UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics

Prof Andrew Coates

Prof Andrew Coates

Professor of Physics

Dept of Space & Climate Physics

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 1999

Research summary

Planetary magnetospheres

Plasma interaction with comets, Mars, Venus, Titan, Enceladus

Planetary surface imaging, determination of water density in Mars atmosphere from surface, radiation environment on surface. 

Earth's magnetosphere, bow shock, space weather studies, effects on spacecraft.

Planetary and space plasma instrumentation:

Principal Investigator (PI) Rosalind Franklin (ExoMars 2022) rover PanCam, lead investigator (PI) Beagle 2 stereo camera system, Lead co-investigator (co-i) Cassini CAPS electron spectrometer, lead co-i Venus Express ASPERA-4 Electron Spectrometer, co-i Mars Express ASPERA-3, co-i Rosetta Plasma Consortium, co-i JUICE PEP, co-i BepiColombo MPPE, co-i Cluster-PEACE, co-i Double Star Peace, co-i Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) Fast Plasma Instrument (FPI), co-i Mars 2020 (Perseverence) MastCam-Z, co-i Giotto Johnstone Plasma Analyser (JPA), co-i AMPTE-UKS ion experiment.

Teaching summary

Current courses:

Planetary Atmospheres SPCE0010 (final year undergraduate, intercollegiate and MSc)

Former courses:

Space Science, Environment and Satellite Missions SPCEGC01 (MSc Space Science and Engineering)

Space Instrumentation and Applications SPCEG001 (MSc Space Science and Engineering)

Space plasma and magnetospheric physics (final year undergraduate)

Plasma physics (final year undergraduate)

Space exploration (1st year undergraduate)

Space weather lectures for Natural Hazards MSc


University of Oxford
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1982
University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1979
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1978


Professor Andrew Coates gained a BSc in Physics from UMIST in 1978, and MSc (1979) and D.Phil. (1982) in plasma physics from Oxford University. He has been at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) since 1982, with temporary guest positions at Max Planck Institute for Solar System Physics (Germany), University of Delaware (USA) and the BBC World service (media fellowship). He is now Deputy Director (solar system) at UCL-MSSL. Space mission involvements include the Rosalind Franklin (ExoMars 2022) rover where he leads the PanCam team, Cassini, where he leads the electron spectrometer team (part of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer), Venus Express, Mars Express and Giotto. Scientific interests include the solar wind interaction with planets and comets, and space instrumentation; he has authored and co-authored over 550 publications, including over 440 refereed. He is currently a member of STFC Science Board. He is a active in space and science outreach, and is currently President of the Society for Popular Astronomy.