The Solar and Magnetospheric Theory group is based within the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St Andrews. Click here to see a list of our recent publications.
We currently have 28 members of the group involved in different areas of observational and theoretical solar/magnetospheric research, including professors, teaching staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. We also have prestigious emeritus and honorary staff members who contribute to our research.
We are a large group of applied mathematicians who study the Sun and the Earth's magnetosphere using mathematical modelling techniques. Observational data from satellites (e.g., SDO, Hinode, and Cluster) and from ground based observatories (e.g., Kitt Peak, Big Bear and EISCAT) are used to constrain our models and improve the validity of our results. We also have close collaborations with the solar groups at Glasgow and Dundee.

Interested in a PhD on a solar-related topic?
See our Phd Positions page for more details.


March 2022

2 Staff Vacancies

The University of St Andrews has advertised two permanent SMTG positions, one at Lecturer level and the other at Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader level. For details see our vacancies page

January 2021

Congratulations Prof. Ineke De Moortel

Congratulations to Professor Ineke De Moortel who has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society 2021 Chapman medal for her seminal work on the nature of waves in the solar atmosphere. Her unique contributions to the topic of coronal waves stand out from the field, resting on her rare combination of both theoretical and observational expertise. Her work has bridged the gap between idealised MHD models and observations, revealing the fundamental properties of coronal oscillations, quantifying their role in heating the solar corona and demonstrating their power as a diagnostic tool.

October 2020

A Fond Farewell

Farewell to Solar and Magnetospheric Theory Group postdoc Petros Syntelis. Petros came to the School in 2016 after completing his PhD at the University of Athens. He has now started a training programme in artificial intelligence in London.

October 2020

Congratulations Professor Hood

Congratulations to Alan Hood on winning the Royal Society of Edinburgh Lord Kelvin Medal for his internationally commended work in theoretical and computational solar physics which has helped to enhance understanding of the solar atmosphere. Alan’s award of what is the Senior RSE prize for Physical, Engineering and Informatics Sciences was officially announced today..

June 2020

Prestigious award for Professor Eric Priest

Professor Eric Priest of the University of St Andrews has been awarded the Senior Prize of the European Solar Physics Division of the European Physical Society. Further information here.

January 2020

Solar Orbiter Meeting

The group will be hosting the latest Solar Orbiter discussion meeting on 13-14 January 2020. Further details can be found on the meeting website.

August 2019

Tom Elsden and Patrick Antolin depart

It is with some sadness and best wishes that the group says goodbye to two postdocs: Dr Tom Elsden is leaving the group to take up a Leverhulem Early Career Fellowship at Leicester University, while Dr Patrick Antolin has taken up a lecturership at Northumbria University. We wish both well in their new posts!

June 2019


Our PhD student Erin Goldstraw succesfully passed her viva, congratulations Dr Goldstraw!


NAM 2019

Solar Team Unstoppable!

Patrick Antolin, Tom Elsden, Lianne Fyfe, Erin Goldstraw, Thomas Howson, Craig Johnston, Paolo Pagano, Alexander Prokopyszyn, Jack Reid, James Threlfall, Hendrik-Jan Van Damme, Andrew Wright and Steph Yardley attended the National Astronomy Meeting held in Lancaster between 30/6 and 4/7. The clear highlight of the week was the annual 6-a-side NAM football tournament. The St Andrews team battled against fierce opposition and a biased LOC to bring the trophy home for the fourth consecutive year. Our unique blend of European tika-taka and Scottish park-the-bus football has seen St Andrews move clear at the top of the All Time Winners List. Special mention goes to stunning goalkeeping from an injured James Threlfall, clinical finishing from Paolo Pagano and Andy Wright's loud and enthusiastic support. Unfortunately Fife Council turned down our request for an open-top bus victory parade, so our adoring fans will have to make do with spotting the trophy in the cabinet in the main corridor for the next year.