Joshua Méndez Harper


/Georgia Institute of Technology

PhD — Geophysics

School of Earth and Atmospheric Science — I am working under the guidance of Dr. Josef Dufek on quantifiying electrification processes in volcanic plumes, the organic sand dunes of Titan, and Martian dust devils. My work approaches the problem of granular charging from both experimental and numerical standpoints. Additionally, I develop instrumentation for laboratory use, field deployment around active volcanoes, and for space missions.

MS — Electrical Engineering

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering — Working with Dr. Paul Steffes, I am developing new methods to probe volumes of charged particles (like volcanic plumes) with millimeter-wave RADAR.


Méndez Harper, J., Dufek, J. (2016). The effects of dynamics on the triboelectrification of volcanic ash. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(14), 8209-8228.

Méndez Harper, J., McDonald, G., Dufek, J., Malaska, M., Burr, D., Hayes, A., McAdams, J., Wray, J. (2016). The Electrified Sands of Titan. Nature Geoscience (In review)

Méndez Harper, J., Dufek, J, Cimarelli, C. (2016). How overpressure controls near-vent volcanic lightning. Geophysical Research Letters (submitted)

Méndez Harper, J., Dufek, J., McDonald, G. (2016). Electrostatic control on the morphology of Titan's dunes. (In prep)

Méndez Harper, Cimarelli, C., J., Dufek, J. (2016). Near-vent lighning: fragmentation or triboelectric charging? (In prep)

Méndez Harper, J., Courtland, L., McAdams, J., Dufek, J. (2016). The effects of humidity and temperature on the triboelectric charging of volcanic ash. (In prep)

Méndez Harper, J., Voss, D., Suarez, F., Fritz, T. A., Carssow, D., and Gounda, A. (2011). Compact Half-unit Imaging electron spectrometer for CubeSat Operations. Proceedings of the Small Satellite Conference, Logan, Utah [SSC11-I-6], 2011.

Fritz, T. A., Yee, S., Méndez Harper, J., and Mavretic, A. (2012). The Boston University TIME Cubesat Mission, Proceedings of the 4S Symposium - 4-8 June 2012, Portoroz, Slovenia.

Suarez-Arriaga, M. C., Samaniego, F., and Méndez Harper, J (2010). Geothermal Resurces in Volcanic Islands: The Case of Santorini. Proceedings World Geothermal Congress, Bali, 2010.


Blue Waters Graduate Research Fellow — 2015-2016

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow — 2012-2017

Presidential Fellow — 2011-2015

Outstanding Student Presentation Award. American Geophysical Union — 2015

Design Excellence Award for A Compact Half-unit Imaging electron spectrometer for CubeSAT Operations (CHICO) — 2011

Center for Space Physics Undergraduate Research Award, Boston University — 2011

R1 IEEE Exemplary Student Award — 2011

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Boston University/NSF/DoD — 2010

Member Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society — 2010

/Invited Talks

Méndez Harper, J., Dufek, J. The Chthonic Charging of Volcanic Ash. American Geophysical Union fall meeting, 2015.

/Other Selected Talks

Méndez Harper, J. and J. Dufek. The Generation of Volcanic Lightning: Tribocharging or Fracto-emission? Electrostatics Society of America, Pomona, CA, USA, 2015.

Méndez Harper, J., G.D. McDonald, J. Dufek, A.G. Hayes, M.J. Malaska, J.S. McAdam, M.B. Wilhelm, J.J. Wray. Triboelectric Charging of Titan Dune Grains: Effects on Sediment Transport. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Houston, USA, 2015.

Courtland, L., J. Méndez Harper, J. McAdams, and J. Dufek. Laboratory Experiments Elucidate Sticking Efficiency of Charged Volcanic Particles in Sub-Zero Conditions, IUGG, 2015.

Méndez Harper, J. and J. Dufek. The microphysics of ash tribocharging: New insights from laboratory experiments. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 2014.

Méndez Harper, J., A. Gase, J. Dufek, and J. McAdams. The formation of bomb-sags during phreatic eruptions. 5th International Maar Conference, Querétaro, UMS, 2014.

Smith, A., J. Méndez Harper, J. Trostel, and J. Dufek. Low-cost Lagrangian Environmental Sensor System. AMS, Atlanta, USA, 2014.

Méndez Harper, J., Fritz, T. A., Suarez, F., Voss, D.,and Gounda, A. Compact Half-unit Imaging electron spectrometer for CubeSat Operations. Small-Sat Conference, Utah, USA, 2011.

/Peeps I work with

George McDonald, Dr. Leah Courtland, Dr. Mary Benage, Dr. Mike Malaska, Dr. Corrado Cimarelli, Dr. Malay Mazumder, Andrew Gase, Victoriano de la Cruz Cruz.

/What I can do

C/C++, FORTRAN, Python, Coatl, Octave, Assembly (PIC and Atmel), Autodest Inventor, SolidWorks, OpenSCAD, KiCAD, OrCAD, EagleCAD. 10 years experience designing analog and mixed-signal electronics. Machining. English, Spanish, Nahuatl.


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