An interview with SINP scientists who explained origin of the third radiation belt

Co-authors of an article concerning an origin of the third radiation balt of the Earth,published in Nature Physics, SINP scientiss PhD. Alexander Drozdov and PhD. Ksenia Orlova told about the difficulties they met while writing an article for Nature Physics, about personal contributions and their plans.

Corr.: Scientists of SINP MSU congratulate you with successfull contribution! What were your feelings after publication of your article in one of the most peer-reviewed journal - Nature Physics?

Alexander Drozdov: Surely, we were very glad and proud, and also felt some relief because publication in such a journal needs serous self-control. Usually an article is prepared in several stages. At first an article must be approved by technical editor. Then reviewers are appointed. And it is followed with long intercommunication with the editorm answering numerous questions and comments.

Corr.: Please, tell us in details about preparing of the article?

Ksenia Orlova: The Leader of our scietific team Yuri Shpritz suggested to publish an article in Nature Physics, saying that in theory "it all fits". And we started detailed studies. Each of us contributed to the results. ALexander has analyzed the data. Others have developed a model. Some of us checked the wave parameters, etc. And when we finally simulated the process out primary concept about the origin of the third radiation belt of the Earth were confirmed.

Then a stage of writing an article followed. It is a complicated process. We got used to write articles in scientific style, but Nature Physics needs an article in popular-scientific style. We could not use tradiational scientific terms without explanations. If we used any term, it should be necessary explained. An article should be understandable not only for scientists, but also non-specialist ausiencies. Besides, test should be presented an simple manner and concisely.

Alexander Drozdov: For details which can-t be included in the main article, there is "Supplementary materials". Our main article consists of four and a half pages, and this appendix - of 11 pages.

Ksenia Orlova: Indeed "Supplementary materials" include more detailed description of the model and its parameters, which we use. An appendix is meant for in-crowd scientists, specialized in the field of radiation belts.

Alexander Drozdov: Concerning the time-lines I can add that our article was received by the journal in March 2013 and was published online at the end of September.

Corr.: Please, tell us directly about the study of the third radiation belt of the Earth.

Alexander Drozdov: I analyzed satellite data in order to settle them into the model. You see, there are primary data obtained from the satellite. They are "raw" and need to be determined. Not only decoding, but also understanding of correspondence of the obtained physical values to reality are also difficult. Besides, I directly participated in the discussion of the model, in particular, its edge conditions with Dmitry Subbotin.

Ksenia Orlova: My contribution concerned preparing of diffusion coefficients for the model. Resonance interaction of electrons and different types of plasma waves. For instance, times of electrons' losses obtained on the basis of diffusion coefficients are presented in the article. There is also shown at what latitudes resonant relation of wave-particle interaction is realized.

Alexander Drozdov: By the way, our article caused broad resonance in mass media. Unfortunately, somewhere there were mistakes and inaccuracies. For the future, we'd like the texts would considered for authors' approval.

Corr.: Please, tell us about your scientiic activity as a whole: from the very beginning up to now.

Alexander Drozdov: In 2007 I started to work as Junior researcher in SINP MSU, where I'm still working up to now. Both Ksenia and I have affiliation to SINP as authors of the article in Nature Рhysics. At the end of 2007 I entered PhD program and continued working halftime in SINP. In 2011 I completed post-graduate studies and defended PhD thesis. Till coming to UCLA I studied problems of neutron generation in the atmosphere during thunderstorms and possibility of their detection both in ground-based and orbital experiments. I've developed a theme, and it was needed to go to the experiment. SINP MSU became a good school in the field of the near-Earth space radiation, therefore it was not difficult to change direction of my research. I note that in the modern scientific community change of activity is fairly common. The scientist should always be ready to expand horizons of his knowledge.

At the end of 2012 I began to study radiation belts in the scientific team leaded by Yuri Shpritz in UCLA. Now I work actively in processing of the data obtained onboard new satellites Van Allens Probes in close cooperation with their team. We have already several times help them with correction of data decoding. Besides, I'm working at simulation by means of diffusion code developed by our team. At an early date I'm going to publish an article concerning the importance of simulation of radiation belts at high energies. All my activity during this year will be described briefly and clearly in this article.

Ksenia Orlova: I entered Physical faculty of MSU in 2003. I defended my diploma thesis under the guidance of reamarkable SINP scientists Elizaveta Antonova and Margarita Bakhareva. This work concerned studies of wave-particles interactions in te Earth's radiation belts. I continue this direction in my studies up to now. In 2012 I completed post-graduate studies and successfully defended my PhD thesis, which were intended in the studies of the influence of not-dipole Earth's magnetic field on the wave-particles interaction processes. It was shown that at the night side if the Earth's magnetosphere rates of energy electrons acceleration and losses strongly depend on elongation of the magnetic force lines.

Today I work both in SINP and in UCLA, as Alexander. I continue my studies of wave-particle interaction processes. Research is very interesting due to past-year launch of two satellites mentioned by ALexander. An ahead there are new satellites - LOMONOSOV, RELEC, RESONANCE. we'll discover new horizons! As one scientist told us: "You are so lucky! You've got in right time, new satellites which will study the heart of radiation belts are just launched. You have open and wide field for your activity." And it's really so. We'll get an ooportunity to understand many things by analysis of new data and to improve our models. I think, we'll come closer to the answer to the main question interesting maybe not for all but at least for many scientists in our field: when and what mechanisms of particles acceleration and loss dominate. Then we'll be able not only to understand porcesses which take place in the radiation belts, but also forecast their dynamics.

Alexander Drozdov: It should be noted, that we'll be able to come to the solution of the problem of radiation safety of space flights in the near-Earth space with a large amount of knowledge. Together with solar flares radiation belts influence negatively not only on the people, but also on all ground-based and space electronics. A bright example for it is a powerful solar flare happened in 1980s, when a half of USA stayed without electricity which resulted in great losses in financial and infrastructural fields. That time nobody expacted that such event was possible. We'll see what will be further, surely, hoping for the best.

Corr.: We wish you continued success in your studies!

Alexander Drozdov and Ksenia Orlova: Thank you very much!