Dr Richard Morton

Anniversary Research Fellow
Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Richard graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2008 with a MPHYS Mathematics and Physics degree.

Richard _mortonI graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2008 with a MPHYS Mathematics and Physics degree. I remained at Sheffield to complete my PhD in Applied Mathematics/Solar Physics, and accepted a position as a research scientist there. In 2012 I was appointed as Anniversary Research Fellow in the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University. In June 2014 I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship to continue my research.




0191 243 7601


MPhys (JH), PhD, FRAS

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

My research is focused on magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) wave phenomenon in the solar atmosphere. The Sun is threaded by an intricate network of magnetic fields that forms beautiful and unique features, while supporting and guide the MHD waves. In particular, I am interested in observing MHD waves in a volatile region of the Sun's atmosphere known as the solar chromosphere. I use data from a number of dedicated solar telescopes, i.e.,  NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) and High resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) satellites, the Japanese Hinode satellite, the Dunn Solar telescope (USA) and the Swedish Solar Telescope (La Palma); in order to investigate energy transfer through the Sun's atmosphere. The waves are thought to be a potential answer to a number of perplexing astrophysical mysteries http://missionscience.nasa.gov/sun/sunVideo_02solarvariability.html

In addition,  I use the observed waves to reveal information about the local Sun's atmosphere through a technique known as magneto-seismology - similar to methods used by geologists in their study of the sub-surface earth.

Aside from research, I am interested in public outreach. The aim is to demonstrate both the beauty and the danger of our nearest star, hopefully generating interest and enthusiasm in the study of the Sun and how it influences our lives. I believe one of the best ways to engage with the public is creating sonic and visual media, providing a different route into the science. Some of the outreach I have been involved in has been to turn solar data into music, namely, Heavenly solar music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbIffp40U8w, which was featured at SET for Britain at the Houses of Lords and Commons in 2010, on BBC radio 4 and on the History Channel.

I have also worked with artists in Yorkshire to create the HeliOscillator http://www.facebook.com/HeliOscillator?fref=ts, which creates visualisations of observed MHD waves in sunspots. The installation was part of Researchers Night 2012 and the British Science Festival 2013.

Sponsors and Collaborators

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, USA
Kyoto University, Japan
Indian Institute of Astrophysics, India
Queen's University Belfast, UK
Sheffield University, UK
High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO, USA

Current/Recent Projects

Identifying and tracking the fine-scale magnetic structure in the dynamic chromosphere, Royal Astronomical Society/Nuffield Bursary, June 2013, Principal Investigator.

The solar regulator: A novel study of the chromosphere and its MHD wave dynamics, The Leverhulme Trust, September 2014 to September 2017, Principal Investigator.

Key Publications

A full list of publications is available on Northumbria Research Link (NRL)

To view my Northumbria Research Link page click here


Further Information