Cathryn Mitchell, Professor of Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Academic Director of the University’s Doctoral College, has been recognised with a prestigious award for her research by the Institute of Physics.

She will receive the 2019 Edward Appleton Medal and Prize for her pioneering research in tomography and data assimilation revealing a completely new perspective on the Earth's ionosphere in response to extreme space weather.

Professor Mitchell developed a new Earth observation technique by adapting medical tomography to image the Earth's ionosphere, giving the first global-scale view of the ionosphere in response to space weather storms.

Her research has fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of the Earth's ionosphere, and has had practical impacts on improving the accuracy and reliability of satellite navigation systems.

She currently holds a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship and has recently acted in advisory roles for UK and US government bodies and for the European Space Agency.

In 2015 she was invited by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to be the scientific advisor for a UK Government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies exercise to test UK infrastructure resilience to a large space solar storm. This included assessment of threats to satellite navigation and communication, aviation, power, financial services, road and rail.

She has published over 100 journal papers and her tomography algorithms are licensed to other research organisations nationally and internationally.

She continues to pioneer new observation techniques, this year producing the first ever single-frequency Geostationary GPS ionospheric measurements.

Mitchell's innovations in tomographic imaging have crossed traditional discipline boundaries and are now applied in other fields including medical imaging, nuclear imaging and cosmic-ray muon tomography.

Professor Mitchell will receive the award at a ceremony in November.