Imperial College London

Comet insights and new honours: News from the College

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Photo of comet 67P

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From the zoo of atoms and molecules surrounding a comet, to new society honours, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Cometary ion zoo

Graph showing concentrations of atoms and molecules
The 'zoo' of atoms and molecules at 67P. Credit: Astronomy & Astrophysics

Comets are surrounded by an envelope of gases made of a zoo of atoms and molecules. Some of these neutral species are ‘ionised’ – given a positive or negative charge – either directly by solar radiation, energetic electrons or following chemical reactions. Now researchers have characterised the ‘zoo’ of positive ions around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft from 2014 to 2016.

Previously, sophisticated models were needed to interpret clouds of ions around comets, but the high performance of one of the instruments onboard Rosetta allowed the team to distinguish between ions with similar masses. They also found new kinds of ions not previously detected around comets, including ‘isotopologues’, heavy ions and doubly charged ion species.

Read the full paper in Astronomy & Astrophysics: ‘ROSINA ion zoo at Comet 67P

Physical Fellow

Professor Richard CrasterProfessor Richard Craster, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, has been made a Fellow of the American Physical Society, for ‘important contributions to a wide range of fluid mechanical problems including thin-film flows, viscoplastic flows, and acoustic metamaterials’.

Professor Craster said: “It is an honour, and a very nice surprise too, to be elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. It is always particularly special to be nominated by your peers and recognised by them for one’s work. I have always appreciated the APS, as a learned society, for its role in building a community of physicists and scientists and am delighted to now be a Fellow.

“It also raises an opportunity for me to thank the numerous collaborators and colleagues who have helped, motivated and guided my research over the years, and also acknowledge the special scientific environment here at Imperial which has helped me enormously in terms of enabling my collaborations across mathematics, physics and engineering.”

Read more about APS Fellowships.

Presidential professor

Professor Thomas ParisiniProfessor Thomas Parisini of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has been elected President of the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) for 2021-2022.

The Society, part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in the USA, is dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of systems and control.

Professor Parisini said: “I am thrilled to be elected as President and am excited to begin as the first serving the IEEE Control Systems Society for two years. The IEEE CSS has been at the forefront of control systems theory and technology for over 65 years and taking this role during these difficult times is a great responsibility to which I'm fully committed. This is yet another example of the prestige and world-leading role of the Control and Power group at Imperial.”

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Reporters

Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2412
Email: h.dunning@imperial.ac.uk

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Caroline Brogan

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

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Email: caroline.brogan@imperial.ac.uk

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