6-10 September 2021
Europe/Rome timezone

ESPD Elections

With the ESPM comes the renewal of the board of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) of the European Physical Society (EPS). The board members are elected for three years, until the following ESPM meeting.

The ESPD elections took place during the ESPM, prior to the ESPD business meeting. All registered participants were allowed to vote.


The election results were the following:

  • Istvan Ballai (President)
  • Galina Motorina (Secretary)
  • Patrick Antolin
  • Mateja Dumbovic
  • Stanislav Gunar
  • Ioannis Kontogiannis
  • David Long
  • Jasmina Magdalenić
  • Sophie Masson
  • Julia K. Thalmann
  • Sven Wedemeyer
  • Francesca Zuccarello

See below for the candidate statements for those running for office (in alphabetical surname order).

Election for ESPD President


Istvan Ballai (Plasma Dynamics Group, University of Sheffield, UK), current board member

Istvan has more than 25 years of experience in solar physics, with his scientific interest focussing on local and global dynamical changes occurring in solar and space plasmas. In particular, his research deals with linear and nonlinear waves and oscillations in magnetic waveguides, waves and instabilities in partially ionised plasmas, local and global coronal seismology, wave identification in magnetic waveguides, etc.

For a number of years, he has represented the UK Solar Physics Community in the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC-UK) Astronomy Grant Panel. Currently Istvan is member of the Astronomy/Earth Sciences/Space Research panel for the EU/H2020 programme and member of many national Research Councils’ Grant Panels. Istvan was the Chair of the Local Organising Committee of the 15th European Solar Physics Meeting (ESPM-15) and Treasurer of the European Solar Physics Board (ESDP) since 2017.

“It is a great honour and privilege to have the opportunity to stand for election for the position of the President of the ESPD.

As a member of the ESPD since 2017, I admire the Board not only for its philosophy but also for its transparent, flat and bottom-up organisational structure. Having served as ESPD Treasurer and member in the Prize Committee between 2017 and today, I now wish to stand as candidate for the position of President. Through my experience in community service and an in-depth knowledge gained in the Board’s affairs, I believe I possess a profound and overarching insight into ESPD’s working philosophy, which is truly beneficial for the numerous tasks the position of President entails.

As the President of the ESPD Board I wish to contribute to its involvement in national programmes, to help the Board in coordinating the collaboration of European solar physics with other divisions of the European Physical Society (e.g. Astrophysics and Plasma Physics). In addition, I would like to contribute to the firm establishment of the European Solar Physics in a much wider, global context at the time when research in solar and heliospheric physics is in its golden age thanks to the incredibly detailed observations and great advances in theoretical research.

Taking on responsibility as President, I would like to further stimulate and steer ESPD’s potential capacity during the transformation process between its past, present and future.

I would like to make the ESPD more inclusive, more diverse, and more responsive to the needs of Early Career Scientists.

I am European and I strongly believe in European values.
I strongly believe that our science becomes value only when it is disseminated to a wider audience, therefore, I would like to guide the Board to foster, maintain and enrich channels of communication not only between the members of the community, but also between the scientific community and the general public.”

Election for ESPD Secretary


Galina Motorina (Astronomical Institute  of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic)

Galina G. Motorina is a postdoctoral fellow at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, CR. She graduated from the Pulkovo Observatory in 2017 studying X-ray and EUV emission from solar flares to determine properties of accelerated/heated electrons and ambient plasma. The current research is a continuation of the previous study, it includes also sub-THz emission analysis on the basis of radio observations (BBMS RT-7.5, ALMA) and flare modeling. She also has experience in public outreach activity (Solarigraphy Meeting: Between Science, Art, and Education, June 2021, Ondřejov, CR) and organizing scientific events (Solar and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, October 2015 - 2018, St.Petersburg, RU) being in LOC.

As a member of the division, I am proud to be a part of a group of people dedicated to the development and improvement of the life of the European solar physics community.

Election for the ESPD Board


Patrick Antolin (Northumbria University, UK)

I am a Senior Lecturer and STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow at Northumbria University. I obtained a dual PhD at Kyoto University (2009) and the University of Oslo (2012). I am an expert in numerical modelling (incl. parallel computing), forward modelling (the synthesis of observational diagnostics from numerical simulations) and solar observations (with both, space-based and ground-based observatories). My research focuses on solar atmospheric phenomena and in particular coronal heating (MHD waves and magnetic reconnection), and coronal cooling processes (coronal rain and prominences, thermal instabilities and non-equilibrium). I am particularly interested in cross-disciplinary science, linking solar physics with small-scale (laboratory science) and large scale phenomena in the universe. I have an established large international network of collaborations, currently contributing in particular to the Solar Orbiter / EUI Consortium and the Multi-slit Solar Explorer “MUSE” mission project (NASA Heliophysics 2019 MidEX, currently in phase A). I have also lead various ISSI teams and organised international conferences.

Solar physics is in a privileged position in astrophysics where phenomena can be uniquely resolved in time and space. Various solar phenomena can be used as stepping stones to understand other analogue phenomena in the universe. Moreover, we are now in a golden age of solar observations with DKIST, Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter, EUVST, UCoMP and other various solar projects en route to commissioning phase. However, we are often seen as the underdog of astrophysics, targeting the same decades-old unsolved problems. As member of ESPD I aim to further promote solar physics within the astrophysical community and our community’s achievements to the young and future generations. I also aim to foment the connection between theoreticians, modellers and observers in the field, and between the different solar physics communities across the globe.

Mateja Dumbovic (Hvar Observatory, Croatia)

I am a research associate with a permanent position at Hvar Observatory, Croatia, doing research in the field of solar and heliospheric physics and space weather since 2010. My main research interests are propagation and evolution of coronal mass ejections and their space weather effects including geomagnetic storms and especially Forbush decreases, studied from both theoretical and observational aspects.

I am quite active in the scientific community, actively attending and organizing scientific meetings and workshops (in the past 10 years I have been involved in organization of >15 meetings and workshops). I am also heavily involved in the recent Quo Vadis initiative to consolidate European space weather community. It is my belief that a well-connected community benefits the research progress. Therefore, as an ESPD board member I would work for our community to sustain and improve its interconnectivity.

Agnieszka Gil (Siedlce University, Poland)

I am working at the Institute of Mathematics of the Siedlce University and at the Space Research Center of Polish Academy of Sciences. My first scientific interest is a solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays (GCR). The GCR changes occur as a result of a solar behavior reflecting the level of its activity. Thus, the GCR particle flux studies give an indirect information about the state of the Sun and the interplanetary space, allowing to discover the properties of the heliosphere and the Sun, about which we learn at various time scales indirectly. I am especially interested in mathematical modelling, but also in the experimental data analysis. In my opinion, it is necessary to unite people who are theoreticians with those who gather and analyze experimental data.

Stanislav Gunar (Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic)

I'm a researcher scientist with 18 years of experience in the field of solar physics. My main focus is radiative transfer modelling and the study of solar prominences. These research topics bring together imaging and spectroscopic observations obtained both from the space and the ground and numerical simulations of prominence magnetic field, plasma and radiation. I'm also involved in bringing new observational capabilities to the solar physics community, being the leader of the Czech contribution to the PROBA-3/ASPIICS formation-flying coronagraph.

I stand for election as a candidate for the member of the ESPD Board with the aim to further strengthen the integration between the solar physics communities within Europe and between Europe and the world.

Larisa Kashapova (Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics SB RAS, Russia)

I am a Senior Researcher of the Radioastrophysical department of the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics in Irkutsk, Russia, and a part-time Lecturer at Irkutsk State University. The field of my scientific interest is the energy release and transport processes in solar flares and transient events based on observational data. In my research I aim to combine understanding the fundamental physical processes and applying outcomes of the analysis and modelling to Space Weather prediction. I have been a member of LOCs and SOCs of several international scientific meetings, including the RadioSun project meetings and VarSITI symposium, which provided me with vast experience in the scientific administration.

My interest in the ESPD Board participation is related to strengthening international collaboration between scientists involved in observations, theoretical studies and teams operating various instruments observing at different wavelengths.
Another important direction of my activity as the Board member will be the dissemination of scientific results gained by our research community among the general public, and facilitating personal and career development of students and PhD students.

Maria D. Kazachenko (University of Colorado, Boulder / National Solar Observatory, USA)

I am an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Solar Observatory, USA. My research focuses on topics ranging from the storage of magnetic energy in active region coronae, to the release of that energy in solar flares with an emphasis of comparison and integration of observations with simulations. Understanding how this energy is stored and released is necessary to predict solar eruptions and hence the space weather. I am also involved in the development of the Critical Science Plan for The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the largest 4-meter solar telescope in the world, with the first light expected in late 2021. I have been honored by the NASA Early Career Fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, and the Robert Bartnik Fellowship.

Originally from Russia, I have done most of my research and community work in the USA. I have served as a committee member of the Solar Physics Division (SPD, USA) from 2018 to 2020 and currently am a chair of the international SPD Tom Metcalf Travel Award that facilitates travel to meetings for early career scientists all over the world. I wish to be part of the board of the ESPD to help develop relationships between scientists from Europe and the US which are working with ground- and space-based observations and simulations.  In addition, as a person based at the university I will advocate not only for science but also for education and career opportunities for young-career scientists. If honored to be elected, I will do my best to work with the members of the ESPD community to get the resources they need.

Ioannis Kontogiannis (Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), Germany)

I am a researcher at the Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), in Germany. My research experience includes multi-wavelength observations of the chromospheric dynamics, its fine structures (mottles, fibrils, and swirls) and interaction with waves, and its small-scale eruptive activity (flux emergence, minifilament eruptions). Additionally, I have worked extensively on the prediction of flares and CMEs and I am interested in the evolution of active regions towards eruptions and the development of better prediction parameters and methods. I also have a long professional experience in public outreach, including science demonstrations, science performances, workshops, talks, and scientific journalism.

I am interested in being an active member of the European solar physics community, contributing to the cultivation of collaborations and knowledge transfer between groups of different institutes and countries as well as across fields/subfields. Being a member of the ESPD board would be the perfect opportunity for this, allowing me to utilize my professional and research experience to support the needs of the ESPD and address the challenges and difficulties that scientists and communities face across Europe.

Marianna Brigitta Korsos (Aberystwyth University, UK)

Marianna Korsos is a  Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in Solar Physics, at Aberystwyth University, UK. Marianna studies some fundamental questions related to space weather. In particular, her focus is on developing methods to improve the prediction of energetic flare events and Coronal Mass Ejections, occurring in solar active regions characterized by non-potential magnetic field configurations. In 2016, Marianna was awarded the Women in Science Excellence Award - Space Physics - Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She is one of the elected members of the UK Solar Physics Council. Marianna had a key role in setting up and running the UK Solar Online Seminar Series (UK-SOSS), and she also helped the MIST community with technical support to organise their own online seminar series during Covid-19. Marianna is one of the founding members of a new scientific initiative with the aim to establish closer connections and better efficiency within the European Space Weather Community (Quo Vadis). Last but not least, Marianna's scientific work is now core for establishing a major global ground-based robotic solar telescope network for early-warning of flares and solar eruptions (Solar Activity Monitor Network, SAMNet).

I would like to be a junior board member of the ESPD in order to promote and move forward the important work of ESPD in Europe and internationally. I also would like to promote our community’s research to professional and public audiences. As an early-carrier researcher myself, I also would like to encourage students and fellow young researchers in our field to join ESPD.

David Long (UCL/MSSL, UK)

David is a STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow and Lecturer in Solar Physics at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the Space and Climate Physics Department of University College London. In addition, he is the UK Co-PI for the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) telescope onboard Solar Orbiter. His research interests include the origin and evolution of solar eruptions, globally propagating waves in the low solar corona, and the evolution of elemental abundance.

It is really important to develop a strong and vibrant solar community in Europe and to strengthen ties with the wider international community. I also believe that it is vital to encourage and support the next generation of solar scientists, and if elected will work to help students and young scientists.

 Jasmina Magdalenić (Royal Observatory of Belgium & KU Leuven, Belgium), current board member

Jasmina Magdalenić is a solar physicist working at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) and KU Leuven. She has extensive experience in the field of solar radio physics, multiwavelength data analysis and data driven modeling. Her scientific interests include coronal and interplanetary shock waves, global coronal waves, modelling of the wave propagation, radio triangulation, CME propagation and association with shock waves and generation and propagation of solar wind. Since Jasmina is an active member of the space weather forecasting group at ROB, her scientific interests also include all the space weather related studies.

J. Magdalenić coordinated two international projects devoted to development and testing of the heliospheric simulation code EUHFORIA. She is also a member of the CESRA board (CESRA is Community of European Solar Radio Astronomers) and the representative of Belgium in the core team of the LOFAR solar KSP (Key Science Project).

I believe that my association to the solar radio physics and space weather related activities is very useful for the ESPD. I would like to be a member of the ESPD board because I believe this gives me an opportunity to help strengthening scientific collaboration and links between the different parts of the solar community.

Sophie Masson (Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Observatoire de Paris, PSL, France)

I’m a solar physicist with more than 10 years of experience. My research focuses on the dynamics of the solar corona using tridimensional magnetohydrodynamics simulations of solar eruptions. My expertise also includes the study of solar energetic particles, mainly on their acceleration, their interplanetary injection and their propagation using multi-instruments analysis and diagnostic of energetic particle events. This multidisciplinary approach based on the combination of multi-instruments analysis and numerical simulations drives me to have a large and integrated view of solar energetic particles issue in the inner heliosphere.
I received a PhD fellowship from the French government department of defense (DGA) at Paris Observatory. I was a postdoc at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellowship. I’m now a permanent researcher at Paris Observatory working at the Plasma Physics Laboratory.
I’m a candidate to be a member of the ESPD Board in order to help federate and animate the European solar physics community. Being a member of the board will allow me to participate actively to the promotion and development of the Solar physics European activity.

Nancy Narang (Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, University of Oslo, Norway)

I am a postdoctoral fellow at Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, University of Oslo. After completing my PhD from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, I joined University of Oslo in 2019. My research interests are observations of fine-scale structures in the solar atmosphere to understand the coupling between the photosphere, chromosphere and corona. To complement the observations, I am also using numerical simulations to relate the dynamics of observed phenomena with the evolution of physical parameters in the simulations. I believe coupling the observations with simulations is crucial to improve the theoretical models and develop better instrumentation for upcoming observing facilities such as the European Solar Telescope. Being a member of the ESPD board, I would like to participate in developing close collaborations between observers and theoreticians to maximise the potential of the available and upcoming ground/space-based observation and computation facilities.

Presently, I am a member of the functioning committee of my institute. During my PhD, I have served as a member of the local organising committee for IAU Symposium 340 in 2018 and IRIS-10 meeting in 2019, held in India. I am also involved in teaching and supervision activities. Recently, I have also been selected as a junior member of the International Astronomical Union. My participation in the ESPD board will give me an opportunity to contribute in fostering collaborations and promoting solar and heliospheric studies within Europe and internationally, particularly to encourage students into Astrophysics education.

Tatiana Podladchikova (Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Russia)

Tatiana Podladchikova is an assistant professor at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, an international private graduate research institute in Moscow, Russia, established in 2011 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tatiana also serves as a program coordinator and lecturer for the Skoltech curriculum Space and Engineering Systems. Her key expertise lies in the development of advanced analysis techniques applied to noisy experimental data, control and forecasting for solar physics and space weather applications. She developed a series of new methods and services, including medium term-term sunspot number prediction service based on adaptive Kalman filtering operating at the World data center SILSO (http://sidc.be/silso/ssngraphics); a geomagnetic storm forecasting service StormFocus (http://spaceweather.ru/content/extended-geomagnetic-storm-forecast) and solar wind prediction from coronal holes at the Sun for ESA SSA program. Tatiana is a PI of the Russian contribution to the EU Horizon Solarnet project. She also serves as a managing editor of the Elsevier journal REACH – Reviews in Human Space Explorations. In 2020 and 2021, she is co-convening g a session “The Solar Sources and Space Weather” at the European Space Weather Symposium.

I wish to be part of the board of the ESPD in order to foster the synergetic collaborations between West and East, to promote studies in solar physics and related topics, and to encourage applications of advanced data analysis methods for solar physics, which are already well developed for estimation theory and system identification, as often an interdisciplinary exchange between different areas leads to the progress and development of science and applications.

Camilla Scolini (University of New Hampshire, USA)

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Hampshire. My research interests revolve around solar eruptive events, particularly Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), their interplanetary evolution, and their impact on planetary environments. I have extended research experience with both numerical simulations and observations of (I)CMEs, and having explored both research fields, I believe in the necessity to nurture an effective communication between the observational and numerical/theoretical groups in our community.

Prior to moving to the United States, I obtained my PhD from the KU Leuven in 2020. Maintaining strong bonds with my PhD institution and Europe-based researchers is a priority for me, and is giving me the opportunity to foster connections between the European and North American research communities. Before and after obtaining my PhD, I have served as a coordinator in various activities within the space weather community: e.g. by acting as a co-moderator of H1 cluster on “Heliospheric magnetic field and solar wind” of the COSPAR ISWAT initiative, and by co-convening sessions at meetings such as the European Space Weather Week and COSPAR.

As an early career scientist, I am particularly aware of how strongly the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting younger researchers and their career perspectives, and I believe in the utmost importance of ensuring that all members of our community, regardless of their level of experience, have access to opportunities to connect with each other and showcase their work. As a member of the ESPD board, I would like to promote students and early career scientists, making sure they have more numerous and more regular opportunities to present their work to other researchers and to engage in networking activities that will benefit their future careers; and to encourage initiatives aimed at strengthening the connection between observers and modelers/theoreticians within the ESPD.

Nataliia Shchukina (Main Astronomical Observatory, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine)

I am a corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) and a senior scientist of the Solar Physics Department of the Main Astronomical Observatory of the NASU where I have director's duties. My research interests cover various areas of astrophysics, like multilevel radiative transfer, solar and stellar spectropolarimetry, solar magnetism, helioseismology, quantitative stellar spectroscopy and exoplanets. I have been the Principal Investigator of various research projects of the NASU and I have participated in some space experiments, such as the CORONAS-I and CORONAS-F missions. I have also participated in several international organizations (e.g., during 2012-2015 I was Vice-president of the "Solar Radiation and Structure" Commission of the IAU). I am a member of the European Astronomical Society and Ukrainian Astronomical Association. I have received various fellowships for visiting European research centers, including the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) where I have worked and continue to work with Prof. Javier Trujillo Bueno in the fields of multilevel radiative transfer and solar and stellar spectropolarimetry.

I would like to achieve an understanding from society and governments that fundamental science, including solar physics, is one of the most important and the most active scientific frontiers that has far-reaching impacts on natural sciences, technology and even human civilization.

Julia K. Thalmann (University of Graz, Institute of Physics/IGAM, Austria)

Julia is a solar physicist at the Institute of Physics/IGAM at the University of Graz. She is expert in the modeling of the structure and complexity of the magnetic field in the outer solar atmosphere, the solar corona. Her main research interest is on the long-term evolution of solar active regions, including their magnetic energy and helicity budgets, and their response to solar eruptive events. Thus, of particular interest are the local magnetic processes governing flare and/or CME activity, including their possible influence on near-Earth Space Weather.

My motivation to become a member of the ESPD board is twofold. On the one hand, it allows to serve the European solar physics community by shaping and supporting measures aimed at the initiation and/or coordination of collaborations, involving different disciplines of solar physics and researchers at a different stage of their scientific career. On the other hand, representing and promoting research (activities) of the European solar physics community allows it to further strengthen the international recognition and standing.

Kostas Tziotziou (Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing/National Observatory of Athens, Greece)

Kostas Tziotziou is a research stuff member (Director Scientist) at the Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens. He obtained his PhD in Astrophysics from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, in 1997 and his research interests involve Solar Physics (ground- and space-based observations and data analysis, spectroscopy, quiet Sun and active region physics and dynamics), the Sun-Earth connection and Space Physics and Space Weather (including forecasting algorithms and systems). He has contributed with different responsibilities to many national and international research projects and the organization of several international conferences (including the ESPM-13 meeting in Rhodos Island, Greece in 2011), training schools and public outreach activities.

Becoming a member of the ESPD board will give me the opportunity to serve our community, actively contribute to the evolution of the ESPD and try to further strengthen the present leading role of European solar physics in scientific research, infrastructures and public outreach, by driving and promoting relevant actions to the board.

Sven Wedemeyer (Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, University of Oslo, Norway)

Sven Wedemeyer is an associate professor and one of the PIs of the Rosseland Center for Solar Physics at the University of Oslo, Norway. He has worked on various topics in solar and stellar physics, from the small-scale structure and dynamics of the solar photosphere and chromosphere to implications for the atmospheres of other stars. In recent years, Sven has made significant contributions to the development of solar observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) as part of the international solar ALMA development group and ESO’s European Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) for ALMA, as PI of the ERC-funded SolarALMA project and as PI of an ESO development study, and as host of the First International Workshop on Solar Imaging with ALMA in 2020. Most of his projects combine 3D rMHD simulations with space-based and ground-based observations.

As solar physics enters a new era with larger observation facilities and increasingly complex numerical simulations, good communication and productive collaboration among many scientists with complementary backgrounds is essential. As a member of the ESPD Board, I would help strengthen the links between solar physicists in Europe and beyond, bringing together those who work on observations, simulations and also laboratory astrophysics with connection points to neighbouring fields such as heliospheric, plasma and stellar physics. I also attach great importance to promoting and fostering the development of the next generation of scientists, who are the future of our exciting research area.

Francesca Zuccarello (Università di Catania, Italy), current board member

Francesca Zuccarello is Associate Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy “Ettore Majorana” of the Catania University (Italy). Her research interests include solar flares, the emergence and evolution of active regions, and Space Weather. She is involved in the European Solar Telescope (EST) project, aimed at maintaining the European Community at the forefront of Solar Physics research.

During the last three years she has been a member of the Board of the Solar Physics Division of the European Physical Society and she would be very interested in continuing this important service for the European Solar Physics community.

If Francesca will be elected for another term, she will continue to pursue the main objectives of the Solar Physics Division: the advancement of the study of the Sun, the dissemination of key results of solar physics research to the general public, and the promotion and coordination of such research with other areas and branches of the physical sciences.