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The variability of the Earth’s electron radiation belt


Project Description

The Earth’s electron radiation belts consist of high energy (relativistic) electrons which are trapped by the Earth’s external magnetic field and which circulate around the Earth. The electron flux is highly variable and causes damage to electronic components on satellites via charging and discharges. Applications are invited for an exciting PhD studentship research project to study the variability of the Earth’s outer radiation belt, and to increase the forecasting accuracy of current prediction codes.

The successful student will be expected to develop wave-particle interaction models which control the acceleration and loss of relativistic electrons and incorporate them into the British Antarctic Survey radiation belt model (BAS-RBM). The student will also be required to develop new radiation belt boundary models and devise new methods to improve the forecasting accuracy up to one day ahead. The work will also involve substantial testing of the model against satellite data.

Applicants are required to have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or an Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or equivalent, in Physics, or a closely related relevant subject. Additionally, candidates should have a working knowledge of FORTRAN, C or a similar compiled high-level computer language. A background in plasma physics, knowledge of the Earth’s radiation belts, experience developing numerical models or experience of working with large data sets would be an advantage.

The students will be an active member of the University of Cambridge NERC C-CLEAR DTP and BAS student cohorts, with opportunities to participate fully in both the C-CLEAR DTP and BAS training programmes.

The successful applicant will be registered with BAS for a degree at the University of Cambridge Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) and must therefore fulfil the University’s graduate admission entry requirements. The supervising team will be led by Professor Richard Horne at BAS with Dr Giulio Del Zanna at DAMTP and Dr Sarah Glauert at BAS. The student will be based at BAS, Cambridge and share their time between BAS and DAMTP

Applications must be made through the University of Cambridge Graduate Admissions portal “PhD in Antarctic Studies” course entry Lent 2021. Closing date for applications: 15th April 2020. Please note that interviews for these studentships will be held very shortly after the closing date.

For further information please contact: Prof Richard Horne , Dr Giulio Del Zanna or Dr Sarah Glauert

Funding Notes

This studentship is fully funded by BAS for 3.5 years commencing October 2020. To be eligible for funding applicants must be a UK or EU national who has been wholly resident in the UK for the last 3 years or more and up to the commencement of the studentship in October 2020. We will only consider applicants who meet this criteria. Applicants must meet the same eligibility requirements as those applying for a fully funded UKRI studentship.


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