I am a Reader in Space Physics in the Blackett laboratory and a member of the space and atmospheric physics research group. I am also the director of Space Lab, the College Network of Excellence connecting all of Imperial's space expertise.
I combine blue-sky research into fundamental space plasma physics, particularly magnetic reconnection, with a program of challenge-led research into severe space weather. To do this, I combine spacecraft data analysis, the construction and flight of space instrumentation, and the development of novel computer simulations for space weather modelling and prediction
- Space Plasma Physics: I am particularly interested in a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection which occurs in the boundaries between different space plasmas. As well as changing the topology of the magnetic field in space, it also rapidly releases energy stored in the magnetic field, creating jets of hot plasma. To study reconnection I analyse data from a variety of spacecraft and I am a member of several operating science missions including Cluster (ESA), THEMIS/ARTEMIS (NASA), STEREO (NASA), Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (NASA) and Solar Orbiter (ESA).
- Space Weather Modelling: Whilst reconnection occurs in a wide variety of astrophysical and laboratory plasma settings, in the Earth’s magnetosphere it causes geomagnetic storms, an example of space weather. Space weather is on the UK national risk register because it is a very significant threat to
infrastructure resilience (e.g. power blackouts, satellite damage). At Imperial my research group is developing new space weather models and transitioning them to use both nationally at the Met Office, and internationally with the European Space Agency.
- Space Instrumentation: I am leading the development of new space instrumentation for both space plasma physics and space weather. This builds on the space and atmospheric physics group's considerable heritage and experience in space magnetometry. In particular I lead Imperial's involvement in the space weather RadCube project which launched in August 2021. I am also leading Imperial's involvement in the European Space Agency Lagrange space weather mission, planned for launch in the mid-2020's.
Previously, I worked at the University of California, Berkeley, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD where I held a National Research Council Resident Research Associateship. From 2010-2014 I held an STFC Advanced Fellowship at Imperial. In 2012 I was awarded the COSPAR Zeldovich Medal (Commission D).
et al., 2023, Space plasma physics science opportunities for the lunar orbital platform - Gateway, Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, Vol:10
et al., 2023, ICARUS: in-situ studies of the solar corona beyond Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter, Experimental Astronomy, Vol:54, ISSN:0922-6435, Pages:277-315
et al., 2023, Climatological predictions of the auroral zone locations driven by moderate and severe space weather events, Scientific Reports, Vol:13, ISSN:2045-2322, Pages:1-11
et al., 2022, Successive interacting coronal mass ejections: How to create a perfect storm?, The Astrophysical Journal: an International Review of Astronomy and Astronomical Physics, Vol:941, ISSN:0004-637X
et al., 2022, Response timescales of the magnetotail current sheet during a geomagnetic storm: global MHD simulations, Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, Vol:9, ISSN:2296-987X, Pages:1-17