PI for PEACE
Dr. Fazakerley is a Lecturer at University College, London (UCL), in the Department of Space and Climate Physics, also known as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL).
He grew up in Northumberland, northern England. After gaining a degree in Physics at Imperial College, London, in 1987, he stayed on to study for his PhD in the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group (home of the Cluster FGM instruments). His doctoral work was theoretical, investigating ways in which plasma might be transported in the plasma disc which surrounds Jupiter.
Afterwards, as a Research Assistant at Imperial College, he switched to data analysis studies, using dual-spacecraft (ISEE-1 and 2) data to investigate the three dimensional properties of "mirror waves" in the Earth's magnetosheath - a harbinger of Cluster research.
He also joined FGM team members in studying how autonomous "event recognition" might be implemented in the instrument. This technique enables observations to be recorded in greater detail than usual during short intervals of special interest.
In 1992, courtesy of a Postgraduate Fellowship from two UK Research Councils (SERC and PPARC), he moved to MSSL to work with another dual-spacecraft data set from the more recent AMPTE-UKS/IRM mission. This involved studying what happens to solar wind ions which are reflected from the Earth's bowshock back into the solar wind, in a region called the foreshock.
While engaged in this research at MSSL, Fazakerley became increasingly involved in Cluster, taking on the role of Deputy Principal Investigator in 1994, and working with the PI for the PEACE instrument on Cluster I, Professor Alan Johnstone. One of his major tasks was to contribute to the PEACE team's participation in mission planning.
When the Cluster mission was announced in April 1997, Professor Johnstone offered him the role of PI. This was an exciting new challenge, to produce a completely new suite of PEACE instruments in less than three years, with a limited budget and with only a few of the team who had built the original instruments.
Then, in the summer of 1998, Professor Johnstone became ill, and he died in the following May.
Fazakerley commented, "The PEACE Team (scientists and engineers) all know that whatever success we have with the instruments will owe a great deal to Alan's role as the original PI. Without his leadership in the successful bid to participate in Cluster, none of this would be happening now!"
Dr. Fazakerley's leisure interests include mountaineering and other outdoor pursuits. One of his most memorable expeditions took place between completing his degree and starting the PhD, when he and a group of friends went on a 10 week, self-organised and self-sufficient expedition, to a rarely visited region of the Karakorum Mountains in Northern Pakistan.
"We were motivated by a shared spirit of adventure and the desire to explore a really remote region," he said. "At times during our preparations, I felt that our plans were pretty ambitious when set against our level of experience, but we kept to them and we were rewarded by some wonderful sights and amazing, often unexpected experiences."
More recently he went to Turkey to witness the 1999 total solar eclipse, and experienced the major earthquake which struck the environs of Istanbul a few days later.
How does he feel about the revival of the Cluster mission?
"In many ways, the experience of working on Cluster seems similar to my mountaineering expedition. Getting Cluster into orbit has been largely an achievement of several small teams of people working together. They have overcome all setbacks, even the 1996 accident, to do something completely new; sending the four spacecraft to make entirely new kinds of measurements, often in barely explored regions of the magnetosphere."
"I'm looking forward to exciting and unexpected things from Cluster!"
||PI for FGM
||PI for RAPID
Last Update: 07 Feb 2013