Andrew Hays Buchanan Associate Professor of Astrophysics
Dr. Alexander's website
Dr. David Alexander is a member of Rice’s Physics & Astronomy department. His research interests include solar activity, sunspots, flares and coronal mass ejections. He teaches three classes: Exploration of the Solar System, Exploring the Sun-Earth Interaction, and The Astrophysics of the Sun.
A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Dr. Alexander obtained all of his degrees from the University of Glasgow—a B.S. in 1984 in Mathematics, a B.Sc. in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Relativistic Cosmology in 1988.
Why Rice? Dr. Alexander will answer, “It presented the challenge of bringing a new field (solar physics) to an already world class research department.” He also cites the friendly Houstonians and his Rice students and colleagues as big advantages, adding that he has been very pleasantly surprised by “the importance and effectiveness of the college system.”
His research group and graduate students couldn’t agree more. Antoun Georges Daou, fifth year graduate student in Physics & Astronomy, is advised by Dr. Alexander. Daou says, “Dr. Alexander treats his large circle of researchers and students as family. His passion for science research, teaching, education and public outreach, as well as his patience, strong communication skills, and care, make him a very special advisor. As I reflect upon my graduate research experience, I could not wish for a better mentor and advisor.”
Holly Gilbert, research scientist in Dr. Alexander’s lab, echoes Daou’s comments, saying “Working with Dr. Alexander has been a wonderful learning experience and I feel so lucky to be associated with someone who is as dedicated to the field of Solar Physics as he is, both in his teaching and in his scientific contributions. I am continually amazed at how well he successfully juggles the large number of students in our group, his teaching responsibilities, and his numerous community responsibilities. The great science coming out of the Solar group is a testament to his dedication and scientific abilities.”
When not conducting research, Dr. Alexander plays drums and soccer, and spends time with his three children and wonderful wife. Little known David Alexander fact: he also used to do demonstrations of Scottish and international folk dancing.
Dr. Alexander’s favorite websites: