Ruth Bamford

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Ruth Bamford

Visiting senior research scientist

Dr Bamford has been a research scientist at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire in the U.K. since 1996.

Her research areas are diverse and include Space Weather and fundamental plasma physics. Her particular emphasis is on finite Larmor radius/kinetic effects in plasmas.

She is the principle investigator of the Mini-Magnetospheric project for space craft protection. The concept concerns ‘Active’ or electromagnetic plasma shielding of manned spacecraft for long stay and interplanetary missions, and satellites in radiation belts.

Ruth moved to RAL in 1996 to work in the Radio Communications Research Unit on radio propagation and the Earth’s ionosphere and Space Weather. Between 1998-2001 Dr Bamford devised the “Radio Experiments during the UK 1999 Total Solar Eclipse” that used the brief night-time of the eclipse to make radio and ionospheric observations across Europe. She coordinated experiments for the scientific, radio amateur and general public, for which she won a special Early Career researcher award at the SET for Britain held at the Houses of Parliament.

Prior to working at RAL, Ruth spent 10 years at the home of what is currently the world’s largest “tokamak”, JET, at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Oxfordshire. Initially she was an undergraduate on a 1 year placement (from which she gained her very first publication before graduating), then returning having gained a 1st Class Honours in Applied Physics, to do a PhD with the University of Essex on magnetically confined fusion (MCF) plasmas. She was based full-time at Culham laboratory. Following the completion of her PhD in 1994 she worked as a post-doc of Imperial collage but based at Culham.

Dr Bamford is a diagnosed dyslexic and actively campaigns for greater awareness of the benefits of the dyslexia brain in science and engineering.

Dr Bamford gives public lectures on: fusion, plasma physics, space craft shielding, radiation in space, naturally occurring mini-magnetospheres on the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies such as comets. She also talks to radio amateur societies on the nature of the ionosphere and its effects on all bands of radio from VLF, HF to GPS frequencies.

Some select references:

Barry Kellett, Ruth Bamford, "Mini-magnetospheres and Lunar Swirls", A&G (2017) 58 (1): 1.21-1.27 , DOI:

F. Cruz, E. P. Alves, R. A. Bamford, R. Bingham, R. A. Fonseca, L. O. Silva, “Formation of collisionless shocks in magnetized plasma interaction with kinetic-scale obstacles” Phys. Plasmas 24, 022901 (2017); doi: 10.1063/1.4975310

Bamford, R.A. et al., “3D PIC simulations of collisionless shocks at lunar magnetic anomalies and their role in forming lunar swirls”, The Astrophysical Journal 830.2 (2016): 146.

Bamford, R. A., et al. "An exploration of the effectiveness of artificial mini-magnetospheres as a potential Solar Storm shelter for long term human space missions." Acta Astronautica 105.2: 385-394, 2014.

L Gargaté, RA Fonseca, LO Silva, RA Bamford, R Bingham, “SEP acceleration in CME driven shocks using a hybrid code”, The Astrophysical Journal 792 (1), 9, 2014.

Bamford, R.A. et. al., “Minimagnetospheres above the lunar surface and the formation of lunar swirls”. Physical Review Letters, 109(8):81101, 2012.

Bingham, R, Bamford, R, Kellett, BJ and Shapiro, VD, “Electron energization in lunar magnetospheres”. Journal of Plasma Physics, 76(6):915, 2010.

Bamford, R. et al. “The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to space- craft protection.” Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50(12):124025, 2008.

Bamford, R, Bingham, R, Hapgood, M, “Shields for the starship Enterprise”, Astronomy & Geophysics 48 (6), 6.18-6.23, 2007.