Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Professor of Physics



+44 (0)20 7594 7676t.horbury Website




H/6M72Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Waves and turbulence in plasmas

The solar wind plasma, which fills the solar system, is highly turbulent. We can study this turbulence in great detail with data from spacecraft. I am currently interested in the 3D structure of magnetic fields in turbulent plasmas, as well as their intermittency ("burstiness"), both of which are vital in controlling the propagation of energetic particles throughout the solar system.

Shocks in collisionless plasmas

We can study space plasma shocks in great detail using the four Cluster spacecraft which orbit in formation around the Earth and repeatedly pass through the bowshock. Combining data from the four spacecraft allows us to study the scales and variability of the shock, which are essential for understanding how the shock works and in particular how particles are accelerated around it: the highest energy particles in the Universe, cosmic rays, are thought to be accelerated at astrophysical shocks.

Novel data analysis techniques

We need to retrieve as much information as possible from the measurements we make. This is particularly important for spacecraft data, which are usually limited in their accuracy and coverage. I am involved with developing new techniques for analysing data from a single spacecraft using wavelets, and methods for combining data from several spacecraft to determine the 3D structure of plasmas.


PPARC Advanced Fellowship, October 2000-September 2005

STFC Solar Orbiter grants, April 2007-present

Co-Investigator, STFC Rolling Grant, April 2007-March 2013

Principal Investigator, European Space Agency "Space Magnetometer Set" grant, September 2012-February 2014


Miriam Forman, SUNY Stony Brook, Solar wind turbulence

Sean Oughton, U. Waikato, Hamilton, Solar wind turbulence

Alexander Schekochihin, University of Oxford

Research Staff


Research Student Supervision

Stansby,D, Solar wind fine scale structure