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Sandra Chapman’s research specialty is nonlinear processes (chaos and complexity) in solar system, astrophysical, and laboratory plasmas. She is currently a professor of astrophysics and head of the Space and Astrophysics Group in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Chapman will write a book, “Complexity: A User’s Guide,” accessible across disciplines, and will continue her research on complexity in solar system plasmas. The book is intended to be an undergraduate text and a primer for scientists wishing to apply ideas from complexity in their own fields. With a NESTA Dream Time Fellowship, which she will hold concurrently, she will travel to Antartica with the British Antartic Survey to explore through artistic practice the experience of science in a pristine environment.
Chapman studied physics on an Exhibition Scholarship at Imperial College in London. Her doctorate, which she earned at Imperial College in 1985, was concerned with chaotic charged particles in the Earth’s magnetosphere. Her work has often returned to this theme and has been recognized with the COSPAR Zeldovich Medal and the EGS Young Scientists’ Medal. In addition to being responsible for a number of PPARC-funded research programs, she has held several research fellowships, including one jointly from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Royal Society, another from the Nuffeld Foundation, and one from the PPARC. She was recently a visiting professor at the University of Kyoto, and she has published more than seventy papers in the refereed literature and a textbook on electrodynamics.