Ramanakumar Sankar

About me

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities working on human-computer optimization problems using neural networks on the Zooniverse citizen science platform. I am also working on using JunoCam images to classify cloud features in the jovian atmosphere using the Zooniverse platform coupled with a neural network.

I did my Ph.D. in Space Sciences at Florida Tech, where my focus was on numerical simulations of Jupiter's atmosphere, specifically in modelling convective thunderstorms. The focus of my dissertation work was using the EPIC (Explicit Planetary Isentropic Coordinate) model to study convective water clouds on Jupiter which have been observed to grow into large storm complexes that result in planetary scale disturbances. I helped add a sub-grid scale moist convective scheme to the model so as to simulate these storms. This update would prove useful not only in Jovian atmospheric studies but also in other Gas Giants where convective activity has been observed and theorized, and potentially even for exoplanets.

I have also worked on detecting and modeling meteor impacts in planetary atmospheres. I worked with the Spalding Allsky Camera Network (SACN) to triangulate and determine trajectories of fireballs detected using their camera network, and implemented a fragmentation model to determine their physical properties. I applied a similar analysis to a jovian impact in 2019 which had sufficiently high temporal resolution to detect fragmentation peaks in the lightcurve.