Space weather consultant @ RHEA
218 karmaJoined Aug 2018Working (0-5 years)


Based in London, UK.

I have a PhD in applied mathematics, and worked for several years on the mitigation of low probability, high severity natural risks to nuclear power stations.

My current focus is on space weather risk mitigation in the European space sector.

I have several years experience running a local EA group, and experience as a researcher for EA orgs.


Hey Jordan, I work in the space sector and I'm also based in London. I am currently working on a Government project assessing the impact of space weather on UK critical national infrastructure. I've written a little on the existential risk of space weather, too, e.g.

I'll message you as it would be good to connect!

The explosion of a nuclear bomb is "temporary", yet carries an extinction risk. Transient events can trigger long-term changes the Earth environment, transforming it into an inhospitable place. "Temporary" events can destroy the world.

There is a rich field of research into space weather and its impacts on modern technology. The 2013 Royal Academy of Engineering report on Extreme Space Weather  is a good place to start (although it is UK-focussed). The most likely impacts are on electricity networks. Widespread blackouts lasting several months, which would have extreme impacts on critical services, are expected to occur in a 100-year geomagnetic storm. Damage to satellites, satellite services (GPS, satellite timing, etc), and disruption to mobile and radio communication is also expected during such an event.

There is much less research into space weather as an existential risk. The mechanism is through depletion of atmospheric ozone due to a large influx of extremely high-energy protons, accelerated by a solar flare.  Such superflares may have contributed to previous mass extinctions. Such an extinction-level event has been estimated to have an annual probability of 1/20 million. This estimate is based on extrapolations from radioisotope measurements in tree rings and ice-cores suggesting the existence of much larger space weather events occurring several thousands of years ago, and the observations of flares from other stars with orders of magnitude times the energy of those we observe on our Sun.

I am currently working on an updated space weather risk assessment for the UK. The focus is not on extinction-level events, but on ~100-year events. Happy to chat if anyone is interested.

Thanks for the comment. I REALLY like the way you put it in the first paragraph. You've put the idea into better words than I could have done. If it goes down well at the unconference, I'll be in touch. It will be helpful to chat to an audio engineer.

I agree with the paragraph about interviewing the most engaged people.

Thanks for your offer of help. If the response from the unconference is positive, I will be in touch with you to see if there is a way that you can contribute.

I agree with audio quality being a priority, especially with a remote interviewee. If the response from the unconference is positive, I was thinking of applying for funding for good quality hardware and software from e.g. the EA meta fund. As well as interviewing people who already have a good quality microphone, another option which I have hear other podcasters have success with, is to send a microphone to the interviewee by post and have them send it back (or to the next interviewee) after the interview.

Thanks for the feedback. A comment like this is useful at this stage as I'm trying to get an understanding for whether people would listen to this sort of thing.

Ace! this is the first time I've heard of that podcast. Thanks for sharing.

I've added a link now. After all, I need to turn up my "willingness to shamelessly self-promote" dial if I'm going to get this podcast off the ground!

Thanks for your interest in being an interviewee. I'll keep a log of those who are interested and will be in touch if the project has enough interest to get up and running.

"Everyday EA" - A new EA podcast


I am in the very early stages of creating a new EA podcast with the working title: Everyday EA. The podcast would be informal interviews with people in the EA community (broadly) who are not particularly well known, yet are doing valuable work, even if they aren’t yet the most successful person in their field. I’d like to use this session to get feedback on the initial idea, to talk to people who have podcasting experience, and to search for possible collaborators.


Many people in the community see the great research, writing, advocacy, and altruism of others and do not feel like they have enough to contribute so lose motivation to contribute at all. They only see the most successful people and think “I cannot achieve that”. This means that we are missing out on a large number of great minds who could help humans and animals now and in the future. I’d like to start a podcast project that promotes the voices of "everyday EAs": relatable role-models in the EA community who, while not necessarily being at the very top of their respective field, are having a meaningful impact that should be celebrated.

Many people (especially EAs?) consume many hours of podcasts. The small number of EA-specific podcasts (The Future of Life Institute podcast, 80,000 hours podcast, to name a few. I compiled a longer list here.) mostly involve interviews with very successful people. I think there is space for a more approachable and relatable podcast.

Benefits to the EA community:

  • Create relatable role-models: Make EA relatable through conversations with people who share the listeners’ worries and feelings of inadequacy.
  • A platform for early-career EAs to promote their thinking/writing/skills to the EA community.
  • A platform to promote diverse experiences and thoughts to broaden the reach of EA.

Key questions and uncertainties:

  • Is a podcast the best way to address these problems?
  • How could the impact of the podcast be maximised? Episode length, themes, who to interview?
  • What level of knowledge should we assume in the audience?
  • Would you like to work on this project with me (as an interviewee, co-host, or producer)?

If you have any suggestions about this idea but cannot make it to the unconference, please reply to this comment or reach out to me via private message.

First session is my preference, but I am happy to be considered for either.

I can also vouch for the Stronglifts 5x5 programme.

Training with a team and focusing on improvement (e.g. weight lifted, running time for a given distance, rock climbing grade), where improved health and well-being is the secondary benefit, has helped with my motivation a lot.

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