MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

New mailing list for Python in space science

A new mailing list for space scientists who use Python has been founded. Angeline Burrell writes: 

There's been a recent push for more community python development and peer-to-peer support. Much of this is focused in the US at the moment, but as the results of the recent survey showed, MIST scientists are active or interested in python as well. If you would like to become involved, you can join the email list by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The mailing list will comprise discussion as well as webinars/telecons from Python users, so the list should be useful for a range of abilities with Python. To join, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New MIST forum via Slack

In the days of yesteryear, there was a MIST forum provided for members of the MIST community to discuss things in a fashion more immediate and informal than email. It has been some years since the fabled MIST forum was a going concern, and in that time, the MIST Council has technically been in violation of the MIST Charter, which states that

MIST will provide an on-line forum to allow ongoing discussions and the formulation of ideas prior to public dissemination. This forum will be private, visible only to registered members; membership is restricted to active MIST scientists and is offered at the discretion of MIST council chair.

As a result of realising that the Charter mandates the maintenance of a forum, MIST Council have chosen to create a Slack workspace for the MIST community. If you would like to join, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. specifying the email address you would like to use, and you will be invited to join.

MIST Council election results

The polls have closed, and Oliver Allanson (Reading) and John Coxon (Southampton) have been elected to MIST Council. The full results of 2018’s elections are as follows:

  • Oliver Allanson: 56 votes
  • John Coxon: 100 votes
  • Simon Pope: 27 votes
  • Samuel Wharton: 38 votes
  • Darren Wright: 40 votes

121 people cast two votes, and 19 cast a single vote, for a total of 140 responses. This is a turnout of 32.9% against the MIST mailing list, which comprises 426 eligible voters.

The chair of MIST Council, Ian McCrea, said:

I would like to congratulate John on his re-election to MIST Council and to congratulate Oliver on his election – we look forward to you joining us at our next meeting. To the unsuccessful candidates, I would like to say a sincere thank you for taking part and for your interest in being part of MIST Council. Obviously only two candidates can be successful in any given year, but there are elections every year and we hope that you will not be discouraged from standing again at a future date.

MIST Council would like to express their thanks and appreciation to Luke Barnard who is leaving MIST Council, and whose contributions over the last three years have been invaluable. We would also like to thank Q Stanley for handling the technical aspects of the election.

Astronomy/Solar System Advisory Panels call for priority projects

The Astronomy and Solar System Advisory Panels have been asked to identify a few priority projects, comprising 'large scale' (>£50M), ‘medium scale’ (£10-50M) and ‘small scale’ (<£10M) projects that can be started within the next 6 years. The outline business cases put forward by the community will be considered by STFC’s Executive Board and Science Board in September. We will then work with the community and UKRI to identify the best way of taking these ideas forward. 

Interested parties should summarize their ideas for priority projects using the template provided. Only those projects considered to be the most exciting and highest priority (by the Advisory Panels) will be asked to develop an outline business case. Please email your project summary to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Astronomy) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Solar System). If your project has overlap with both astronomy and solar system, then please indicate this in your summary and send to both panels. The deadline is Wednesday 18 July 2018. If you have any questions regarding remit, format or submission, please feel free to contact the relevant Advisory Panel.

Jonathan Eastwood wrote, in his email to the MIST mailing list:

STFC has launched a consultation with research communities, designed to identify new world class science and technology proposals for potential future investment. The aim is to develop an ambitious portfolio of outline business cases for priority projects that relate to our strategic scientific and research infrastructure objectives, covering our remit, and driven by our communities… the scope of the projects is very broad – what is needed are exciting and ambitious scientific projects within the broad remit of astronomy and solar system science. Funds for estates and campus development are out of scope, and projects should not be an uplift to the grant/fellowship lines. This exercise is not part of the Evaluation of Astronomy which STFC will undertake in the Autumn (part of its assessment of the wider astronomy, particle and nuclear physics programmes), but projects identified here will be forwarded to that exercise to ensure information is not lost.

MIST Council would like to urge members of the MIST community to engage with this exercise in order to make sure that MIST science is well-represented in STFC strategy in the future.

Petition to eliminate harassment and bullying

MIST council is committed to fostering an open and inclusive scientific environment.

Many people will have seen the recent reports of bullying and harassment in Universities are becoming more and more widespread. In one of many steps to highlight the need for these actions to stop, an open letter and petition has been prepared by members of the wider community, including faculty from Imperial, UCL, and other UK and international institutions. This cross-institute example underlines the importance of eliminating harassment and bullying from the university and research environments. If you wish to sign the petition, you can find it by clicking here.

Our community is a big part of the RAS, which has a Code of Conduct and a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Policy that we must adhere to:

  1. Promoting an inclusive environment for all.
    2. Promoting equality of opportunity.
    3. Welcoming applications from all backgrounds.
    4. Supporting and developing careers for all.
    5. Recruiting and promoting staff based on merit, rather than absence or presence of underrepresented characteristics.

We would strongly encourage our community to continue to participate in eradicating these issues from our scientific and every day lives.

Extended deadline for MIST Council elections

The deadline for voting in the MIST Council elections has been extended until 20:00 BST on 29 July, so please cast your vote this week! All members of the mailing list should have received information on how to vote; if you have not, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will help you.

The nominees are:

  • Sarah Badman, Lancaster University
  • Biagio Forte, University of Bath
  • Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
  • Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey
  • Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Their statements are as follows!

Sarah Badman, Lancaster University

“MIST council plays an important role in communicating within the MIST community and representing its interests to other organisations. If elected I will broaden the Council’s representation of region (north-west) and research area (outer planets) while carrying out this role.”

Biagio Forte, University of Bath

“My research interest is on ionospheric scintillation and the effects the ionosphere can have on systems such as GPS, Galileo, EGNOS. This is an example of the impact adverse space weather conditions may have on our society.”

Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

“I am a senior scientist at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, with a background in ionospheric physics as studied by ground-based radars. I have been a member of MIST Council since 2013 and Chair since 2014. I am standing again with the aim of continuing the initiatives which we have taken in the past three years, including the biennial Spring MIST meetings and closer links with the solar community in education and training. I also hope to work towards more support for doctoral training and thematic funding, on the NERC side of the STP community.”

Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey

“I am a postdoctoral researcher currently based at the British Antarctic Survey. My 9-year research career has thus far focused on novel methods of discovering the workings of the Earth and its space environment via the magnetic field. I think that this post would be an excellent opportunity to learn the inner workings of MIST in more detail, and to provide a meaningful contribution to the ongoing health of the MIST community.”

Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

“I’ve been in the MIST community now for 5 years and have been very active with MIST event during this time, attending almost all meetings and giving a number of presentations. I am currently a PDRA at Mullard Space Science Laboratory studying space weather with Prof. Lucie Green after completing a short PDRA with Prof Chris Owen on solar wind particles. My PhD was at the University of Reading with Dr. Matt Owens and Prof. Mike Lockwood on cosmic ray modulation in the solar wind. I also have an undergraduate in Physics from the University of Bath and an MSc in Meteorology from Reading. Therefore, I have a broad background of MIST science ideal for a council role. Throughout my career so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed MIST events when the community joins together and I have learnt a lot from the friendly community at meetings such as Autumn and Spring MIST. I am keen to keep up the excellent work of previous council members in promoting the work of early-career scientists and assisting in their development through these meetings and the giving out of awards such as the Rishbeth Prize. Furthermore, I am very keen to help to promote the work of members of the MIST community through outreach, be it through social media or by helping to organise public engagement events in our research area. I have gained a lot from the MIST community and standing for MIST council is an excellent way to give something back to the community. Therefore, I would be open to suggestions from MIST members for new ways to improve the community and our science output.”

Amendment of MIST Charter

December saw MIST Council propose an amendment to the MIST Charter which increases the size of the Council from five to six members. The amendment was passed with no objections from the MIST community, so the Charter will be amended accordingly, with the changes taking effect at the next MIST Council election.

Rishbeth Prizes 2015

Congratulations to Maria Walach (Leicester) and Joe Dods (Warwick) for winning this year's Rishbeth prizes for their presentations at NAM/MIST at Llandudno in July.

Maria won the prize for the best student talk, which was "A test of ionospheric convection predictions from the expanding/contracting polar cap paradigm"

Joe won the prize for the best poster, for "Network Analysis of Geomagnetic Substorms Using the SuperMAG Database of Ground Based Magnetometer Stations".

Articles by both winners will appear shortly in A&G!