free to download my thesis or contact me and I will be happy to send you a copy.

    As my current focus is on my solar physics work, I have no immediate plans for follow-up work. Eventually, however, I would like to consider group dynamics in a cultural context, and hope to perform a similar study in physics courses offered through Montana's tribal colleges.


    Since 1996, I have been performing outreach as Solar Girl. The main emphasis of Solar Girl is to educate people about the Sun and fill them with a sense of wonder for our nearest stellar neighbor. As Solar Girl, I have interacted with the public at all levels and age groups, from making sundials with students at daycamps to guest-lecturing in university astronomy classes. In the fall of 1999, MSU even created a press release and short television spot on Solar Girl, which appeared in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and on local news programs.

    If you would be interested in having Solar Girl speak to a group, please contact me. More information is available on my Solar Girl website.


    Solar Physics

  • Analysis of NASA/NSO Spectromagnetograph Observations for Comparison with Solar Irradiance Variations, H. P. Jones, D. D. Branston, P. B. Jones, and M. J. Wills-Davey, 2000, Astrophysical Journal, 529: 1070.
  • Observations of a Propagating Disturbance in TRACE, M. J. Wills-Davey and B. J. Thompson, 1999, Solar Physics, 190: 467.
  • Coronal Heating Events in High-Cadence TRACE Data, J. Ireland, M. J. Wills-Davey, and R. W. Walsh, 1999, Solar Physics, 190: 207.
  • The Scaling Law between Electron Time-of-Flight Distances and Loop Lengths in Solar Flares, M. J. Aschwanden, T. Kosugi, H. S. Hudson, M. J. Wills, R. A. Schwartz, 1996, Astrophysical Journal, 470: 1198.
  • Electron Time-of-Flight Distances and Flare Loop Geometries Compared from CGRO and YOHKOH Observations, M. J. Aschwanden, M. J. Wills, H. S. Hudson, T. Kosugi, R. A. Schwartz, 1996, Astrophysical Journal, 468: 398.

  • Physics Education

  • Cooperative Group Learning as a Method of Teacher Education, M. J. Wills-Davey, 2000, Journal of Teacher Education, in preparation.
  • Cooperative Group Dynamics in an Inquiry-based Physics Course, M. J. Wills-Davey, 2000, The Physics Teacher, submitted.
  • A Study of Cooperative Learning Group Dynamics in an Inquiry-based Physics Course, M. J. Wills-Davey, 2000, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, submitted.
  • A Study of Cooperative Learning Group Dynamics in an Inquiry-based Physics Course, M. J. Wills-Davey, 1999, Master's Thesis

  • Contact Information

    Phone: (406)994-7375
    Fax number: (406)994-4452
    Mailing address:
    	Meredith Wills-Davey
    	Montana State University
    	Physics Dept. - EPS 264
    	Bozeman, MT 59717 

    Most Recent Update: July 10, 2000