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Dr Robert Wicks

Associate Professor

Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Robert Wicks

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Dr. Wicks research covers the physics of plasma in the solar corona, solar wind, and near-Earth environment. He is an expert in the design and use of space plasma instrumentation onboard satellites and is a co-investigator of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission Solar Wind Analyser EAS instrument. He analyses data from spacecraft to investigate the processes that heat and accelerate plasma, especially turbulence and waves. He also works on space weather and risk mitigation. Dr Wicks is a keen space technologist with current projects including the development of a laser communications system for CubeSats and the proposal of future missions to the UK Space Agency and ESA for astrophysical plasma physics research.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • The Kinetic Expansion of Solar-wind Electrons: Transport Theory and Predictions for the Very Inner Heliosphere, Jeong, S., Verscharen, D., Vocks, C., Abraham, J., Owen, C., Wicks, R., Fazakerley, A., Stansby, D., Berčič, L., Nicolaou, G., Agudelo Rueda, J., Bakrania, M. 11 Mar 2022, In: The Astrophysical Journal
  • The Stability of the Electron Strahl against the Oblique Fast-magnetosonic/Whistler Instability in the Inner Heliosphere, Jeong, S., Abraham, J., Verscharen, D., Berčič, L., Stansby, D., Nicolaou, G., Owen, C., Wicks, R., Fazakerley, A., Agudelo Rueda, J., Bakrania, M. 1 Feb 2022, In: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
  • A Case for Electron-Astrophysics, Verscharen, D., Wicks, R., Alexandrova, O., Bruno, R., Burgess, D., Chen, C., D’Amicis, R., De Keyser, J., de Wit, T., Franci, L., He, J., Henri, P., Kasahara, S., Khotyaintsev, Y., Klein, K., Lavraud, B., Maruca, B., Maksimovic, M., Plaschke, F., Poedts, S., Reynolds, C., Roberts, O., Sahraoui, F., Saito, S., Salem, C., Saur, J., Servidio, S., Stawarz, J., Štverák, Š., Told, D. 11 Jun 2021, In: Experimental Astronomy
  • A Quarter Century of Wind Spacecraft Discoveries, Wilson, L., Brosius, A., Gopalswamy, N., Nieves‐Chinchilla, T., Szabo, A., Hurley, K., Phan, T., Kasper, J., Lugaz, N., Richardson, I., Chen, C., Verscharen, D., Wicks, R., TenBarge, J. 1 Jun 2021, In: Reviews of Geophysics
  • Dependence of Solar Wind Proton Temperature on the Polarization Properties of Alfvénic Fluctuations at Ion-kinetic Scales, Woodham, L., Wicks, R., Verscharen, D., Tenbarge, J., Howes, G. 1 May 2021, In: Astrophysical Journal
  • Deriving the bulk properties of solar wind electrons observed by Solar Orbiter: A preliminary study of electron plasma thermodynamics, Nicolaou, G., Wicks, R., Owen, C., Kataria, D., Chandrasekhar, A., Lewis, G., Verscharen, D., Fortunato, V., Mele, G., DeMarco, R., Bruno, R. Dec 2021, In: Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Evolving Solar Wind Flow Properties of Magnetic Inversions Observed by Helios, Macneil, A., Owens, M., Wicks, R., Lockwood, M. 11 Mar 2021, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • High-cadence measurements of electron pitch-angle distributions from Solar Orbiter SWA-EAS burst mode operations, Owen, C., Kataria, D., Bercic, L., Horbury, T., Berthomier, M., Verscharen, D., Bruno, R., Livi, S., Louarn, P., Anekallu, C., Kelly, C., Lewis, G., Watson, G., Fortunato, V., Mele, G., Nicolaou, G., Wicks, R., O'Brien, H., Evans, V., Angelini, V. 14 Dec 2021, In: Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • MagneToRE: Mapping the 3-D Magnetic Structure of the Solar Wind Using a Large Constellation of Nanosatellites, Maruca, B., Agudelo Rueda, J., Bandyopadhyay, R., Bianco, F., Chasapis, A., Chhiber, R., Deweese, H., Matthaeus, W., Miles, D., Qudsi, R., Richardson, M., Servidio, S., Shay, M., Sundkvist, D., Verscharen, D., Vines, S., Westlake, J., Wicks, R. 29 Jul 2021, In: Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
  • Solar Orbiter observations of the structure of reconnection outflow layers in the solar wind, Owen, C., Foster, A., Bruno, R., Livi, S., Louarn, P., Berthomier, M., Fedorov, A., Anekallu, C., Kataria, D., Kelly, C., Lewis, G., Watson, G., Bercic, L., Stansby, D., Suen, G., Verscharen, D., Fortunato, V., Nicolaou, G., Wicks, R., Rae, I., Lavraud, B., Horbury, T., O'Brien, H., Evans, V., Angelini, V. 14 Dec 2021, In: Astronomy & Astrophysics

Further Information

Dr Wicks was the PI for the Debye mission proposal to the ESA F-Class mission call in 2018/19.

Find out more about the ESA Solar Orbiter mission here. If you are interested in the use of data from Solar Orbiter for scientific research, public outreach, or any other purpose, you can find the Solar Orbiter data archive here, and please ask Dr Wicks if you would like adivce on how to use the data.

You can watch Dr Wicks lecture on the topic of space weather here, if you are interested in learning more as part of an undergraduate or graduate physics degree, then take a look at the Northumbria Physics BSc, Physics with Astrophysics BSc, MPhys and PhD programme webpages.


  • Physics PhD December 01 2008
  • Physics MSc June 30 2005
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA 2018

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