I am 39 year old associate professor in space physics working at the University of Helsinki. With my team I’m studying how giant plasma clouds from the Sun, coronal mass ejections, form and how they evolve and propagate in interplanetary space, and how they disturb the Earth and other planets of our solar system. We develop both advanced data-driven simulations and perform comprehensive data-analysis using a comprehensive set of satellite measurements.
A short scientific bio
I was born in the city of Oulu, located in the northern Finland. At those latitudes the auroras were frequent during the wintertime, but in high school I was more fascinated by supernovae, black holes and other exotic objects than our nearest star.
After studying theoretical physics and astronomy for a few years at the University of Helsinki, I managed a summer job at the Finnish Meteorological Institute where I was asked to investigate eruptions from the Sun and how they affect the Earth’s magnetosphere. I got immediately hooked and my interest has only been growing over the years.
I did both my master’s thesis and PhD at the University of Helsinki. Shortly after receiving my PhD in 2005 I moved to sunny California to work at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley. The primary focus of my post-doctoral period was the NASA’s STEREO mission that is still observing the Sun and the heliosphere at widely separated vantage points. (I even got a chance to see the STEREO launch in Florida!)
After returning to Helsinki University in 2008 I have steadily moved up the academic ladder, first being university post-doc, then Academy Research Fellow, university lecturer and then associate professor (tenure track). The highlights of my career so far have been receiving the prestious ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016 round and being a team leader in newly established Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research for Sustainable Space (FORESAIL).
Scientific research and supervising continues my primary passion, but I enjoy teaching and doing outreach. I give regularly lectures at the University of Helsinki, visits schools, give seminars and organize public events.
The best thing about being a scientist is the interesting, challenging work—every day is different and you keep learning new things. I also enjoy flexible working hours (although not so much anymore..), the opportunity to travel to many interesting places and getting to know great people all over the world.
If not doing science I’m spending time with my 6-year old daughter, being out at the sea, and dancing Hawaiian hula and ballet.