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Dr. Ryan French - author headshot

About Me

I'm a solar physicist, science communicator and author, currently working at the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado. I'm working to pursue the mysteries of the Sun at the forefront of modern solar physics research, using cutting edge telescopes on the ground and in space. 

 

In addition to my scientific work, I strive to share the wonders of the Sun and space with the public, through social media (50k+ followers), museums and observatories, and on television and radio. My first book, 'The Sun: beginner's guide to our local star', is available everywhere now.

 

I am also an avid hiker, nature photographer, and skier, perhaps because the mountains take me closer to the Sun.

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Scientific Research

My research primarily investigates explosive phenomena in the atmosphere of the Sun called solar flares. Solar flares a fundamental part of space weather, the impact of the Sun's activity on Earth and near-Earth environment - it is therefore important to understand the behaviour of solar flares and ultimately how to predict them.

My research uses observations from telescopes on the ground and in space, including the NSF'S Inouye Solar Telescope, NASA's IRIS & SDO spacecraft, ESA's Solar Orbiter and JAXA's Hinode.

A list of my publications can be found at the following sites - ADSORCIDResearchGateGoogle Scholar. If you're a scientist and want to 1) collaborate on a project, or 2) need a speaker for an academic seminar, please reach out!

Dr. Ryan French with Hinode EIS model

Image: The day of my PhD viva/defence, posing infront of the engineering model of the Hinode Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), an instrument I used within my PhD research.

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Dr. Ryan French from UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory on BBC News supermoon story
Dr. Ryan French from the National Solar Observatory on ITV news aurora story

Media

Communicating science is an important part of being a scientist. My media expertise include the Sun, northern lights, solar system science, and astronomical events (eclipses, super moons, meteor showers, etc).

 

In recent years, I've appeared on BBC World News, ITV News, BBC Radio 2, and had quotes used by a variety of online media outlets, including Forbes[1][2][3][4][5][6], Washington Post[1][2][3][4], Yahoo News[1][2][3][4]IFL Science[1][2], National Geographic[1]. , the Independent[1], Boston Globe[1], and space.com[1][2]

I also offer writing services of original feature articles for astronomy magazines or media outlets. Recent collaborations include work for AstronomyNow and Collins Astronomy[1][2].

If you need a quote and/or qualified writer for an article - please reach out!

Books

My first book, The Sun: beginner’s guide to our local star, was published worldwide in 2023. The title is a part of the HarperCollins Collins Astronomy series, and explores the history, science and safe observation of our nearest star.

 

The book is available on Amazon around the world, including:

If you'd like to get in touch about a future publishing project, please contact me directly.

Front cover of 'The Sun: beginner's guide to our local star' by Dr. Ryan French
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Dr. Ryan French giving a public talk in the Royal Observatory Greenwich Peter Harrison Planetarium. 'The Sun: beginner's guide to our local star'

Public Talks & Podcasts

With over a decade of public speaking experience, I am well versed at presenting science to non-specialised audiences. 2023 highlights include talks at:

  • Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, UK: Meet-the-author event

  • Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux, UK: Astronomy Festival

  • Fiske Planetarium, Boulder, USA: Science Under the Dome

I have also appeared in numerous podcasts to discuss Sun science in a more casual manner. Recent podcast appearances include: 

For bookings at astronomy events, astronomical societies, podcasts, etc - please contact me below. Previous talk titles include: 'Earth at Sun's Mercy' and 'Beginner's guide to our local star', 

Social Media

In August 2022, I began a project called Sun Science Daily. The concept was simple: challenge the popular notion that the Sun is static and unchanging, by posting daily movies of solar activity (sunspots, solar flares, etc) onto TikTok, Instagram, YouTube (and recently Facebook). 

The videos quickly took off on TikTok, with my account having amassed 45k+ followers, 1.2 million likes, and 15+ and 5+ videos reaching 100,000 and 1 million views respectively. A typical video is shown to the right.

My Twitter account is more personal, posting updates on the Sun alongside my own career milestones.

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Waxing Gibbous Moon (by Dr. Ryan French)
Orion Nebula through research-grade UCL telescopes (by Dr. Ryan French)
Solar Orbiter launch, Cape Canaveral, USA, (by Dr. Ryan French)
Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon, Holmbury St Mary, UK, (by Dr. Ryan French)
Northern Lights aurora from Longyearbyen, Svalbard (by Dr. Ryan French)
Milky Way Galaxy, Colorado Rocky Mountains, USA, (by Dr. Ryan French)
Moments before Annular Solar Eclipse, Texas, USA (by Dr. Ryan French)
Northern Lights aurora from Longyearbyen, Svalbard (by Dr. Ryan French)

My astrophotography highlights gallery (top left - bottom right): Waxing Gibbous Moon. Orion Nebula (through research-grade UCL telescopes), moments before Annular Solar Eclipse (Texas, USA), Solar Orbiter launch (Cape Canaveral, USA), Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon (Holmbury St Mary, UK), Milky Way Galaxy (Colorado Rocky Mountains, USA), my first Aurora (Svalbard, Norway).

Get in touch!

Please contact me via this form for any questions or collaboration requests, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. 

  • For urgent press requests, please include urgent in subject box.

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