Eric Ronald Priest #


Eric Ronald Priest is a theoretical solar physicist with expertise on modelling the subtle nonlinear interaction between the plasma atmosphere of the Sun and its magnetic field, which is responsible for much of the dynamic behaviour we see. His research interests include: magnetic reconnection, magnetic instabilities, solar coronal heating, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the nature and structure of the solar corona, astrophysics.

  • 1965 B.Sc. (1st Class & Prize) in Mathematics, Nottingham University
  • 1966 M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics, Leeds University
  • 1969 Ph.D. under T G Cowling, FRS at Leeds University

Professional History:
  • 1968 Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at St Andrews
  • 1977 Reader in Applied Mathematics at St Andrews
  • 1983 Personal Chair in Theoretical Solar Physics at St Andrews
  • 1997 James Gregory Chair of Mathematics at St Andrews
  • 2002 Bishop Wardlaw Chair at St Andrew

  • 1985 Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 1988 Appointed President of IAU's Commission on Solar Activity
  • 1991 Delivered the Marlar Lecture at Rice University
  • 1992, 1996, 2006 Member of UK Res. Assessment Exercise Mathematics Panel
  • 1994 Elected Member of Norwegian Academy of Sciences & Letters
  • 1996-98 Convener Math Committee of Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 1998-01 Chair of PPARC's Astronomy Committee and cochair of its Science Committee
  • 2000 Appointed James Arthur prize Lecturer at Harvard University
  • 2002 Awarded the Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society
  • 2002 Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 2003 -present Member of several committees of Royal Society
  • 2006-2008 Vice President of the UK Royal Astronomical Society
  • 2006 Delivered the Rosseland Lecture on “Our Magnetic Sun” at Oslo University
  • 2006 Delivered the Robinson Lecture at Armagh
  • 2007-2010 Chair of Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Physics Panel for electing new Fellows
  • 2009 Gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • 2009 Payne-Gaposchkin medal and prize of the Institute of Physics
  • 2009 Delivered Larmor Lecture at Belfast

The Solar MHD Theory Group at St Andrews University

This is one of the main solar research groups in the world. It consists of 8 tenured staff, 10 Advanced and Postdoctoral Fellows, 11 Ph.D. students. The Group was founded and nurtured by Prof Priest. Of the last 70 students and postdocs to have been trained in the group, 34 of them now hold tenured university teaching positions (8 of them full professors).


Has edited 15 books and written two research monographs and 440 journal papers
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