Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group
University of Leicester
Radio and Space Plasma
Physics Group
Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group
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Prof S W H Cowley

Professor of Solar-Planetary Physics

Head of Radio & Space Plasma Physics Group

University Education & Degrees

Imperial College of Science & Technology, University of London (1965-1971)
BSc (Special), University of London, 1st Class Hons in Physics (1968)
Associate of the Royal College of Science, 1st Class Hons in Physics (1968)
PhD, University of London [Supervisor J.W. Dungey] (1972)
Diploma of Membership of the Imperial College [Physics and Mathematical Physics] (1972)


Chapman Medal, Royal Astronomical Society (1991)
Van Allen Lecturer, American Geophysical Union (1994)
Birkeland Lecturer, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (1994)
Fellow, American Geophysical Union (1995)
Golden EGS Badge Award, European Geophysical Society (2000)
Medal of the University of Helsinki (2003)
Gold Medal, Royal Astronomical Society (2006)
Julius Bartels Medal, European Geophysical Union (2006)
Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow (2006-2007)

Professional Societies

Institute of Physics (UK)
British Interplanetary Society
American Geophysical Union
Royal Astronomical Society (UK)
European Geophysical Society
International Academy of Astronautics

Principal International Activities

Member EISCAT Scientific Advisory Committee (1988-91)
Member EISCAT Council (1990-95)
Vice-Chairman IAGA Division III (1987-91)
Chairman IAGA Division III (1991-95)

Principal National Activities

Member British National Committee for Solar-Terrestrial Physics (1981-87)
Member RAL WDC Advisory Panel (1983-94); Chairman (1990-94)
Member and Deputy Chair SERC Solar System Committee (1984-85)
Member SERC Astronomy and Planetary Science Board (1986-89)
Member BNSC Space Science Programme Board (1990-92)
Member RAS Council (1991-95); Vice-Chairman (1993-95)
Royal Society National Representative for SCOSTEP (1992-1998)
Member PPARC Council (1994-96)
Chairman PPARC Cassini/Planetary Science Projects Review Panel (2002-2005)

Editorial Activities

Associate Editor Journal of Geophysical Research (1983-86)
Editorial Board Planetary and Space Science (1985-92)
Editorial Advisory Panel Physics World (1988-91)
Editor-in-Chief Annales Geophysicae (1992-99)
Editorial Board Space Science Reviews (1998-06)

Research Interests

Professor Cowley’s research has mainly concerned the large-scale dynamics of the coupled solar wind- magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere system of Earth and the planets, undertaken using a combination of theoretical and data analysis investigations. Particular contributions have been made to understanding the nature of the coupling processes which occur at the magnetopause interface between the Earth's magnetosphere and the shocked solar wind, to the excitation and decay of the large-scale flows in the Earth's magnetosphere-ionosphere system which are generated by these and other related processes, and related effects such as the aurora. Work has also been undertaken on the nature of the flow, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, and aurora at Jupiter and Saturn. For Earth’s system, observational research has emphasised the use of correlated ground-space data, particularly the SuperDARN and EISCAT radar systems and space missions such as Cluster. At Jupiter & Saturn use is made of coordinated remote sensing observations from ground-based telescopes and the HST, together with in situ data from the Galileo and Cassini orbiting spacecraft. Prof Cowley is an experiment Co-Investigator on the Cluster, Cassini, Rosetta, and Juno space missions.

Contact Details:

Postal Address:

Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Leicester
University Road

[+44] (0)116 223 1331

[+44] (0)116 252 3555


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