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- Dept of Space & Climate Physics
- Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
I studied for my B.Sc in Physics with Astrophysics at Queen's University Belfast, where one of my undergraduate projects was under Mihalis Mathioudakis. I enjoyed his clarity of thought about spectroscopy, and when I was offered a CAST Ph.D. position, jointly funded by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, to study with Mihalis, Francis Keenan and Ken Phillips (through the RAL sponsorship), I keenly accepted.
I'm interested in analysing the structure of the Sun's outer atmosphere: the beautiful and tenuous corona. To do this I use a few different tactics, all with this goal in mind.
My main focus is on using ultraviolet spectra to investigate the way material collects and moves around and along these magnetic field lines that we know thread throughout the solar corona. In most cases, these field lines connect to little "north" and "south" poles scattered all over the sun. Where this happens, we see beautiful "loops" where higher concentrations of plasma are bound to the magnetic field: something that only happens to charged particles like ions and electrons. But in some cases, the loops start on the sun and seem to fade off into the larger solar system.
The unique thing about spectrometer instruments, like our own Hinode EIS, is that they can give you so much information! Think of them as a combined speed detector and forensics lab for the Sun.
I also use imaging data taken by multiple scientific satellites to analyse the variation structures on small scales, like in loop oscillations, to large scales – as in the filament eruptions that lead to coronal mass ejections, the solar storms often felt in Earth's environment.
Each year, I give students on UCL's MSc in Space Science and Engineering a challenge to build a satellite. Think of it as The Apprentice for satellite geeks.
I also lead the UCL Level 4 course in Solar Physics with Dr Sarah Matthews, which has a nice mix of students studying for 4-year MSci degrees in Physics, Natural Sciences undergraduates, postgraduate students studying Space Science & Engineering or Astrophysics, and intercollegiate students from our sister universities in London.
|01-JUN-2012||Lecturer||Space and Climate Physics||UCL, United Kingdom|
|01-APR-2009 – 31-MAY-2012||University Research Fellow||Space and Climate Physics||UCL, United Kingdom|
|01-JAN-2007||Hinode EIS Project Scientist||, United Kingdom|
|01-SEP-2006 – 31-MAR-2009||Hinode EIS Chief Observer & Scientist in Residence||Space & Climate Physics & Hinode Team Office||UCL & ISAS/JAXA, Japan|
|01-APR-2002 – 31-AUG-2006||Hinode EIS Chief Observer||Space & Climate Physics||UCL, United Kingdom|
|01-APR-2002 – 31-MAR-2006||Postdoctoral Research Fellow||Space & Climate Physics||UCL, United Kingdom|
|2003||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Astrophysics||Queen's University of Belfast|
|/||BSc Hons||Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Physics and Astrophysics||Queen's University of Belfast|