Personal profile


I am an applied mathematician at the University of St Andrews, conducting research in solar physics.

Research overview

In particular, my major areas of research are:

  • the evolution of the Sun's global magnetic field;
  • coronal heating via nanoflares;
  • diagnosing the nature of 3D magnetic reconnection.

For further information, please see my personal website.

Research interests

My research is in solar magnetohydrodynamics, studying how plasma in the Sun interacts with its magnetic field to cause the solar phenomena that we observe.

Global magnetic field modelling

Much of the Sun's activity is controlled by its global magnetic field, which evolves in response to processes of surface flux transport and to the emergence of new magnetic flux through the photosphere. Using magnetofrictional simulations, which are informed by observational data for the emergence of new flux, I study that evolution, and how it gives rise to various significant magnetic structures in the corona. Especially important are the formation, growth, and eruption of filaments.

Coronal heating

Like many, I work on the coronal heating problem, investigating processes that create and sustain hot temperatures in the Sun's atmosphere. In particular, I study how highly stressed and turbulent magnetic fields give rise to local magnetic instabilities, which can start recurring chains of small, reconnection-triggered heating events—'nanoflares'—that dissipate magnetic energy and cumulatively provide great heating across a range of spatio-temporal scales.

Magnetic reconnection

Through magnetic reconnection, magnetic field lines 'are broken and re-joined' and the topology of magnetic fields changed. As reconnection is thus instrumental in the evolution of magnetic fields, I explore its onset and effects in MHD plasmas. My work on reconnection has included a focus on the locations at which it occurs in turbulent magnetic fields.

Profile Keywords

Solar magnetohydrodynamics (MHD); global magnetic field modelling; coronal heating; magnetic reconnection