Professor James McLaughlin's Homepage

Welcome! I am a Professor of Solar Physics at Northumbria University. I am a member of the Solar Physics research group (alternatively here) and I am based within the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering.

I am an applied mathematician and solar physicist, primarily interested in problems in the area of solar magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). My research involves solving nonlinear, three-dimensional, coupled systems of partial differential equations, under various physical assumptions. I approach these problems using both analytical techniques and a variety of numerical methods, including the use of parallel computing. My current research involves investigating time-dependent reconnection which involves the analysis of large-scale numerical simulations. I am also interested in numerical modelling of MHD wave activity in solar active regions and solar plumes. I am a co-investigator on WP2 of the STFC contribution to the DKIST project. I am also a member of an international ISSI (International Space Science Institute) team investigating quasi-periodic pulsations in solar and stellar flares.

I am an Ordinary Council Member of the UKSP Council which represents the UK Solar Physics community, see here for details.

Below are details of my career and research interests to date, along with my contact details and links to my publications.

List of Publications Successful Research Grants & Telescope Time Digital Metrics

Digital Metrics can be found on the following websites:


Research Visits & Conference Contributions

23 invited seminars/lectures - 32 contributed talks - 13 Poster presentations.
Full details can be found here.

Research Interests

In general, I am interested in:

  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), with a particular interest in MHD wave theory and behaviour
  • Magnetic topology, with a particular interest in magnetic null points
  • Data Analysis and image processing of solar observations (inclduing pattern recognition, data mining, and big data analytics)
  • Magnetic Reconnection, with a particular interest in time-dependent, wave-generating reconection
  • Numerical methods and Computational MHD
  • Space Weather, specifically forecasting techniques
  • Solar and stellar flares
  • Phase mixing
  • Coronal heating
  • Impulsive excitation
  • astrophysical fluid dynamics
  • shock waves
  • 3D printing
  • Mathematical Modelling

Multi-satellite Joint Observing Programme

I have led a multi-spacecraft, multi-instrument, international observing campaign to investigate solar plumes, involving the collaboration of seven space-based instruments. The observing programme is entitled: “Multi-wavelength Observations of Oscillations in Polar Plumes”. The details can be found under:


Qualifications & Career History

Sept 2017 - present

Professor   (Northumbria University)
Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

June 2016 - Aug 2017

Associate Professor   (Northumbria University)
Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Feb 2014 - May 2016

Reader   (Northumbria University)
Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences

Jan 2010 - Jan 2014

Senior Lecturer   (Northumbria University)
Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences

Jul 2007 - 2009

Research Fellow   (University of St Andrews)
Leverhulme Trust Grant, PI: Professor Ineke De Moortel

Jan - June 2007

Research Fellow   (University of St Andrews)
STFC Rolling Grant Grant

Jan - Dec 2006

Research Scientist   (Catholic University of America /
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

2002 - 2005

Ph.D. (Applied Mathematics)   (University of St Andrews)
Solar & Magnetospheric Theory Group
Supervisor: Professor Alan Hood
Thesis Internal Examiner: Professor Bernard Roberts
Thesis External Examiner: Professor Michael Ruderman
(Viva passed: 15 Dec 2005)

1998 - 2002

M.Sci. (JH) Mathematics and Physics
(Durham University)   First Class

Research Excellence Framework 2014

I was the Unit of Assessment (UoA) lead for the B10 Mathematical Sciences REF2014 submission at Northumbria University. My role involved setting overall research strategy for the Unit, assessing and developing staff outputs and esteem factors, frequent discussions with Executive Dean, Associate Dean (Research), other UoA leads and University-level REF Advisory Group, dealing with confidential/sensitive documentation, and advising and supporting staff (including multiple ECRs) with regards to the strategic nature of the submission. The role also involved assessing and developing staff outputs and esteem factors, and advising and supporting staff (including multiple ECRs).p>

Director of Research & Innovation

I am Director of Research & Innovation within the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering. This involves working closely with the HoD, Professoriate and Faculty Associate PVC (R&I) to lead the development of research within the Department, raise the national/international standing of the Department and drive income generation. My role also involves dealing with confidential/sensitive documentation, management of devolved research budgets, liaison with Departmental PGR programme leader, promoting high-quality outputs, REF planning and monitoring REF preparedness of staff, monitoring impact, contributing to the Department’s recruitment of staff and workforce planning, leadership and management of individuals and a research team, developing and enhancing the Department’s research culture, including capacity building and advising, supporting and mentoring of academic staff.

Multi-Disciplinary Research Theme “Extreme Environments”

I played a leading role in the creation and approval of the Multi-Disciplinary Research Theme “Extreme Environments”, including writing significant parts of the original and revised proposal, presenting the research to the University Executive (e.g. DVC and PVCs) at Northern Design Centre, taking part in budget discussions, shortlisting applicants, etc. Overview of MDRT: Extreme environments, where conditions challenge the existence of most known life forms, are found on Earth’s surface, subsurface, oceans, atmosphere and in the solar system. This University-wide Multi-Disciplinary Research Theme develops synergies to support and extend existing areas of world-leading research in understanding and harnessing physical and biological environments that operate under extreme conditions.

Contact Details

Professor James McLaughlin
Room D213, Ellison Building
Department of Mathematics, Physics & Electrical Engineering
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Room EB D213
Phone: +44 (0)191 227 3667
Fax:     +44 (0)191 243 7630