School of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Martin Archer


Outreach Officer

Telephone: 0207 882 6963
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 109


Research Interests:

Earth’s magnetic field acts a barrier to the solar wind, forming our magnetosphere with a bow shock upstream that slows and deflects the supersonic plasma around it. However, this is a highly dynamic and non-linear process with many complicated feedback mechanisms. These result in various transient phenomena which can have localised and even global impacts on the magnetosphere affecting the energetic particles in the radiation belts, electrical currents directed into and through the top of the atmosphere, auroral processes and launching a cacophony of different ultra-low frequency waves analogous to sound. These impacts can severely impact on our space- and ground-based technology and infrastructure, resulting in technological, economic and societal repercussions known as space weather. My research career has focused on many of these dynamical processes, investigating their origins, properties and consequences.

I am also interested in how to undertake engaged research across various fields of physics, including new models of citizen science or collaborative research projects with schools/public, making scientific data more accessible through methods such as sonification, and evidencing who engages with physics, why, and how we can reach those outside of the scientific echo chamber (see public engagement section for more).


QMUL Centre for Public Engagement Small Grant (2019) Space Soundscapes at the Science Museum £500

QMUL Centre for Public Engagement Small Grant (2019) The World's Smallest Engine £400

Ogden Trust (2018-2021) Ogden Outreach Officer programme £80,000

Ogden Trust (2018) Summer Student Internship £2,100

STFC Public Engagement Spark Award (2017-2019) SSFX Space Sound Effects £17,550

Ogden Trust (2017) Summer Student Internship £2,100

EGU Public Engagement Grant (2017-2019) SSFX Space Sound Effects €1,000

QMUL Centre for Public Engagement Large Awards (2016-2017) Space Sound Effects (SSFX) Short Film Competition £6,250

STFC Public Engagement Small Award (2016-2019) Cosmic Ray Muon Research in Schools £8,500

SEPnet Impact Grant (2016) Schools Web-app £5,000

QMUL OFFA Award (2016) Research in Schools £6,000

QMUL OFFA Award (2016) Schools Web-app £2,000

QMUL Centre for Public Engagement Large Awards (2015-2016) Cosmic Ray Muon Research in Schools £2,000

STFC Science in Society Small Award (2011) DJ Physics £4,600




Archer, M.O., H. Hietala, M.D. Hartinger, F. Plaschke, V. Angelopoulos (2019). Direct Observations Of A Surface Eigenmode Of The Dayside Magnetopause. Nature Communications, 10, 615.


Archer, M. O., M.D. Hartinger, R. Redmon, V. Angelopoulos, B.M. Walsh, & Eltham Hill School Year 12 Physics students (2018). First results from sonification and exploratory citizen science of magnetospheric ULF waves: Long‐lasting decreasing‐frequency poloidal field line resonances following geomagnetic storms. Space Weather, 16, 1753-1769.

Palmroth, M, H. Hietala, F. Plaschke, M. Archer, T. Karlsson, X. Blanco-Cano, D. Sibeck, P. Kajdic, U. Ganse, Y. Pfau-Kempf, M. Battarbee, L. Turc (2018).  Magnetosheath jet properties and evolution as determined by a global hybrid-Vlasov simulation. Ann Geophys, 36, 1171-1182. 

Plaschke, F., H. Hietala, M. Archer et al. Space Sci Rev (2018). Jets downstream of collisionless shocks. Space Sci. Rev., 214:81. 

Karlsson, T., F. Plaschke, H. Hietala, M. Archer, X. Blanco-Cano, P. Kajdic, P.-A. Lindqvist, G. Marklund, & D. Gershman. Investigating the anatomy of magnetosheath jets - MMS observations. Ann. Geophys., 36, 655-677. 

Hietala, H., Phan, T. D., Angelopoulos, V., Oieroset, M., Archer, M. O., Karlsson, T., & Plaschke, F. ( 2018). In situ observations of a magnetosheath high‐speed jet triggering magnetopause reconnection. Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 1732– 1740. 


Plaschke, F., Karlsson, T., Hietala, H., Archer, M., Vörös, Z., Nakamura, R., … Giles, B. L. (2017). Magnetosheath high‐speed jets: Internal structure and interaction with ambient plasma. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122, 10,157–10,175. 

Archer, M.O. (2017) So you're looking to run a research in schools project? Practical tips from the evaluation of a pilot programme. SEPnet Report. 

Archer, M. O., Hartinger, M. D., Walsh, B. M., and Angelopoulos, V. (2017), Magnetospheric and solar wind dependences of coupled fast‐mode resonances outside the plasmasphere, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122, 212– 226, doi:10.1002/2016JA023428.


Archer, M. O., Hartinger, M. D., Walsh, B. M., Plaschke, F., and Angelopoulos, V. (2015), Frequency variability of standing Alfvén waves excited by fast mode resonances in the outer magnetosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 10,150– 10,159, doi:10.1002/2015GL066683.

Palmroth, M., et al. ( 2015), ULF foreshock under radial IMF: THEMIS observations and global kinetic simulation Vlasiator results compared, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 8782– 8798, doi:10.1002/2015JA021526.

Archer, M.O., T.S. Horbury, P. Brown, J.P. Eastwood, T.M. Oddy, B.J. Whiteside, & J.G. Sample (2015). The MAGIC of CINEMA: first in-flight results from a miniaturised anisotropic magnetoresistive magnetometer. Ann. Geophys., 33, 725-735, 2015 

Archer, M. O., and Plaschke, F. (2015), What frequencies of standing surface waves can the subsolar magnetopause support?. J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 3632– 3646. doi:10.1002/2014JA020545.

Hartinger, MD, Plaschke, F, Archer, MO, Welling, DT, Moldwin, MB, and Ridley, A (2015), The global structure and time evolution of dayside magnetopause surface eigenmodes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 2594– 2602. doi:10.1002/2015GL063623.

Archer, M.O., D.L. Turner, J.P. Eastwood, S.J. Schwartz, T.S. Horbury (2015). Global impacts of a Foreshock Bubble: Magnetosheath, magnetopause and ground-based observations. Planetary and Space Science, 106, 56-55.

Public Engagement

I have been a leader in developing innovative and impactful engagement activities for over 10 years. I used my previous position as a Kiss FM DJ/presenter (2007-2013) to develop ‘WiiJing’ and ‘DJ Physics’, both showcasing research physics principles applied to DJing which toured the country. I have a long history of working with media (inter)nationally, both broadcast (BBC, ITV, Discovery, Sky, CNN) and online (BBC, Vsauce), serving as a writer, consultant and presenter on various science series (including my own YouTube series) reaching hundreds of millions.

In recent years I have converted NOAA satellite data into audible sound. This has been used as the basis of an international film festival, engaging filmmakers to produce creative works which have attracted non-science audiences around the world at over 800 events.

It has also been used in engaged research projects with schools, where students experience research by listening to the data and analysing them in audio software. This has already resulted in unexpected scientific findings which have been published (see video below). These projects fall under a framework (Physics Research in School Environments, PRiSE) I have developed at QMUL which has successfully been raising the aspirations of students and changing teaching practice across 50 London schools thus far through various 6-month long projects.

I am also often invited to contribute to various other engagement events such as talks, stage shows and panel discussions. All of the above work has been recognised through numerous competitive awards (see Performance).


Awards and Recognition

QMUL Engagement & Enterprise Awards 2019, Public Engagement Involve Award Winner: MUSICS (Magnetospheric Undulations Sonified Incorporating Citizen Scientists)

NASA Research Highlight: Archer et al. (2019) Nature Communications 10 615

NASA THEMIS Research Highlight: Archer et al. (2019) Nature Communications 10 615

Space Weather Editor Highlight: Archer et al. (2018) Space Weather 16 1753-1769

NOAA Research Highlight: Archer et al. (2018) Space Weather 16 1753-1769

NASA THEMIS Research Highlight: Archer et al. (2018) Space Weather 16 1753-1769

QMUL Engagement & Enterprise Awards 2018, Media Relations Best Comment/Opinion Piece Winner: ‘So you want to build the Death Star? Here’s how to get started’

QMUL Engagement & Enterprise Awards 2018, Public Engagement Interact Award Highly Commended: SSFX (Space Sound Effects) Short Film Festival

SEPnet Public Engagement Awards 2017, Impact Project Award Winner: Physics Research in Schools

SEPnet Public Engagement Awards 2017, Innovation Project Award Highly Commended: SSFX (Space Sound Effects) Short Film Festival

QMUL Engagement & Enterprise Awards 2017, Public Engagement Inspire Award Highly Commended: Physics Research in Schools Programme

World Digital Media Awards 2014, Best Use of Online Video Winner: BBC How to Put a Human on Mars

European Digital Media Awards 2014, Best Use of Online Video Winner: BBC How to Put a Human on Mars

NASA THEMIS Mission Research Highlight 2013: Archer et al. (2013) Geophys. Res. Lett. 40 5003

NASA THEMIS Mission Research Highlight 2013: Archer & Horbury (2013) Ann. Geophys. 31 319

Outstanding Student Paper Award, Space Physics & Aeronomy, AGU Fall Meeting 2012 Winner

Callendar Prize 2006, Imperial College London Winner

Imperial College Union Half Colours 2006

Royal College of Science Association Prize 2005 Winner


European Geosciences Union Outreach Committee member (2017- )

Ogden Trust Outreach Officer programme (2015- )

International Space Sciences Institute invited team member: Jets Downstream of Collisionless Shocks (2015-2018)

SEPnet Outreach & Public Engagement team (2014- )