L y n d s a y  F l e t c h e r
Solar Physicist
Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, Palo Alto, California

What I Do

There are many different ways in which one can contribute to understanding the Sun, from designing the instruments that observe it, to explaining the new things which the observations show. I am involved in the latter my job is to do science with the observations. My particular interest and goal is to use my knowledge of theoretical physics, applied to measurements and images made by instruments on spacecraft, to try and understand the hot outer atmosphere of the Sun the corona. My tools right now are three satellites TRACE, Yohkoh and SOHO and many years of training in physics.

How I became a Solar Physicist

I was born in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, so following my particular star has taken me quite a long way from home! The first time I can remember thinking about the Sun was in elementary school when we did a class project on the solar system and I learned that the Sun has spots. But it would be wrong to say this piece of information sparked a lifelong quest. No, like many people, I just kind of fell into my job, and since then have never found anything more interesting that I want to do (or that I can do well enough to make a living). But this is how it went...

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