SHINE stands for Solar Heliospheric and INterplanetary Environment. It is an affiliation of researchers within the solar, interplanetary, and heliospheric communities, dedicated to promoting an enhanced understanding of the processes by which energy in the form of magnetic fields and particles are produced by the Sun and/or accelerated in interplanetary space and on the mechanisms by which these fields and particles are transported to the Earth through the inner heliosphere. (Photo credit: ESA)
SHINE research focuses in particular upon the connection between events and phenomena on the Sun and their relation to solar wind structures in the inner heliosphere. The goal of SHINE activities is to enrich and strengthen both physical understanding and predictive capabilities for these phenomena.
SHINE began as a grass-roots effort by researchers in the areas of solar, interplanetary and heliospheric physics to better understand solar disturbances and their propagation to, and effect on, the Earth. The SHINE workshops have been an annual occurrence since 1999 and quickly became valued for their uniqueness in style and effectiveness of communication. SHINE has grown into a vibrant community of researchers spanning a wide range of disciplines, but still primarily focuses on understanding solar processes and their influence on the inner heliospheric environment.
Initially SHINE was organized around three general topic areas (working groups): solar, interplanetary, and solar energetic particles (SEPs). Each of these areas were coordinated by two working group leaders, serving two year terms, who would identify the topics and manage the discussion sessions within their working group at the yearly workshop. Over the years it became clear that much could be learned by having sessions which addressed scientific topics that bridged two (or all three) of the working groups and efforts were made by the working group leaders to design and include such sessions.
In the last several years, in response to the increased participation in the annual workshop, SHINE has grown to encompass a broader range of scientific topics within solar and heliospheric physics from the solar interior to the outer heliosphere, while still maintaining a primary focus on the original core topic areas. Cross-group sessions became more common than single working-group sessions and an organizational change soon followed. In 2007, the concept of three distinct working groups and associated working group leaders was retired. Since then SHINE sessions have no specific working group association and are run by session-specific leaders who volunteer to organize and manage that particular session for a single year. It should be noted, however, that many session topics continue for more than one year, often with the same leaders. TOP
The large success (and accompanying growth, both in attendance and in breadth of topics) of the SHINE workshop is due primarily to its uniqueness in style. Unlike many annual conferences (e.g., AGU, SPD, ICRC) SHINE sessions are not a series of talks interspersed with short discussion. The goal of a SHINE session is to generate involved and constructive discussion on a topic of keen interest to the participants. The subjects of SHINE sessions are driven by community interest, current controversy, and the possibility of making tangible progress through discussion involving researchers with detailed knowledge of the topic/issues. The SHINE workshops are not a place for one to present their latest polished results in an AGU-invited-speaker style. Rather it is a place to air and raise concerns and struggles with data, theories, models, and attempts to understand the physics involved. Towards this end, it is expected and encouraged that any SHINE session speakers will be continually interrupted and it is not unusual for the discussion to move in a direction slightly different from that planned or expected. TOP
Although the success of a SHINE session rests primarily on the involvement of the participants in active discussion, there are several individuals key to creating and running SHINE sessions.
Session leaders: the primary role of the session leaders is to define the session topic and focus on areas of controversy or issues currently being struggled with by a subset of that particular community. The session leaders invite key participants and discussion leaders that they believe will contribute to a healthy discussion and debate of the selected topic. During the session it also falls to the session leaders to make sure the discussion involves as many of the participants as possible and moves in a positive direction.
Discussion leaders: discussion leaders are asked by the session leaders to initiate the discussion via the presentation of relevant material and provocative questions/statements.
Steering committee: The steering committee is comprised of a number of volunteers from the SHINE community broadly representing the various disciplines in solar-heliospheric physics. The primary job of the steering committee is to examine the offered session topics for the yearly workshop and select those that they believe will result in the best sessions and a balance of topics. Each of the committee members have run many workshop sessions over the years and thus typically have an excellent grasp of what is involved in creating a successful session. The committee members provide guidance to the session leaders as they work to define their sessions, e.g. selecting discussion leaders and key participants, and offer advice as to how to generate and sustain discussion during the session. The committee consists of 9 members of the SHINE community and is generally balanced between the three original disciplines (solar, interplanetary, and SEPs). Each member serves a three-year term with three members rotating off the committee each year, being replaced by new members selected by the current committee. Among the steering committee is the committee chair, who is responsible for the overall organization of the scientific content of the workshop, and the workshop coordinator who is responsible for the detailed logistics of running the workshop and manages the NSF grant that funds student attendance of the workshop. TOP
Student involvement in SHINE is essential and highly valued. Since 2003 the SHINE workshop has incorporated a “Student Day” that is held on the Sunday prior to the start of the workshop. The two student leaders (each serving a two year term) organize and run a day of tutorials, talks, and a poster session, all of which are given by students. Regular workshop attendees are not invited to the Student Day in an effort to create an open and relaxed environment for the students and to give them an opportunity to interact socially and professionally. One measure of the success SHINE has in encouraging students is that, after graduation, the majority of students continue to work within SHINE-related disciplines and continue to attend SHINE workshops (including proposing and running SHINE sessions). TOP
The science topics covered by the SHINE workshops are dictated by the interest of the SHINE community (through session proposals made to the steering committee each year). The breadth of these topics has expanded significantly over the years as the SHINE attendance has grown to include disciplines less directly related to the original three working groups. However, it is clear that a substantial portion of the yearly workshops continues to focus on several core science areas. These can be roughly summarized as follows:
- The initiation, generation, and development of solar activity such as flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
- The interplanetary consequences of this activity, including the creation and evolution of interplanetary shocks
- The acceleration and transport of energetic particles at the Sun and in the interplanetary medium through solar-related phenomena (e.g. CME-driven shocks)
- The physical coupling between the different layers of the Sun (e.g. photosphere, chromosphere, corona) and the solar wind and the role of solar structures such as coronal holes, streamers, and filaments
Since 2003 the National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided funding to SHINE for students to attend the workshop, along with some support for scientists. Partly as a result, the student involvement in SHINE has grown significantly over that last several years, from ~20 students in 2003 to ~50 students in 2010. This NSF support funds the registration, housing, and transportation costs of every student attending SHINE. While the primary focus is on supporting graduate students, a number of undergraduate students, i.e. those making poster presentations, have also received support to attend the workshop.
In addition to supporting the workshop, the NSF also conducts an annual funding competition for research focusing on the core SHINE science topics (listed above) to the extent that they fall within the purview of the NSF Geospace Section (i.e., within 1 AU). The details of what is supported under this competition can be found in the SHINE competition announcement of opportunity (AO) at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04585/nsf04585.htm. As the SHINE workshop topics are driven by current community interests and often include subjects of vigorous debate within the community, not all SHINE sessions will be eligible for the NSF-SHINE competition. Researchers working on subjects relating to but outside the core science areas described in the NSF-SHINE AO are encouraged to submit their proposals to the broader Solar Terrestrial program http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12741&org=AGS&from=home. TOP