The Catholic University of America

Elena Provornikova CV


Research Associate

Catholic University of America,

Office: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Code 671, Building 21, Room 041

Greenbelt, MD 20771

Phone: (301) 286-0295



  • 2013   PhD in Solar Physics, Mechanics of Fluid, Gas and Plasma

Space Research Institute (IKI) of Russian Academy of Science

Thesis: “Non-stationary flows of partially ionized plasma with effects of the charge exchange process at the heliosphere boundary and in the interstellar medium”

Ph.D. adviser: Dr. Vladislav Izmodenov, Moscow State University

Co-Advisor: Dr. Merav Opher, Boston University

  • 2009 M.S. Theoretical mechanics

Moscow State University, Russia

Title of M.S. thesis: “Two-component gas dynamic modeling of the interaction between cold interstellar cloud and hot plasma”

Adviser: Dr. Vladislav Izmodenov


Work Experience:

·      Sept 2013 – present – Research Associate, Catholic University of America/NASA GSFC

·      Jan 2011 – Aug 2013 - Research Fellow, Astronomy Department, Boston University

·      Jun 2010 - Dec 2010 - Research Associate, Department of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University

·      Nov 2006 - present - Research Fellow at the Laboratory of Theoretical Modeling, Department of Planetary Sciences, Space Research Institute (IKI) of Russian Academy of Science

Research Experience and Interests:

·      Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modeling of waves in solar coronal loops

·      MHD modeling of time-dependent plasma flows in the heliosheath due to 11-year solar cycle variations (BATSRUS)

  • MHD-kinetic modeling of interaction of the solar wind with the local interstellar medium
  • Evolution of corotating interaction regions (CIRs) and interplanetary shocks in the solar wind and outer heliosphere
  • Hydrodynamic modeling of the interaction of interstellar clouds with hot surrounding plasma with effects of charge exchange process
  • Charge transfer X-ray emission from interstellar clouds
  • Numerical methods of solving gas dynamics and MHD problems

Professional Activities:

·      Reviewer for the Astrophysical Journal, NSF (since 2013)

·      Member of American Geophysical Union

·      Member of American Astronomical Society




Publications in peer-reviewed journals


1.  Provornikova, E., Opher, M., Izmodenov, V., Richardson, J., Toth, G. “Plasma flows in the heliosheath along the Voyager 2 and 1 trajectories due to 11-year solar cycle effects”, 2014, ApJ, submitted.

2.  Provornikova, E., Opher, M., Izmodenov, V., Toth, G. “Propagation of a large-scale solar wind disturbance bounded by a pair of shocks into the heliosheath ” 2013. Astronomy and Astrophysics. 552. A99. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201220892.

3.  Provornikova, E., Opher, M., Izmodenov, V., Toth, G. “Do corotating interaction region associated shocks survive when they propagate into the heliosheath?” 2012. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 756. Issue 2. ID L37

4.  Provornikova, E., Izmodenov, V., Lallement, R. “Charge transfer reactions at interfaces between neutral gas and plasma: Dynamical effects and X-ray emission” 2012. Astronomical Notes. 333. 4393.

5.  Provornikova, E., Izmodenov, V., Lallement, R. “Two-component model of the interaction of an interstellar cloud with surrounding hot plasma” 2011. MNRAS. 415. 3879.

6.  Izmodenov, V., Malama, Y.G., Ruderman, M.S., Chalov, S.V., Alexashov, D.B., Katushkina, O.A., Provornikova, E. “Kinetic-gasdynamic modeling of the heliospheric  interface” 2009.  Space Science Reviews. 146. 329.