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Dr David Williams
Mullard Space Science Lab
Holmbury St Mary
  • Research Fellow
  • Dept of Space & Climate Physics
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
Research Groups
Research Summary

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.

Teaching Summary

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.

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
Academic Background
2003 PhD Doctor of Philosophy Queen's University of Belfast
/ BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) Queen's University of Belfast
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