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Mr. Michael Pinnock - Profile

photo of Mr. Michael Pinnock Board Member Science Delivery

+44 (0)1223 221400

British Antarctic Survey
Madingley Road, High Cross
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0ET United Kingdom


Originally qualified as an Electronics Engineer and worked with a subsidiary of GEC Telecommunications on a variety of electronic business systems, commissioning, maintenance and a limited amount of development work.

Joined British Antarctic Survey in 1976 and did two years, followed by a further year, at Halley Station, Antarctica. Duties were operation and maintenance of the ionospheric observatory, but also included analysis of the data. I initiated a study of night-time ionospheric features at Halley (the Mid-Latitude Trough) and carried out several innovations to the antenna system and control electronics.

In 1981 I was the Antarctic field engineer for BAS's first digital ionospheric radar system, which also incorporated the first mini-computer that BAS deployed in the Antarctic. Another first (we think!) was the construction of the tallest mamade object in Antarctic, as I led the construction of  two 45m high masts for the antenna system.

From this point on I pursued a dual track with BAS, developing radar systems for studying the auroral ionosphere and publishing the science results, usually in collaboration with satellite experimenters.

From 1986 I was the Project Manager for the Halley SuperDARN radar, an advanced over -the- horizon radar system capable of measuring the motion of the ionosphere over  a large (3 million sq. kms) part of East  Antarctica. (See for further details). This was a very productive science period, combining a state of the art instrument with extensive international collaboration and access to a very wide range of datasets. The radar enabled us to make significant advances in understanding how the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetopshere and upper atmosphere.

From 1995 I was  Group Leader for the Solar Wind/Magnetopshere/Ionosphere/Thermosphere group, leading that reaseach activity. From 2000 I was part of the Magentic Reconnection and Substorm project team but gradually started asusming more senior management duties. Scientifically, this period was very satisfying, with the group successfully moving from an experimental basis to one that incorporated more theory and modelling elements.

In 2004 I was appointed Head of Physical Sciences Division and becanme a member of the BAS Board.

In 2009, with the reorganisation of the science management structure, I became Board Member for Science Delivery with responsibility for delivering science across the six science programmes.