Personal Details and Interests
(For more recent photos and news than those below, see Photos and
A Brief CV
|7/11/43||Born in Birmingham, UK|
|1965||B Sc (1st class) in Mathematics at Nottingham University|
|1968||Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at St Andrews University|
|1969||PhD entitled "Magnetohydrodynamic Neutral Point Theory" under T G Cowling at Leeds University |
|1977||Reader in Applied Mathematics at St Andrews|
|1983||Personal Chair in Theoretical Solar Physics at St Andrews|
|1985||Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh|
|1988-91 ||President of International Astronomical Union's Commission on Solar Activity|
|1992-97||SERC/PPARC Senior Fellow|
|1992, 1995, 2008||Member of UK Research Assessment Exercise Applied Mathematics Panel|
|1994||Member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters|
|1996-98||Convener of the Mathematics Committee of the Royal Society of Edinburgh|
|1997||James Gregory Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews|
|1998||Lindsay Memorial Lecture at Goddard Space Flight Center
|1998-01||Chair of PPARC's Astronomy Committee and co-Chair of its Science Committee
|2000||James Arthur prize Lecturer at Harvard University|
|2002||Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society|
| Fellow of the Royal Society|
|Bishop Wardlaw Professor at St Andrews|
|2006|| Rosseland Lecture at Oslo University|
| Robinson Lecture at Armagh|
|2009|| Gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society|
|Payne-Gaposchkin medal and prize of the Institute of Physics|
|Larmor Lecture at Belfast|
|2010||Retired and made an Emeritus Professor|
|2011||Awarded 2-year Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship|
The aspects of life that are important to me are: my family, Christianity, sport, music, research and teaching, as described below.
My Family (wife and children):
The Family at Andy & Cathy's Wedding in 2000
Clare looks after us all with great care and is a wonderful mother, wife and friend. She has lots of varied activities, including being a person-centred counsellor in Dundee:
Clare with Matt and Nim at Xmas
Clare pondering nature
Andrew (41) did a PhD in solid state physics at Oxford and then a two-year conversion course to medical physics. He is now a research medical physicist at Addenbrooks hospital, Cambridge, specialising in magnetic resonance imaging; he is married to Cathy who is a lovely lass:
Andrew and Cathy
David (36) did a degree in plant science at Glasgow University and a Ph D at York
on plant biochemstry. He taught English for six months in Sri Lanka and then travelled to Spain and Peru for a year to learn Spanish and have fun. Since then he has been in East Africa doing his bit towards a "green revolution for Africa". He now works in Kenya for
FIPS-Africa (Farm Input Promotions),
a non-profit-making company that helps farmers grow better crops more effectively:
David (left) bumping into Jon Snow on a beach in Sri Lanka
Matthew (36) graduated at Aberdeen in plant science and worked with Voluntary Service Overseas in the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador -- in a small research station hours away from the nearest village (see the picture below).
He now works as a
massage therapist in Edinburgh.
He and David have bought a flat in Edinburgh together:
Matthew (bottom left) in the jungle
Naomi (31) has a charming personality. She did a degree in psychology at Glasgow University, and then worked as a bar maid in a local pub in Glasgow in order to fund a year traveling round the world. She then did a two-year post-graduate diploma in speech therapy and is delighted to have a job as a speech therapist with children in Lanarkshire -- it is great to see her entering into a profession which is clearly just right for her.
Naomi at the Wedding
My Family (mother, brother and sister):
I also have an incredible 95-year old mother Olive (next to me below), with an amazingly lively mind, who lives near my lovely sister June (right below) and her husband Arthur and with her daughter Natalie (husband Paul and children Jonathan and Aiden):
My mother Olive, sister June and brother Gerry:
June, Natalie, Clare and Jonathan:
Gerry is a superb photographer as you can see from his web site
I am on a life-long pilgrimage and am particularly interested in relations between science and religion, for which Alan Torrance and many others have helped me run a series of "James Gregory" public lectures. I enjoy attending a local Scottish Episcopal church in St Andrews and occasionally the University College chapel, as well as a regular discussion/prayer group. I also help out on the Church of Scotland's Science Religion and Technology Committee and the Scottish Episcopal Church's Doctrine Committee
I take gentle exercise to help keep fit in body and mind, especially cycling to and from work, circuits or aerobics a couple of times a week with university staff and students, occasional hill walking at weekends (which is a marvellous way of exploring beautiful parts of Scotland), and weekly bridge.
Singing in the both St Andrews Chorus and the church choir gives me a lot of pleasure.
Research and Teaching
I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the students at the University and was sorry that stopped when I retired in September 2009 -- but only from teaching and administration, since I have lots of ideas still to research on -- I have an office and have the same work hours as before, rewriting the book Solar MHD and interacting widely with the research group. I feel highly fortunate to be part of such a lively and supportive group, with my long-term colleagues and friends such as Bernie Roberts, Alan Hood, Thomas Neukirch, Klaus Galsgaard, Clare Parnell, Duncan Mackay, and many others including Gunnar Hornig, David Pontin and Antonia Wilmot-Smith in nearby Dundee. To me, one of the most enjoyable of life's activities is to discuss and debate new ideas with students and postdocs in the Group, or with one of my favourite visitors (such as Terry Forbes, Jean Heyvaerts, Slava Titov, or Dana Longcope) and see the ideas crystallise and come to maturity.
In 2000 Terry Forbes and I were delighted to give birth to a new baby in the form of a book entitled Magnetic Reconnection: MHD Theory and Applications. At present, I am again "with book" as I work hard on a complete rewrite of "Solar MHD", originally published in 1982.
Great surprises were the award of
the Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society and
also election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Equally surprising right out of the blue this year were the award of the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold medal and the Institute of Physics Payne-Gaposchkin medal and prize. I regard these very much as recognition of the excellence of the work of the Solar MHD research group as a whole.
Bernie and Terry at the Wedding
A happy evening with Jean in Strasbourg
Terry enjoying a meal in Santa Barbara
A few more pictures of the family:
Matt and Clare on the Ring of Kerry
Dave, Andy and Matt at the Wedding
Matt and Nim opening Xmas stockings
Brother Gerry, Matt, Andrew, Cathy, her sister (Juliette, a great sport) and Nim skiing in Risoul
Matt, Gerry, Nim and I at Risoul
Nim at Risoul
Nim and I enjoying short skis