Emilia Kilpua

University of Helsinki (Finland)

  smiling woman with Golden Gate Bridge in background

After three years in sunny California at the UC Berkeley - Space Sciences Lab, I moved back to Finland in June, 2008. At the moment I am at the University of Helsinki where I continue to work as a scientist and study STEREO (a NASA satellite solar mission) events. I was born in the city of Oulu, located in the northern Finland. At those latitudes the auroras (Northern Lights) were frequent during the wintertime, but in high school I was more fascinated by supernovae, black holes and other exotic objects than our nearest star.

After studying theoretical physics and astronomy for a few years at the University of Helsinki, I managed a summer job at the Finnish Meteorological Institute where I investigated eruptions from the Sun and how they affect the Earth’s magnetosphere. Ever since I have been involved in space science research. My work has mainly consisted of analyzing satellite data to understand the dynamics of the Sun and how it causes different space weather phenomena on Earth.

I did both my master thesis and PhD at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Shortly after receiving my PhD in 2005 I moved with my husband to sunny California to work at the Space Sciences Laboratory. The primary purpose of my post-doctoral visit has been to getting involved with the STEREO mission. STEREO observatory was launched in October 2005 (I even got a chance to see the STEREO launch in Florida!) and it consists of a pair of satellites that for the first time allow observing the solar eruptions in three dimensions.

The best thing about being a scientist is the interesting, challenging work—every day is different and you keep learning new things. I also enjoy flexible working hours, the opportunity to travel to many interesting places and getting to know people all over the world.

In my free-time I enjoy doing yoga, scuba diving, snowboarding and going out with my friends among other things.

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