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Carole Jordan: Wikis


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Professor Dame Carole Jordan, DBE, FRS, FInstP, (born 19 July 1941) was the first ever female president of the Royal Astronomical Society. She was also only the third female recipient of its Gold Medal (in 2005, following Caroline Herschel in 1828 and Vera Rubin in 1996).



Carole Jordan was educated at Harrow County Grammar School for Girls and at University College London (BSc 1962; PhD 1965; Fellow 1991). Her first paper, written while she was still an undergraduate, was on the distortion of lunar craters.

Her PhD studies under C. W. Allen included crucial identification of iron and other lines in the solar spectrum, early ionisation-balance calculations, development of density-diagnostic methods using the iron lines, calculation of relative element abundances and modelling from emission-measure distributions. She published a paper on problems in coronal research in 1965.


During this time, she completed her ionisation-balance calculations and the identification of some forbidden lines and satellite lines. In 1969, she started to devise methods to obtain the structure of the Solar transition region.
  • Astrophysics Research Unit, Culham Laboratory:
    • Post-doctoral research assistant, 1969-71
    • Senior Scientific Officer, 1971-73
    • Principal Scientific Officer, 1973-76
  • Wolfson Tutorial Fellow in Natural Science, Somerville College, Oxford, 1976 -
  • University of Oxford: reader in physics, 1994-96, professor of physics 1996-, head of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, 2003 -2008

She has published papers on astrophysical plasma spectroscopy and structure and energy balance in cool star coronae.



Carole Jordan was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) on 17 June 2006.

Scientific work

Following the launch of the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite in 1978, she turned her attention to stellar coronal and chromospheric activity. Her knowledge of solar activity enabled her to help develop this new branch of astrophysics. Since about 1980, she has been a key member of nearly every team, in the UK, Europe and the USA, concerned with the development and use of instruments for the studies of ultra-violet and x-ray spectra of the sun and of the stars.


She was married to her Culham Laboratory/ARU colleague Richard Peckover from 1971 until 1983.

External links


  • Astronomy and Geophysics, August 2005, p. 439 (Gold medal citation)
  • The Observatory, October 2005, pp. 294-95 (Account of presentation of Gold medal)


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