Clifford Lopate received his PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1988, working with advisor John A. Simpson. His primary field of study is experimental high energy particle astrophysics. He works mainly with instrument design and data analysis.
His instrument design work began as a post-doctoral student at the University of Chicago with the Chicago High Energy Telescope HET) on the Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES), launched into Earth orbit in 1990. He continued helping design space instrumentation with work on the Energetic Heavy Ion Composition (EHIC) instrument launched on NOAA-13 in 1993. He has helped designed prototype instruments for measuring charged particles in space from the Angle Detecting Inclined Sensor (ADIS) whose purpose is to measure ions, from hydrogen through nickel; to the Positron Identification by Coincident Annihilation Photons (PICAP) whose purpose is to identify differentiate between moderate energy positrons and negatrons. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the design and build of the Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS), part of the Space Environmental In-Situ Suite (SEISS), to be launched on the newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) in November 2016.
In addition to instrument design he has worked on data analysis and modeling of charged particle data from numerous space-borne instruments, in Earth orbit on satellites IMP7, IMP8, CRRES, WIND, Polar; and in deep space on satellites Pioneer-10, Pioneer-11, Voyager-1, Voyager-2, Ulysses and ACE. He is interested in understanding and predicting levels of radiation in the Heliosphere, from long-term sources such as Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and Anomalous Cosmic Rays (ACRs), and from short-term sources such as Solar Particle Events (SPEs). Modeling the ionizing radiation environment in the Heliosphere and near-Earth regimes (Space Weather) can help understand the hazards this energetic penetrating radiation can pose to both electronics (for example, GPS and cell phone satallites) and to biological system (i.e. astronauts and airline flight personnel).