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Simulating the Sun: Can We Predict Solar Storms ?

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Friday, February 12, 2021 Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
St Andrews United Kingdom Applied Mathematics Astrophysics Other Theoretical Physics

About the Project

Magnetic fields permeate and structure the atmosphere of the Sun. These magnetic fields can be seen to vary from the smallest to the largest scales presently observable. One important property of these magnetic fields is that they contain vast amounts of energy which can be released during violent eruptions called solar flares or coronal mass ejections. Sometimes these eruptions are directed towards the Earth where they interact with the Earth Magnetosphere and cause disruptive space weather effects.

The goal of this PhD project is to develop and apply a new generation of data-driven mathematical models using the Magnetohydrodynamic Equations to quantify the evolution and build-up of energyin magnetic fields from the smallest to the largest scales on the Sun. In particular the project will apply and constrain the models against phenomena found in the solar atmosphere such as solar filaments, the Sun’s Open Flux and Coronal Mass Ejections. Through doing this the ultimate aim of the project is to be able to predict eruptions on the Sun.

The project is suitable for any Physics or Mathematics graduate who is comfortable with using computer systems. Knowledge of numerical techniques, Python or Fortan 90, MPI is desirable but not essential as training will be provided in these areas.

For more details about the group, please visit our website:

For information about the School and the application procedure in general, please see:

Funding Notes

Applicants should have (or be about to complete) an undergraduate degree and/or taught postgraduate degree in (applied) mathematics or (theoretical) physics. Successful applicants usually have a very good UK First Class Honours degree (or equivalent).

Eligible applicants will be considered for UK research council funding (STFC) if available.

Applicants graduating from a Scottish university may be eligible to apply for a Carnegie PhD Scholarship (for details see View Website, please note the deadline of 12 January 2021).

Applicants with Chinese citizenship may be eligible for funding by the China Scholarship Council (for details see View Website , deadline 7 January 2021).

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