Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Visiting Researcher



m.heyns Website




Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I am a Schmidt Science Fellow working in the Gorgon simulation group, which is part of the larger Space and Atmospheric Physics group. The Gorgon magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) code was initially developed for plasma physics research, but has recently been adapted for use in near-Earth space weather modelling. My focus within this group is in providing operational MHD modelling of the near-Earth space environment, supporting initiative such as the NERC funded SWIMMR Activities in Ground Effects (SAGE) consortium. SAGE aims to use in-situ satellite data to deliver real-time space weather forecasting tools to the Met Office and ultimately at-risk end users, such as power utilities and railways. Additional research interest include generalising space weather forecasting using physics-based engines using machine learning techniques. Part of this work is through affiliation with I-X Space and the Machine Learning and Big Data in the Physical Sciences programme.

Additional Research Interests:

Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs): Modelling and analysis of GICs in the power grids with an emphasis on an operational context, uncertainty quantification and data-driven approaches.

Geomagnetic Field Interpolation: Interpolation of the geomagnetic field at mid-latitudes using equivalent current system approaches and the development of generalised uncertainty estimation given interpolation.

GIC Effective Geomagnetic Pulsations: Analysis and characterisation of the frequency response of GICs and associated GIC effective long-period pulsations, focussing on the mid-latitude regions.

Machine Learning for Space Weather: Developing machine learning based forecasting models to augment physics-based modelling efforts, while including interpretability and uncertainty estimation.

Activities at Imperial College:

Supervisor, M.Sci. and M.Sc. Physics & M.Res. MLBD, 2021-2023

Demonstrator, PHYS60012 - Computational Physics, 2022-2023

Mentor, OUTR60001 - How to Outreach, 2021-2023

A-levels Tutor, Department of Physics Outreach to Local Schools, 2021-2022


Before joining Imperial College London, I obtained my PhD from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT), while based at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Prior to focusing on the impacts of space weather on our power grids, I was part of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) and UCT's SpaceLab.



Heyns MJ, Lotz SI, Cilliers PJ, et al., 2023, Adaptations to a geomagnetic field interpolation method in Southern Africa, Advances in Space Research, Vol:72, ISSN:0273-1177, Pages:854-865

Archer M, Hartinger MD, Rastatter L, et al., 2023, Auroral, ionospheric and ground magnetic signatures of magnetopause surface modes, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol:128, ISSN:2169-9380, Pages:1-25

Archer MO, Hartinger MD, Rastatter L, et al., 2022, Auroral, Ionospheric and Ground Magnetic Signatures of Magnetopause Surface Modes

Smith AW, Forsyth C, Rae IJ, et al., 2022, On the considerations of using near real time data for space weather hazard forecasting, Space Weather, Vol:20, ISSN:1542-7390

Jankee P, Oyedokun D, Soltanian M, et al., 2022, Geomagnetically Induced Currents: Frequency Spectra and Threats to Voltage Stability, Ieee Access, Vol:10, ISSN:2169-3536, Pages:62484-62501

More Publications