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Personal profile

Research overview

As former Head of the Solar Theory Research Group in the Division of Applied Mathematics my theoretical research is on many aspects of magnetic field interactions with a fluid or plasma, especially the solar atmosphere but also including astrophysics, the solar wind and the Earth's Magnetosphere.


In particular, I am interested in magnetic instabilities, magnetic waves, magnetic equilibria and the conversion of magnetic energy to heat by magnetic reconnection. Much of this basic theory may have applications in the theory of the behaviour of electrically conducting liquids and of astrophysical plasmas.


Recently, I have been working on the nature of magnetic helicity, heating the solar atmosphere by flux cancellation and the physical effects of ambipolar diffusion


For further information, see the Solar and Magnetospheric MHD Theory Group

and Eric Priest's home page  https://eric-priest.github.io

and his home email eric.r.priest@gmail.com

Future research

My main research over the next year will be on the nature of magnetic reconnection in three dimensions, on mechanisms for heating the Sun's corona (especially by flux cancellation), and on the physical effects of ambipolar diffusion

Industrial relevance

laboratory plasma physics,

magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) of liquid metals

Academic/Professional Qualification

Ph.D., University of Leeds; M.Sc., University of Leeds; B.Sc., University of Nottingham; Royal Society; American Astronomical Society; American Geophysical Union; European Physical Society; Council of the Royal Astronomical Society; Royal Society of Edinburgh; Royal Society of Edinburgh's Physics, Astronomy and Electrical Engineering Sectional Committee

External positions

Affiliate Professor, Montana State University


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