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Brief Biography

Prof S. C. Chapman, Ph.D D.I.C.(Physics) BSc(Hons) A.R.C.S.(Physics) , CPhys FInstP, FRAS

Sandra Chapman is primarily but not exclusively a plasma physicist working on problems in astrophysics and in the laboratory. She is currently Professor of Physics and Director of the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics at the University of Warwick.

She read Physics on an Exhibition Scholarship to Imperial College, London. Her interest in nonlinear systems began with a PhD (also at Imperial College, 1985) on chaotic charged particles in the earth's magnetosphere. This early work was recognised with the COSPAR Zeldovich Medal (commission D) and the EGS Young Scientists' Medal. She was selected to give the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society James Dungey Lecture [watch the video] and the 2020 Ed Lorenz Lecture at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union [watch the video]. Sandra is part of a team awarded a 2021 Lloyd's of London Science of Risk Prize. She has been awarded the 2022 Royal Astronomical Society Chapman Medal and the 2024 Johannes Alfvén Medal of the European Geosciences Union.

She has pioneered the development of nonlinear and complex systems approaches to solar system and laboratory plasmas and more widely, to problems outside plasma physics including climate and neuroscience. Her work using large scale numerical simulation (High Performance Computing) and modelling has included wave- particle interactions, comets, plasma acceleration and heating both in the solar system, at astrophysical shocks and in magnetically confined plasmas for fusion. She has a longstanding interest in quantitative characterization of data, in particular, plasma turbulence, and her recent work develops generic data analytics methods such as network science for application to 'real world' physical systems, including earth's space weather [watch the BBC report] and observations of our changing climate.

As well as a number of STFC, EPSRC and EC funded research programmes her research has been recognised with several personal research fellowships including from PPARC, the Royal Society and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Nuffield Foundation, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard. She held a 2017/18 Fulbright-Lloyd's of London Scholarship at the Center for Space Physics, Dept. of Astronomy at Boston University. She is the 2023 Johannes Geiss Fellow of the ISSI, Bern.

She has held visiting Professorships at the Universities of Kyoto and Uppsala and was a Senior Visiting Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden and the Potsdam Insitute for Climate Impact Research. She is an Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Tromso.

She has published over 200 papers in the refereed literature and a textbook on Electrodynamics. She is also an artist who works to bridge the ‘arts- science divide’ and has held a NESTA Dreamtime fellowship – working as an artist with the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica.

An even briefer biography...