I am a professor in space physics working at the University of Helsinki. With my team I’m studying how giant plasma clouds, coronal mass ejections, form at the Sun and propagate through the solar wind, and how they disturb Earth’s space environment.
A short scientific bio
I was born in Oulu, a city located in Northern Finland. At those latitudes auroras were frequent during winter, 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 grown ever since.
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 twin NASA’s STEREO mission that is still partly in operation. (I even got a chance to see the 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 finally tenure track. The highlights of my career have been receiving the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016 and being a team leader in Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research for Sustainable Space. And of course, seeing my students and postdocs to enjoy their work and find their place, either in academia or outside of it.
Research and supervising continue my primary passions, but I enjoy teaching and outreach. I give lectures and seminars, visit schools and organize public activities.
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 flexible anymore..), the opportunity to travel and getting to know great people all over the world.
If not doing science I’m spending time with my family, being out at the sea, and dancing Hawaiian hula and doing yoga.