Professor Brian Fraser

Position: Conjoint Emeritus Professor of Physics
Faculty/Division: Faculty of Science and Information Technology
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
The University of Newcastle, Australia.
Telephone: +61 2 4921 5445
Facsimile: +61 2 4921 6907
Location: Physics Building - P124
Qualfications: 1960 B.Sc. (University of New Zealand)
1962 M.Sc. (First Class Honours, University of New Zealand)
1965 Ph.D. (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
Research Areas: Space Physics Group:
The Space Physics Group at the University of Newcastle is the leading research centre in Australia for studying the near-Earth space environment - the magnetosphere. Understanding this region is immensely important as communications and other space technology operates in the often hostile near-Earth space. Prof Fraser is the Director of the Centre for Space Physics .

Research interests have been concentrated in the fields of magnetospheric physics and waves in space plasmas with an emphasis on ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves, often referred to as geomagnetic pulsations. Over the last five years research has been concentrated in specific areas, ULF wave studies at high latitudes involving diagnostics of the last closed field lines and the open-closed boundary in the dayside cusp region and at low and equatorial latitudes including application to diagnostics of the magnetospheric and ionospheric plasmas.

These studies provide important information on the dynamics of high and low latitude boundary regions and are potentially important input parameters for space weather modelling. Spacecraft studies have been mainly concerned with electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves in the middle magnetosphere using CRRES electric and magnetic field data to determine EMIC wave and propagation characteristics and the magnetotail which, for the first time, studied PSBL EMIC waves. High latitude imaging riometer and optical imaging observations have been used to study the dynamics of the cusp and polar cap regions.

About 30% of research time over the last four years has been devoted to developing the NewMag fluxgate magnetometer payload on the Australian microsatellite FedSat. FedSat , Australia 's first satellite in 30 years, was successfully launched in December 2002 and the magnetometer has been gathering limited data since January 2003.

Research highlights from the above include:

  • Pioneered ULF wave diagnostic techniques for determining magnetospheric plasma density and mass loading
  • Used spacecraft Poynting flux studies to show magnetospheric EMIC wave sources are near the equator
  • Developed the close-spaced magnetometer network concept for FLR phase studies
  • Leader of the Space Science Program in the Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems and PI on the FedSat microsatellite magnetometer experiment

Over the last five years collaborative research has been primarily with C. T. Russell at UCLA on developing the NewMag magnetometer payload for FedSat. Other collaborators include J. C. Samson (Alberta) and K. Yumoto (Kyushu, Japan) working on ULF wave modelling and R. M. Thorne (UCLA) and R. J. Horne (BAS-UK) working on electron acceleration mechanisms using CRRES data.

Honours, Distinctions, and Societies:

Fellowships and Awards:

  • 1990 Visitor to the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Bombay
  • 1989 Australian Academy of Science/Academia Sinica Exchange Program Travel Grant
  • 1984 Australian Academy of Science/ Japan Society for Promotion of Science Exchange Programme Travel Grant
  • 1981-83 Potter Foundation Travel Grants. Three awarded
  • 1980 Senior Fulbright Hayes Fellowship, (AAEF)
  • 1979 Australia Japan Foundation Grant, International Workshop on Selected Topics on Magnetospheric Physics, Tokyo
  • 1978 Visitor to the Institute of the Physics of the Earth, Moscow and other institutions, under the USSR Australian Scientific Agreement
  • 1975 Invited Guest Worker National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Data Service (NOAA EDS) Boulder, Colorado. Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, USA
  • 1972 Young Scientist (under 35 years), to attend XVII General Scientific Assembly of URSI, Warsaw
  • 1972 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Visiting Fellowship, University of Colorado/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado
  • 1972 Senior Fulbright Hayes Fellowship, Australian American Education Foundation (AAEF)
  • 1969 Young Scientist (under 35 years, XVI URSI Assembly, Ottawa
  • 1962-64 Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Canterbury, NZ

Scientific Societies:

  • Fellow Australian Institute of Physics
  • Fellow Royal Astronomical Society
  • Member American Geophysical Union
  • Member International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy
  • Member International Union of Radio Science
  • Member International Committee on Space Research
  • Member International Association of Astronautics
Professional Positions:
  • 1993 Professor of Physics (Personal Chair)
  • 1987-1990 Head of Department of Physics
  • 1978-1992 Associate Professor of Physics
  • 1973-1977 Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Newcastle
  • 1968-1973 Lecturer in Physics, University of Newcastle
  • 1966-1967 Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Physics, Univ. of Newcastle
  • 1965 Research Fellow, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Link to: B.J. Fraser Research Publications
Link to: Space Physics Group Staff and Students
Link to: Space Physics Group Home Page