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Tai Phan

Senior Fellow
Work Phone: 510-643-5505
Photo of Tai Phan


Tai Phan received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1991. He worked at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and at the National research Council of Canada before joining the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley, where he is currently a Senior Fellow. His research interests include solar wind interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere, and the magnetic reconnection process throughout the plasma universe. He is an author and co-author of more than 240 publications, including 6 Nature Letters and more than 15 Physical Review Letters. He reported the first spacecraft detections of bi-directional plasma jets due to magnetic reconnection [Nature, 2000]. He led the discovery of a reconnection X-line extending more than 390 Earth radii in the solar wind [Nature, 2006]. Recently he reported a new type of fast magnetic reconnection involving only electrons, which occurs in turbulent plasmas [Nature, 2018]. He leads an Inter-Disciplinary Science team of NASA’s Magnetopsheric Multi-Scale mission to study reconnection in the near-Earth space. He is a co-investigator of the NASA THEMIS and Parker Solar Probe missions. He served as a member the US National Academies Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey 2013. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He has trained a number of undergraduate and graduate students at Berkeley to do research, give presentations at international meetings, and publish first-author papers. He is always looking for motivated Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students to do fun research in space plasma physics.