Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Professor of Physics



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




6M65Huxley 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.


The upcoming launch of the Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter spacecraft will open a new chapter in our exploration of the near-Sun environment and the links between phenomena on the Sun and in interplanetary space. We have recently been working on analysis of the 40 year old Helios data set and have discovered short, high velocity plasma "spikes" that may be the interplanetary signatures of coronal jets. 

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.


UK Space Agency: Principal Investigator, Solar Orbiter Magnetometer

STFC: Principal Investigator, Space and Planetary Physics Consolidated grant


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

Alexander Schekochihin, University of Oxford

Miriam Forman, SUNY Stony Brook, Solar wind turbulence

Research Staff


Research Student Supervision

Stansby,D, Solar wind fine scale structure