Dr Tom Knight MPhys (Wales), PhD (Wales - Aberystwyth)

Lecturer in Planetary Physics

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Department of Physics

Phone: 01970 621588


I graduated with an MPhys (Dissertation: "Constructing and Modelling Hydrodynamic Processes using Smoothed Particle Algorithms") from University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2008, after four years of study, and immediately entered my STFC funded PhD working with the Solar System Physics Research Group. After submitting my Thesis, "Smoothed Particle Magnetohydrodynamics for the Solar Corona", in 2012 I became a Research and Teaching Assistant within IMAPS, Aberystwyth University. After graduating in 2013, I started as a UK Space Agency funded PDRA at IMPACS, Aberystwyth University, working with numerous institutions across the world including IRF (Sweden), Physikalisches Institut (University of Bern, Switzerland), APL (John Hopkins University, USA), Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany), Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (Japan), and many others, developing the Particle Environment Package (PEP) for the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE).

Research interests

The coherent thread binding my research is computational physics and analysis. At the conclusion of my PhD, my research focus moved from theory (in the form of numerical method construction and physical validation) to application. Through my next two research positions I performed radiation analysis as part of the ongoing design and development effort for PEP that will fly with ESAs JUICE mission (see Biography). This primarily concerned optimisation of the signal-to-noise ratio for the detectors of the numerous instruments, but also included the calibration of modelling software and validation of simulations. In my current role, I assist on a number of research projects and teams, including PEP and ISSI Research Team: Radiation Interactions at Planetary Bodies.