2024 CSIRO Alumni Scholarship in Physics

February 20th, 2024

Thurs 15 February, 2024

The CSIRO Alumni network and LCU presented the 2024 CSIRO Alumni Physics scholarship award to our 2024 winner Chloe Wilkins
The event was hosted by Dr Katja Digweed, CSIRO Research Director of Devices and Engineered Systems, Dr Scott Martin, Dr Bob Steele and Helen Lorigan, CEO of LCU
Our scholarship winner, Chloe Wilkins, gave a talk on her research, “Characterising the Sun’s open-closed magnetic flux boundary towards understanding the acceleration of the slow solar wind.” The scholarship funds will enable Chloe to travel to Durham University to work with experts in this area.
Some of our guests took a tour of CSIRO Lindfield before the ceremony and enjoyed seeing our research in action.

Chloe Wilkins being presented the award by Katja Digweed

Presentation of the award to Chloe Wilkins by Katja Digweed


Lecture theatre with presentation up on screen

Chloe Wilkins presenting her research


2024 winner: Chloe Wilkins
Chloe’s project is titled, “Characterising the Sun’s open-closed magnetic flux boundary towards understanding the acceleration of the slow solar wind.”
Chloe’s research is centred around developing a comprehensive global model of the Sun’s magnetic topology – research which holds immense potential for advancing our understanding of slow solar wind acceleration and its implications for Earth.
The question of the acceleration of the slow solar wind has become a pivotal research area in recent years, motivating the launches of the NASA Parker Solar Probe (2018) and the NASA/ESA Solar Orbiter (2020) flagship missions. The slow solar wind is one of the driving forces behind space weather events such as geomagnetic storms, which can cause radio blackouts and interfere with satellites and GPS technology. It is postulated in severe cases that such events could result in economic losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.
Consequently, Chloe’s PhD project occupies a prominent position in the forefront of space physics research, aiming to deepen our understanding of solar dynamics and contribute valuable insights to the fields of solar physics and space weather forecasting.
Chloe will be using the scholarship funds to travel to Durham University, where she will be introduced to a more realistic global model – a magnetofrictional approach – by Professor Anthony Yeates, a leading expert in this area.
Durham University is a renowned institution with an outstanding reputation in teaching, research and student employability. Chloe’s research in solar physics aligns seamlessly with the University’s expertise. Chloe says, “I am excited for the possibility to expand my professional network through collaboration with Professor Anthony Yeates, members of the Applied Mathematics research group, and academics in solar physics at neighbouring institutions.”

Three people standing in front of CSIRO banner

Dr Bob Steele, Chloe Wilkins and Helen Lorigan