Dr Panagiota Petkaki


  • 2013 - present: Assessment/Product Manager, Cambridge International Examinations 
    • Visiting Scientist, Atomic Astrophysics, DAMTP, University of Cambridge
  • 2010 - 2013: Research Associate, Atomic Astrophysics, DAMTP, University of Cambridge and Supervisor, St Edmund's College, Trinity College, Jesus College & Clare College
  • 2008 - 2009: Senior Scientific Officer, British Antarctic Survey
  • 2001 - 2008: Higher Scientific Officer, British Antactic Survey
  • 1998 - 2001: Research Associate, Space & Atmospheric Physics, Imperial College
  • 1997 - 1998: Lecturer, Dept. of Physics, University of Calabria, Italy
  • 1995 - 1997: Research Associate, Plasma Astrophysics, University of Calabria, Italy
  • 1995: Research Assistant, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow


Giota's research expertise is in astrophysical/solar and space plasma physics, both in theoretical modeling, mainly using numerical simulations, and in analysis and interpretation of spacecraft measurements of particles and fields. She is interested in the kinetic processes of plasma such as wave-particle interactions (for example ion-acoustic waves) and how they can act to help release energy in magnetised plasma. She is also interested in the acceleration and transport of charged particles (and the production of energetic particles), in energy releasing phenomena such as solar flares and magnetic reconnection events in magnetospheres.

Training/Teaching Activities

Giota has lectured to undergraduate classes, tutored small groups of students, and managed undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects. She supervised Natural Sciences Part IA (A &B)   Mathematics course, University of Cambridge.

Selected Publications

  • Burge C.A., MacKinnon A.L., Petkaki P., 2014, Effect of binary collisions on electron acceleration in magnetic reconnection, A&A, 561, A107
  • Petkaki, P., Del Zanna, G., Mason, H. E., Bradshaw, S.J., 2012, SDO AIA and EVE observations and modelling of solar flare loops, A&A, 547, A25
  • C. Burge, P. Petkaki, A.L. MacKinnon, 2012, Particle Acceleration in the Presence of Weak Turbulence at an X-Type Neutral Point, Solar Physics, doi:10.1007/s11207-012-9963-2
  • P. Petkaki & A.L. MacKinnon, Acceleration of charged particles by fluctuating and steady electric fields in a X-type magnetic field, Adv.Space Research, 48, 884, 2011  ADS NASA
  • P. Petkaki, and M. P. Freeman, `Nonlinear dependence of ion-acoustic anomalous resistivity on electron drift velocity', The Astrophysical Journal, 686, 686, 2008  ADS NASA
  • P. Petkaki and A.L. MacKinnon, `Fluctuating electric fields particle acceleration at a magnetic field null point', AIP CP1039 Proceedings, 26, 2008
  • P. Petkaki and A.L. MacKinnon, `Particle acceleration from fluctuating electric  fields at a magnetic field null point', Astronomy & Astrophysics, 472, 623, doi: 10.1051/0004-6361:20066961, 2007 ADS NASA
  • P. Petkaki, M. P. Freeman, A.W. Walsh, `Cluster observations of electromagnetic waves in and around a possible reconnection diffusion region in the Earth's magnetotail current sheet', Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L16105, doi: 10.1029/2006GL027066, 2006 ADS NASA
  • P. Petkaki, M. P. Freeman, T. Kirk, C. E. J. Watt, and R. B. Horne,  `Anomalous resistivity and the non-linear evolution of the ion-acoustic instability', Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, A01205, doi:10.1029/2004JA010793, 2006
  • P. Petkaki, C. E. J. Watt, R. B. Horne and M. P. Freeman,  `Anomalous resistivity in non-Maxwellian plasmas', Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(A12), 1442, doi:10.1029/2003JA010092, 2003
  • P. Petkaki, `Polarization Properties of ULF waves in the Jovian Middle Magnetosphere', Journal of Geophysical Research, 107, E10, 5087, doi:10.1029/2001JE001824, 2002
  • P. Petkaki and M. Dougherty, `ULF Wave Observations in Jupiter's Magnetosphere', Advances of Space Research,  28, 909, 2001
  • P. Petkaki and M. Dougherty, `Waves close to the crossover frequency in the Jovian Middle Magnetosphere', Geophys. Res.Lett., 28,  211, 2001
  • F. Malara, P. Petkaki, and P. Veltri, `Dissipation of Alfvén Waves in Force-free Magnetic Fields: Competition between Phase Mixing and Three-dimensional Effects, The Astrophysical Journal,  533, 523, 2000
  • P. Petkaki and M. Dougherty, `Wave Signatures in the Jovian Magnetosphere', Planetary and Space Science,  48, 341, 2000
  • F. Malara, P. Veltri and P. Petkaki, `Fast Dissipation of Alfv'en waves in 3D Force-Free Magnetic Structures', Solar Wind 9, 353, 1999
  • P. Petkaki, F. Malara, and P. Veltri , `Topological Formation of Small Scales in Magnetohydrodynamics: A Fast Dissipation Mechanism',  The Astrophysical Journal, 500, 483, 1998
  • P. Petkaki and A.L. MacKinnon, `Particle acceleration from linear dynamical collisionless reconnection', Solar Physics, 172, 279, 1997
  • L. Fletcher and P. Petkaki, `Particle acceleration and transport in reconnecting plasmas', Solar Physics, 172, 267, 1997
  • Brown J.C., Mundell C.G., P. Petkaki, Jenkins G., `The Optical `Bullets' of SS433 as a Radiative Instability Phenomenon', Astron. Astrophys. Lett., 296, L45, 1995
  • P. Petkaki and  A.L. MacKinnon, `Particle Orbits near a Neutral Point', Space Science Reviews, 68, 117, 1994