Dr Alexander Russell

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Alexander Russell obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of St Andrews in 2010. Thereafter he was awarded a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship, which he took up at the University of Glasgow. Since 2013 he has been a Research Fellow in the Solar MHD Group at the University of Dundee.

Alex’s research investigates the dynamic magnetic behaviour of the Sun, the Earth’s magnetosphere and auroras. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and an elected representative on the UK Solar Physics Council.

Alex has participated in numerous international conferences and research teams and has helped organise various academic events in the UK.

When not researching, Alex enjoys teaching, including well-received lectures on MHD, Stellar Atmospheres and the Solar System. He also enjoys student project supervision and overseeing honours computing projects.

Alex shares his knowledge with members of the public in a number of ways. These include: astronomical society lectures, science open days, planetarium shows, solar telescope sessions, media/press work and even science-themed stand up comedy.


Alex is interested in the dynamic behaviour of the Sun and the Earth's magnetosphere.

Both are astrophysical plasmas in which magnetic fields play a dominant role. It is important to understand them to protect our developing society from the natural hazards of living next to a star.

His research uses a mixture of mathematical analysis and computer simulations, often with codes he has developed. He also has experience analysing observational data. His research has mainly focused on:

  • magnetic helicity
  • magnetic reconnection
  • turbulent relaxation of magnetic fields
  • MHD waves
  • solar flares
  • magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling
  • solar surface magnetic fields.
View full research profile and publications