Looking for summer trainees!

The UH Space Physics Group is looking for several summer trainees! Summer trainees will work with space weather simulation Vlasiator and with the projects investigating solar eruptions in the corona and interplanetary space. Both projects dealing with modelling and data analysis are possible. Experience with Python and basics of plasma physics are a plus, but not required. Summer trainee positions offer an excellent chance also for BSc and MSc theses!

A short overview of some of our offered topics are listed below, full descriptions and staff members who can answer your questions can be found in our thesis section. You may indicate in your application what project/which projects you would in particular be interested in and whether you have any preference between modelling, observations/data analysis or theory. Also, please indicate if you would like to do your BSc or MSc work based on your summer trainee work.

Please apply for these positions through the Department of Physics summer trainee application system!

  • Exploring Properties of Solar Storms Using Radio Observations and Modelling of Magnetic Fields
    This project combines radio observations from ground-based facilitates and UH space physics teams advanced coronal models to study emission mechanisms and origin of radio burst in solar eruptions. The work will be done most in Python. Training will be provided to use the required tools.
  • Energy transfer at the Magnetopause
    The magnetopause separates the Earth’s magnetosphere from interplanetary space. Magnetospheric dynamics such as auroras are driven by energy transferred from the solar wind. This project will utilise Vlasiator to develop a method for magnetopause detection and perform analysis of energy transfer at the magnetopause as a function of driving conditions. Knowledge of Python is recommended.
  • Turbulent fluctuations in CME-driven sheath regions
    This project studies properties of the turbulence in sheaths regions driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CME sheaths are major cause of ‘space weather’ at the Earth. The project will involve a mix of data analysis and theory, some background knowledge of basic plasma physics would be useful but not essential.
  • Magnetic structures at the Earth’s bow shock
    Plasma shock waves can accelerate particles to very high energies. This project will use the four MMS spacecraft to study the structure and properties of SLAMS (short large amplitude magnetic structures) at the Earth’s bow shock. Results will be compared with Vlasiator simulations of the bow shock and SLAMS that form there. Knowledge of python and/or matlab is preferred.
  • Space weather modelling with EUHFORIA
    UH is actively engaged in the development of a novel European space weather tool named EUHFORIA. This project conducts runs with EUHFORIA, in particular with its flux rope module, and assess the accuracy of the space weather predictions. The work includes running the model and analysis of the output. Some experience with coding is desired, e.g. in Python.
  • Numerical analysis of Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere
    Precipitation of particles from the Earth’s magnetosphere into the upper atmosphere is responsible not only for auroral emissions, but also for spacecraft charging and disruption of radio signals. It can be studied using the Vlasiator global kinetic model and compared with an empirical model which is a function of geomagnetic activity. Familiarity with Python is desired.
  • Heliospheric Shock Database
    The Heliospheric Shock Database developed and maintained at the University of Helsinki is a comprehensive database of interplanetary shock database with user-friendly search and data download options. The thesis work is related to the development database, in particular related to its Machine Learning code and conducting an analysis of shock properties. Some knowledge of machine learning, programming, and/or basic plasma physics would be useful but not essential.
  • Programming a new energetic particle acceleration model
    Are you good at programming in C++? Interested in GPU coding? We have an opportunity to develop a new prototype solar energetic particle acceleration simulation tool. Knowledge of plasma and space physics is not required, but excellent coding skills are.
  • Magnetospheric wave activity driven by interplanetary shocks
    Interplanetary shocks cause important space weather effects in near-Earth space and create intense wave activity in the magnetosphere. This Master’s project will characterise the waves generated by interplanetary shocks as a function of the driver’s properties. Measurements will be retrieved from the Heliospheric Shock Database and data repositories of ground-based magnetometers.
  • Particle reflection at a quasi-perpendicular plasma shock
    At a space plasma shock wave, a portion of the incoming supersonic ions are reflected back upstream. This process of ion reflection is the main source of the energy transfer from kinetic to thermal energy. This project consists of analyzing simulation results from the Vlasiator model in a region of the shock which is largely unexplored in Vlasiator.
  • Hamiltonian approach to wave-particle interactions of relativistic electrons
    The Earth’s radiation belts are the site of acceleration of relativistic electrons. This project will use Hamiltonian theoretical and numerical tools to quantify the energisation of electrons. This project is suitable for a student of theoretical physics or applied mathematics.
  • Flux Transfer Events and their interaction with Earth’s polar cusps
    When the interplanetary magnetic field is southward, it can interact with the Earth’s dipole field in bursty phenomena called Flux Transfer Events (FTEs). The goal of this project is to understand and quantify the process of FTE-cusp interaction from global kinetic simulation data, and to compare to satellite and ground-based observations as well as theory.
  • Quantitative analysis of resolution effects in Vlasiator
    This project will compare low and high resolution Vlasiator simulations of a plasma shock to validate the level of kinetic physics resolved at each resolution.

JOB OPENING: Postdoctoral Position in Coronal Modelling/Observations at UH Space Physics team

We have now open a postdoctoral position in the field of modelling and observations of the solar corona. This position is part of the H2020 EUHFORIA 2.0 consortium, led by KU Leuven. EUHFORIA is a three-dimensional, time-dependent and data-driven space weather model targeted for near-real time forecasting. The postdoc is in responsible of the development of global coronal magnetic field models (based on our existing codes) for EUHFORIA and determining properties of solar eruptions using solar observations to constrain EUHFORIA’s flux rope models. The candidate should have a solid knowledge in space plasma physics as well as coding experience (e.g., Python). The other useful skills include expertise in coronal observations. The position is for about 2.5 years depending on the starting date.

We offer a position in a dynamic and international research group, with a possibility to network and to develop as a researcher. UH Space Physics Group at the Department of Physics  is one of the leading European space physics group specialized both in observations and modelling of space plasmas. Our current research areas include physics of coronal mass ejections, their influence in the magnetospheric dynamics, as well as reconnection, shocks and particle acceleration. We are also leading a Finnish Centre of Excellence (www.helsinki.fi/sustainable-space). As our Centre of Excellence also builds and launches CubeSats establishing new technologies with cutting edge scientific payloads, our community extends from space physics to space technology and entrepreneurial startups.

The position can start as soon as possible. The position is open until filled.

Interested candidates should send their informal application, CV, list of publications, and maximum of three names to act as references to Associate Professor Emilia Kilpua (emilia.kilpua@helsinki.fi).

EUHFORIA run (Pomoell&Poedts, Space Weather, 2018)