In Search of the Northern Lights

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Dr Jim Wild

The aurora borealis has captivated observers since ancient times.  In regions bordering the Arctic Circle, aurorae feature heavily in the mythology and folklore of numerous cultures, but what causes these beautiful displays in the polar sky?  This talk will explore our planet’s intimate relationship with the Sun and reveals the source of the northern lights. 
Jim’s research interests include the investigating of the electromagnetic link between the Sun and the Earth that controls the space environment surrounding our planet, and the hazards it poses to human technology.  Jim studied for a degree in Physics with Space Science and Technology before completing a doctorate in solar-terrestrial physics at the University of Leicester. He is now a lecturer in the Space Plasma Environment and Radio Science Group in Lancaster University’s Department of Communication Systems. His research investigates the physics behind the aurora borealis (sometimes known as the northern lights), the impact of space weather on human technology and the interaction between the Martian atmosphere and the interplanetary environment.  As well as exploiting an international flotilla of satellites, Jim’s research has regularly taken him to the high arctic to carry out experiments.
As a passionate science communicator, Jim has established himself as a popular speaker for public audiences and he also contributes to print and broadcast media.