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Theo Murphy international scientific meeting organised by Dr Ineke De Moortel and Professor Philippa Browning.
It has been known for more than half a century that – surprisingly - the Sun’s atmosphere is far hotter than its surface. This meeting will be dedicated to the long standing ‘coronal heating problem’, bringing together theoretical experts with modellers and observers to assess current understanding and debate the most promising strategy to ensure further progress.
Enquiries: Contact the events team
Dr Ineke De Moortel, University of St Andrews, UK
Biography not yet available
Professor Philippa Browning, University of Manchester, UK
Philippa Browning graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge and then obtained a PhD in Solar Physics at the University of St Andrews. Subsequently, she lectured in Physics at UMIST and is now Professor in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. Her research field is theoretical plasma physics, with applications both the solar atmosphere and to magnetically-confined fusion plasmas. Her recent research focuses on the process of magnetic reconnection and its role in energy release and particle acceleration. The main aims of this research are to understand how stored magnetic energy is released in solar flares, and to explain how the solar corona is heated to millions of degrees. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and chairs the IOP Plasma Physics Group. She is Editor of “Journal of Geophysical Research – Space Physics”.
Dr Jim Klimchuk, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center USAe coronal heating problem: current understanding and future directions
James Klimchuk is a research astrophysicist in the Heliophysics Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He specializes in studying the solar corona—the multi-million degree outer atmosphere of the Sun that is the primary source of “space weather” that can wreck havoc with technological systems here at Earth. Of particular interest is the question of how the corona is heated to its extreme temperatures. Dr Klimchuk approaches research problems with a close coordination of theory and observation. He has used data from every solar mission ranging from SMM, to SOHO, to SDO.
Dr Klimchuk has held numerous elected and appointed leadership positions, including current President of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union, Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and President of Commission 10 of the International Astronomical Union. He currently chairs the committee that advises NASA on solar and heliospheric physics.
Dr Klimchuk is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and recipient of the John C Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. He earned a BA in physics from Kalamazoo College and a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado in 1985. He worked at Stanford University and the Naval Research Laboratory before joining NASA.
Professor Joan Schmelz, University of Memphis, USAWhat can observations tell us about coronal heating?
Joan Schmelz is a solar physicist who received her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Penn State University in 1987. She then joined the operations team for the Solar Maximum Mission Satellite at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She is now a professor at University of Memphis and carries out research to investigate of coronal heating as well as the properties and dynamics of the solar atmosphere. She currently serves as a program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences. Schmelz also is the current chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.
Dr Hardi Peter, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, GermanyWhat can large scale MHD experiments tell us about coronal heating
Dr Paola Testa, CFA Harvard, USAWhat can we learn about coronal heating from other stars?
Paola Testa is an Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She received her doctorate in Physics at the University of Palermo (Italy) on the topic of coronal activity in the Sun and other stars. After her graduate studies she held a post-doctoral appointment at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and since 2008 she is a staff astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in the Solar and Stellar X-ray group.
Her research focuses on understanding the heating mechanisms and X-ray emission processes in the hot outer layers of the atmosphere of the Sun and other stars. Her interests encompass a wide range of astrophysical sources including the Sun, late-type main sequence and pre-main sequence stars, and early-type stars.
Professor Peter Cargill, Imperial College/University of St Andrews, UKModels of nanoflares: MHD and plasma response
Peter Cargill is currently Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College and Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. Since his PhD in 1981, he has worked on solar and space plasma physics, leading to 165 publications. In particular, his work since the early 1990s on nanoflare models for solar coronal heating has been very influential in the current direction of the topic.
Dr Inigo Arregui, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), Spain Magnetohydrodynamic wave heating of the solar atmosphere
Dr Arregui is an astrophysicist with expertise on theoretical magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a union of fluid dynamics and electromagnetism to study the dynamics of magnetised plasmas in astrophysical settings. He obtained a PhD in Physics at Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain, 2003) with a thesis on MHD waves in the solar atmosphere. He has carried out research in Spain and Belgium, as a postdoctoral researcher; and in Japan, as visiting associate professor. At present, Dr Arregui holds a enure-track position at Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain).
His research is focused on the interpretation and modelling of MHD wave activity in the solar atmosphere, the design of inversion and model comparison tools for remote sensing of the physical conditions and the dynamics of solar atmospheric plasmas, and the study of wave based plasma heating mechanisms. He aims at further developing the fields of seismology and wave heating of the solar atmosphere in combination with observations from space solar missions.
Dr Marco Velli, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USAThe role of turbulence in coronal heating
Professor Dana Longcope, Montana State University, USAThe role of reconnection in coronal heating
Professor Clare Parnell, University of St Andrews, UKThe importance of magnetic topology for coronal heating
In 1991, Clare Parnell graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc Hons (1st Class) in Mathematics and in 1994 she completed her PhD in Solar MHD Theory from the University of St Andrews. A decade as a postdoc followed during which time she studied at St Andrews University and Stanford University, California. Whilst at St Andrews, she was self funded for most of the time through a PPARC Fellowship, a RAS Norman Lockyer Fellowship and a PPARC Advanced Fellowship. In 2003, she was awarded a lectureship and gained promotion to Reader in 2008 and Professor in 2011. Her research interests centre around magnetic fields. In particular, their structure and topology and their evolution through the process of magnetic reconnection. Her work is mainly focused on numerical MHD studies, but she is also interested in understanding the behaviour of observed magnetic fields through various automated feature tracking algorithms. To date, she has been awarded both the RAS Fowler Prize and a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research.
Dr Antonia Wilmot-Smith, University of Dundee, UKAn overview of flux braiding experiments
Antonia Wilmot-Smith is currently a lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Dundee. She obtained a PhD in Solar Theory at the University of St Andrews in 2007 and then took a position as an STFC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Dundee. Her research field is magnetohydrodynamics, particularly focusing on modelling the solar atmosphere. Her current primary topics of interest are the heating of coronal loops via magnetic braiding, as well as basic models for magnetic reconnection.
Dr Michael Bareford, University of St Andrews, UKThe significance of kink instabilities in coronal heating
Michael Bareford began is academic career at the University of Manchester (2008-11), where he gained a PhD entitled "The Heating of the Solar Corona by Kink Instabilities". This work concerned the behaviour of locally twisted magnetic fields within the corona (i.e., coronal loops), and in particular, the nature of the field subsequent to kink instability. Numerical simulations have revealed low energy fields that are consistent with Taylor relaxation theory.Since November 2011 he has worked as a post-doctoral research assistant with the Solar MHD Theory group at the University of St Andrews, where he has continued his research on coronal heating. Latterly, Michael has focused on the numerical modelling of the specific mechanisms that could be involved in magnetic energy dissipation, such as Ohmic dissipation and shock heating. Michael is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (since 2009) and in his spare time he enjoys hill running and hiking in Scotland.
Dr Bart De Pontieu, Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), USA IRIS observations of the chromosphere and transition region and their connection to the corona
Dr Bart De Pontieu is a senior staff physicist at the Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), which is part of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California, USA. He received his doctorate at the University of Ghent, Belgium and the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), Garching-bei-München, Germany on the topic of jets in the solar atmosphere driven by MHD waves. The title of his thesis was “Chromospheric Spicules driven by Alfvén waves”. He moved to LMSAL in 1999 after post-doctoral appointments at the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, and an Otto Hahn fellowship from the Max Planck Society at the Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research (SLISR). His research focuses on understanding how the Sun’s magnetic field energizes the coupled solar atmosphere from the photosphere into the corona and heliosphere, with a focus on combining high resolution space-based and ground-based multi-wavelength observations with advanced numerical modeling to better understand the coupling between photosphere, chromosphere and corona.
Dr Juan Martinez-Sykora, LMSAL/University of Oslo, NorwayThe role of partial ionization and heating in chromosphere
Dr Martínez-Sykora is a research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (BAERI) and Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab (LMSAL). He completed his undergraduate degree (2004) and Master thesis (2006) in Astrophysics. The latter was under the supervision of Prof. Fernando Moreno-Insertis at the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain. He received his PhD degree at the University of Oslo, Norway in 2009 on the subject of 3D radiative magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of "Flux Emergence from the Convection Zone to the Corona" under the supervision of Professor Viggo H Hansteen and Professor Mats Carlsson. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oslo and a visiting scientist at Stanford University and LMSAL for the next three years. In 2013 he became a research scientist at BAERI and LMSAL. Since his postdoc position, Dr. Martinez-Sykora has been focusing on radiation MHD modeling of the solar atmosphere and comparisons with high resolution space and ground-based spectral and imaging observations under Professor Bart De Pontieu guidance.
Professor Eric Priest FRS, University of St Andrews, UKClosing address
Eric Priest completed his PhD thesis with TG Cowling at Leeds in 1969, having moved to a tenured position at St Andrews University in 1968. He helped build up the Solar MHD group there and is now an active emeritus professor.
He has edited 15 books and written over 450 research papers. His earlier book Solar Magnetohydrodynamics (1982) has been completely rewritten from scratch to be reborn as Magnetohydrodynamics of the Sun. Honours include being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (2002), and being was awarded the Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society (2002) and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2009). Hobbies include singing, playing bridge, climbing hills, keeping fit and enjoying his family. He also has an interest in issues of science and religion.
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