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Professor Sandra Chapman

Sandra Chapman is primarily a plasma astrophysicist. She is currently a Fulbright-Lloyd's of London scholar for the academic year 2017/18. She is also Professor of Physics and Director of the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics at the University of Warwick and a core member of Warwick's Complexity Complex.

Her interest in nonlinear systems began with a PhD at Imperial College on chaotic charged particles in the earth's magnetosphere. She pursues a broad range of interests centred on nonlinear plasma physics. These include large scale numerical simulation (High Performance Computing) relevant to 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 pioneered the development of complex systems approaches to solar system and laboratory plasmas and recently more widely, to problems outside plasma physics. She develops and applies data mining techniques to ‘real world’ complex systems, and plasma turbulence.

As well as being responsible for 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 Insitute for Advanced Study Harvard. She has held visiting Professorships at the Universities of Kyoto and Uppsala.

How did your journey into science begin?

From as long as I remember I was always the kid asking 'why?'. Watching the moon landings decided it by showing me what was possible.

What is your favourite thing about your research?

Combining creativity and discovery.

Why do you think it is important to highlight women and gender minorities in science? What does it mean to you?

We have some big challenges ahead and if science is going to meet those challenges, we need all the talent that we can get.

Working at Warwick...
"I pioneered astro- and fusion plasma physics research at Warwick, and was the first female professor to be appointed in the Physics Department here. My work has consistently benefited from the open, entrepreneurial, 'can do' attitude for which Warwick is rightly well known."
 - Sandra Chapman