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Professor James McLaughlin


Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

James is a Professor in Mathematics and Astrophysics at Northumbria University. He has a PhD in Solar Physics.

I graduated from Durham University in 2002 with a MSci (joint honours) Mathematics and Physics degree. I then moved to the University of St Andrews for my PhD studies in Applied Mathematics and Solar Physics. After successfully defending my thesis entitled “Magnetohydrodynamic wave propagation in the neighbourhood of magnetic null points", I accepted a research scientist position at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA. Later, I returned to the University of St Andrews as a Research Fellow funded by the Leverhulme Trust. In 2010, I was appointed Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University and became a Reader in February 2014.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) and a Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP).



0191 227 3667


M.Sci. (JH),   Ph.D.,  MInstP,  FRAS

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I am primarily interested in magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), specifically in the behaviour of MHD waves in inhomogeneous media, with application to the solar atmosphere and astrophysical processes.

My research involves solving nonlinear, three-dimensional, coupled systems of partial differential equations, under various physical assumptions. I approach these problems using both analytical techniques and a variety of numerical methods (including parallel computing).

In general, I am interested in:

  • Numerical Methods and Computational MHD
  • Asymptotic Methods
  • MHD, with a particular interest in MHD wave theory, behaviour and observations
  • Magnetic topology, with a particular interest in magnetic null points
  • Analysis and image processing of solar data
  • Reconnection-driven wave excitation, including oscillatory reconnection
  • Solar plumes
  • Phase mixing
  • Coronal heating
  • Impulsive excitation

My teaching responsibility lies principally within Mathematics and Astrophysics where I specialise in particle and fluid dynamics, and advanced mathematical techniques.

Sponsors and Collaborators

My research is supported by a variety of funding bodies, including the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC, under ST/L006308/1), the Leverhulme Trust (under RPG-2015-075), US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (under FA9550-16-1-0032) and the Royal Astronomical Society.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) and a Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP).

Key Publications

Thurgood, J.O., Morton, R.J. & McLaughlin, J.A. (2014)
First direct measurements of transverse waves in solar polar plumes using SDO/AIA
Astrophysical Journal Letters, 790, L2

Morton, R.J. & McLaughlin, J.A. (2014)
High-resolution Observations of Active Region Moss and its Dynamics
Astrophysical Journal, 789, 105

Morton, R.J. & McLaughlin, J.A. (2013)
Hi-C and AIA observations of transverse MHD waves in active regions
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 553, L10

McLaughlin, J. A., Verth, G., Fedun, V. & Erdélyi, R. (2012)
Generation of quasi-periodic waves and flows in the solar atmosphere by oscillatory reconnection
Astrophysical Journal, 749, 30-40

Morton, R. J., Verth, G., McLaughlin, J. A. & Erdélyi, R. (2012)
Determination of sub-resolution structure of jet by solar magnetoseismology
Astrophysical Journal, 744, 5-15

McLaughlin, J.A., Hood, A.W. & De Moortel, I. (2011)
Review article: MHD wave propagation near coronal null points of magnetic fields
Space Science Reviews, 158, 205-236

Further Information

My personal web page can be found by following the link below: 

To view my Northumbria Research Link page click here

To view my Google Scholar page click here


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