James J. Connell

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-5096
Office: Space Science Center, Morse Hall Rm 205B, Durham, NH 03824
A headshot of James Connell, associate professor in the Space Science Center.

My principal research interest is measuring energetic particle radiation in space. This includes Galactic cosmic rays which fill the Galaxy and are probably accelerated by supernovae shocks; Solar energetic particles which are accelerated by events on the Sun and by shocks in interplanetary space; and the anomalous cosmic rays, which are believed to be interstellar neutral atoms that drift into the Solar System, become ionized and are carried by the Solar wind out to the termination shock (a shock formed where the Solar wind becomes sub-sonic) where they undergo acceleration.

A non-research interest is nuclear science, technology and policy. I teach an Inquiry Course for non-majors on the subject, “Myths and Misconceptions about Nuclear Science.”

I am deeply involved in the Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS) for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) Program (https://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/seiss.html). EHIS instruments are now flying on GOES-16 and GOES-17 with two more waiting for launch (GOES-T and -U).

Much of my research involves the development of new and innovative instrumentation. The exigencies of space flight mean that instruments have to be very low in mass and power usage, and be extremely reliable. New instrument concepts include my Angle Detecting Inclined Sensors (ADIS) system. The EHIS are ADIS instruments. Other instrument development projects include the Positron Identification by Coincident Annihilation Photons (PICAP) and, more recently, a project to develop a synthetic diamond Cherenkov detector.

Scientifically, most of my work has been detailed measurements of the isotopic and elemental composition of Galactic cosmic rays using data from our High Energy Telescope (HET), on the Ulysses spacecraft. I have also been involved in the study of cosmic ray modulation by the Solar wind, particularly the three dimensional structure of the Heliosphere, again mainly using data from Ulysses.


  • Ph.D., Physics, Washington University - St Louis
  • M.A., Physics, Washington University - St Louis
  • B.A., Physics, Washington University - St Louis

Research Interests

  • Astrophysics
  • Extraterrestrial Radiation
  • Nuclear Astrophysics
  • Radiation Instrumentation
  • Space Sciences
  • Space Weather

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 408: General Physics II Recitation
  • PHYS 444: Hon/Myths & Misctn Nuclear Sci
  • PHYS 605: Experimental Physics I
  • PHYS 939: Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 999: Doctoral Research

Selected Publications

Connell, J. J., Lopate, C., & McLaughlin, K. R. (2016). Accelerator test of an improved Angle Detecting Inclined Sensor (ADIS) prototype with beams of 78Kr and fragments. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 837, 11-15. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2016.08.038

Dichter, B. K., Galica, G. E., McGarity, J. O., Tsui, S., Golightly, M. J., Lopate, C., & Connell, J. J. (2015). Specification, Design, and Calibration of the Space Weather Suite of Instruments on the NOAA GOES-R Program Spacecraft. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, 62(6), 2776-2783. doi:10.1109/TNS.2015.2477997

Guo, Z., Möbius, E., Klecker, B., Bochsler, P., Connell, J. J., Kartavykh, Y. Y., . . . Popecki, M. A. (2014). OBSERVATION OF HIGH IRON CHARGE STATES AT LOW ENERGIES IN SOLAR ENERGETIC PARTICLE EVENTS. The Astrophysical Journal, 785(1), 26. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/785/1/26

Connell, J. J., Kalainoff, J. R., & Lopate, C. (2008). Design concept and modeling of a new Positron Identification by Coincident Annihilation Photons (PICAP) system. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 593(3), 431-439. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2008.05.051

Farahat, A., Zhang, M., Rassoul, H., & Connell, J. J. (2008). Cosmic Ray Transport and Production in the Galaxy: A Stochastic Propagation Simulation Approach. The Astrophysical Journal, 681(2), 1334-1340. doi:10.1086/588374

Villagrasa-Canton, C., Boudard, A., Ducret, J. -E., Fernandez, B., Leray, S., Volant, C., . . . Junghans, A. (2007). Spallation residues in the reaction at , and GeV. Physical Review C, 75(4). doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.75.044603

McKibben, R. B., Connell, J. J., Lopate, C., Zhang, M., Anglin, J. D., Balogh, A., . . . Heber, B. (2003). Ulysses COSPIN observations of cosmic rays and solar energetic particles from the South Pole to the North Pole of the Sun during solar maximum. Annales Geophysicae, 21(6), 1217-1228. doi:10.5194/angeo-21-1217-2003

Connell, J. J. (1998). Galactic Cosmic-Ray Confinement Time: [ITAL]Ulysses[/ITAL] High Energy Telescope Measurements of the Secondary Radionuclide [TSUP]10[/TSUP]B[CLC]e[/CLC]. The Astrophysical Journal, 501(1), L59-L62. doi:10.1086/311437

Simpson, J. A., Connell, J. J., Lopate, C., McKibben, R. B., Zhang, M., Anglin, J. D., . . . Paizis, C. (1995). Cosmic Ray and Solar Particle Investigations Over the South Polar Regions of the Sun. Science, 268(5213), 1019-1023. doi:10.1126/science.268.5213.1019


Most Cited Publications