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Solar and Space Physics

6. Careers in Space

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In the sixth and final mini-lecture, we consider pathways to a career in space. In particular, we consider: (i) the wide variety of jobs one can get with a degree in maths, physics, engineering, and science in general; (ii) the diverse skillsets in the space sector; (iii) collaborations across universities, space agencies, industry — nationally and internationally; and (iv) where to start your journey if you’re interested in space science. Professor Harra also discusses her experiences and pathway to her role in academia and at the PMOD/WRC.


In this course, Professor Louise Harra (ETH Zürich) explores solar and space physics. In the first mini-lecture, we introduce the layers of the Sun and the nuclear reactions that take place within it. In the second mini-lecture, we discuss the magnetic properties of the Sun, including sunspots and solar flares. In the third mini-lecture, we introduce the basic equations that describe orbiting objects and consider some of the spacecrafts orbiting our Sun, such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter. The fourth mini-lecture turns towards space weather as we discuss interactions of the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields, the aurora borealis, and impacts of space weather on Earth. In the fifth mini-lecture, we discuss how space exploration can benefit the technologies we use on Earth. Finally, in the sixth mini-lecture, we consider the wide range of careers in science and space, and how to get involved.


Louise Harra is an affiliated Professor at ETH Zürich in addition to being the director of the Physikalisch-​Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos/World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) in Davos, Switzerland. The institute is a world-leader in solar irradiance and ozone measurements, and builds ground-based and space-based instruments. Before joining PMOD/WRC, Professor Harra worked as a UK project scientist for the solar-B EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), which was launched in 2006, after which she took over as principal investigator of the project until 2019. She is currently a co-principal investigator on the EUV Imager (EUI) and SPICE instruments onboard the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, as well as a co-investigator on the NASA IRIS mission. Professor Harra’s research interests are in solar physics, particularly solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar wind formation.

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Harra, L. (2022, February 11). Solar and Space Physics - Careers in Space [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Harra, L. "Solar and Space Physics – Careers in Space." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Feb 2022,

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