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
Field lines illustrating global magnetic field

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
Coronal heating problem

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
Reconnecting magnetic field lines

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.


In my work, it has been my pleasure to collaborate with many colleagues: