13 January, 2017

Dr Mervyn Freeman, Senior Space Weather Researcher at British Antarctic Survey, has been awarded the prestigious Chapman Medal in Geophysics by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). The medal recognises his outstanding contribution to understanding and predicting the response of the Earth’s space environment to varying energy input from the solar wind, which consists of particles from the Sun. This subject is known as space weather.

The Royal Astronomical Society’s medals recognise significant achievements in the fields of astronomy and geophysics. The citation for Mervyn’s medal notes:

“It is difficult to express just how elegantly Dr Freeman distils a complex problem […] into what appears to be a simple and obvious solution, even with the benefit of hindsight.”

Mervyn is also the Deputy Leader of the Space Weather and Atmosphere Team at British Antarctic Survey, which investigates space weather and its effects on satellites, power grids and climate. He said of the award:

“I am delighted and honoured to receive this award from the Royal Astronomical Society, and to now be in the company of previous medallists that I have had the pleasure to know and be inspired by. My thanks to those who nominated me and also those who have encouraged and supported me, including Dr Steven Morley who co-authored the paper on which the award is primarily based.”

Dr Mervyn Freeman, Senior Space Weather Researcher
Dr Mervyn Freeman

Additionally, the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) research project has received the RAS’s Group Achievement Award. This network of radars located in high latitudes in both hemispheres measures space weather effects in the ionosphere, the highest layer of our planet’s atmosphere.

BAS currently operates a SuperDARN radar at its Halley VI research station, and Dr Freeman was previously the Principal Investigator of this radar (Dr Gareth Chisham, also at BAS, is the current PI).

The winners of the Royal Astronomical Society medals will be invited to collect their awards at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Hull in July 2017.