Radiation Belt Research Associate

British Antarctic Survey

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has an opening for a research scientist to work on an NERC funded project: Modelling the acceleration, transport and loss of radiation belt electrons to protect satellites from space weather (Rad-Sat). Rad-Sat is led by Professor Richard Horne at BAS and brings together scientists from BAS and 4 UK universities with representatives from space insurance and satellite operators to deepen our understanding of the electron radiation belts and improve our forecasting capability.

The successful post holder will work on understanding the effects of different types of plasma waves on the transport, acceleration and loss of high energy electrons in the Earth’s radiation belts. They will use the PADIE code to calculate diffusion rates due to wave-particle interactions with plasmaspheric hiss, lightning-generated whistlers, transmitters and magnetosonic waves. The diffusion rates will then be incorporated into the BAS Radiation Belt Model (BAS-RBM). The BAS-RBM will be used for case studies comparing model output with satellite data to determine the effectiveness of each wave type. The candidate will be expected to write software to manage a large number of data files and contribute to model development and visualisation.

You will need a Ph.D. in physics, maths or a directly relevant subject, relevant experience in space (including Astronomy) or plasma physics and experience developing large computer codes. A working knowledge of the radiation belts, wave-particle interactions and plasma physics would be an advantage, as would experience of working with large data sets, numerical modelling and high performance computing.

The post is based in Cambridge and does not involve Antarctic duties. It is a fixed term appointment for up to 3 years, starting as soon as possible after 1 November 2017.


  • 1st or 2.1 degree with substantial Mathematics and Physics content.
  • Ph.D. in Mathematics, Physics or directly relevant subject.


To conduct research as part of the Rad-Sat team, under the guidance of the PI, Professor Richard Horne. In particular:

  • To calculate diffusion coefficients for various types of waves using the PADIE code. Since tens of thousands of PADIE runs are required to create a diffusion matrix, this process will be automated using scripts to create input files, submit HPC runs and post-process the results.
  • To use the BAS 3-d Radiation Belt Model to model case events, to investigate the roles of the different waves and other processes in radiation belt dynamics.
  • To contribute to the development and testing of the new 4d radiation belt model that will be developed during the project and to write new visualisation software for the output as required.
  • To disseminate results by writing scientific papers for peer review publications, and by giving presentations at conferences and meetings in the UK and abroad.

On-line application forms and further information are available at: www.bas.ac.uk/vacancies

Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 8th October 2017

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome.

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