Zowie, in real life, is Dr. Craig DeForest, a solar astrophysicist at the Southwest Research Institute. I earned my Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1996. I've been studying plasma physics since I was a teenager: my first job, in 1984, was at the D3D tokamak in San Diego. In graduate school, I helped build and fly a sounding rocket (the MSSTA) to photograph the solar corona in EUV. From 1995-1999 I operated the Michelson Doppler Imager on board the SOHO spacecraft; since then I have been located at SwRI.
I am particularly interested in matter-field interactions in the solar corona, and in science outreach in general. Current research projects include computer vision of evolving magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun, MHD simulations of the lower solar atmosphere and of coronal mass ejection onset, and development of a new instrument technology, stereoscopic spectroscopy. Lately I have also become interested in compact coronagraph designs for space weather application.
Scientific accomplishments of note include the discovery of magnetosonic waves propagating through the solar corona, development of the world's first fluxon simulation code for efficient modeling of low-β plasmas, and making the first-ever stereoscopic magnetograms of the Sun using the Zeeman splitting of the solar Fe absorption line at 6173 Angstroms.
I live, work, and play in the Boulder, Colorado area, and in between spend too much time editing Wikipedia - my 1,000th edit occured on July 30, 2006. For the last few years, I have been rather inactive on Wikipedia, as I have little patience for wikilawyering and wrangling, which are a lot less fun than writing informative articles.