Brief introduction to Institute of Space Physics and Applied Technology

Space physics emerged as a key discipline of space science after the first space-borne measurements in the early 1950s. It aims to study various phenomena and laws in the solar system such as the solar-terrestrial relation, and to investigate the dynamic nature of space environment as well as its significant impact on the ecosystem and human activities. Space physics is an interdiscipline including solar physics, heliophysics, magnetospheric physics, ionospheric physics, space plasma physics, aeronomy, space weather, etc.

The space physics specialty was founded in 1959 in Peking University. It has offered the Ph.D. programs since 1988 and Post-doctoral programs since 2003.

Peking University was ranked the first in the space physics program category by the National Department of Education in 2012. The space physics institute was elected as an Innovational Research Team by National Science Foundation China. 

Our institute is composed of 12 faculty members (including 5 professors, 4 tenure-tracked assistant professors, 3 associate professors) and 2 engineers (including 1 senior engineer, and 1 engineer), as well as two emeritus faculties and two emeritus engineers. One faculty was elected to Chinese Academy of Science, and three faculties were elected to International Academy of Astronautics. Two faculties were elected as Yangtze Distinguished Professors by the Department of Education, two faculties were recruited by national “1000 Talent Plan“, two faculties were elected as Distinguished Scholars by NSFC and one was elected as Distinguished Young Scholars by NSFC.

Recent research achievements are as follows: the formation of solar wind, the acceleration and transport of energetic electrons in the Sun and heliosphere, the production of “killer” electrons in the geo-space, 3D magnetic reconnection in the space plasmas, the dynamics of depolarization front in the magnetotail, the response of ionosphere to solar flare based on GPS, effect of ionosphere on GPS system, the responses of ionosphere to typhoon and great Earthquakes, design and building of the energetic particles detectors onboard resource satellites jointed sponsored by China and Brazil. In the last 5 years, the institute staff have published more than 160 SCI papers, acted as first-author or corresponding author of more than 130 papers including Research Article on “Science” magazine, and presented more than 50 invited talks in the international academic conferences.

The faculty members and staff have received many prestigious awards and honors: the Chinese National Natural Science Awards (2nd class, 3 times in 1989, 2001, 2001), the Vikram Sarabai medal from COSPAR (twice, in 1992 and 2010), Wang Danping Science Award (1992), Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize on Science and Technology (2001), Beijing Science and Technology Award (2nd class, 2003), Tan Kah Kee Science Award (2006), Chinese Young Female Scientist Nomination Award (2006), the Outstanding Scientist Award from ESA (2010), the Laurels Team Achievement Award from IAA (2010), and the International Award from AGU (2012).

Many of our graduates have achieved great success and international acclaim in a diverse range of fields, especially in the field of space physics. They include CAS academicians, TWAS academicians, IAA academicians, AIP fellows, recipients of US Presidential Early Career Awards, Yangtse Distinguished Professors, NSFC Distinguished Scholars, Chief Engineer for spacecraft design, and leaders of universities, business corporations, government agencies, etc. In the last 5 years, three of our graduates have been awarded National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of China, and one has been awarded Excellent Doctoral Dissertation of Beijing.