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Matt Taylor (scientist)

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Matt Taylor
Matthew Graham George Thaddeus Taylor

1973 (age 50–51)
Manor Park, London, England
Alma mater
Scientific career
InstitutionsEuropean Space Agency
ThesisMHD modelling of space plasmas (2001)

Matthew Graham George Thaddeus Taylor (born 1973) is a British astrophysicist employed by the European Space Agency. He is best known to the public for his involvement in the landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the Rosetta mission (European Space Agency)'s Philae lander, which was the first spacecraft to land on a comet nucleus. He is Project Scientist of the Rosetta mission.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Manor Park, London[3] in 1973.[1] He is the son of a bricklayer and worked alongside his father, on building sites, during his summer breaks from university.[4]


Taylor received a degree in physics from the University of Liverpool. Taylor earned a PhD[5] in space physics which focused on Magnetohydrodynamics modelling of astrophysical plasma in the magnetosphere from Imperial College London.[4][6]


Taylor's research career began when he became a research fellow at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory working on the Cluster mission.[7] This position led to his appointment as Cluster project scientist in 2005.[6][8] He is an author on 70 publications, primarily on the topic of aurorae.[6] In summer 2013, Taylor became a Project Scientist for the Rosetta mission.[2][4] Taylor's research has been published in leading peer reviewed scientific journals including Nature,[9] the Journal of Geophysical Research,[10] Geophysical Research Letters[11] and the Annales Geophysicae.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor's wife is Leanne. They have two children.[1][4]

Taylor is a devoted fan of heavy metal, especially death metal. He has posed with David Vincent of Morbid Angel for the magazine Metal Hammer, as well as having been photographed wearing Cannibal Corpse shirts multiple times.[13] He wrote the foreword to David Vincent's biography I Am Morbid: Ten Lessons Learned From Extreme Metal, Outlaw Country, And The Power Of Self-Determination.[14]

Taylor has a tattoo of the Rosetta spacecraft and its lander Philae on his leg,[15] which he had tattooed after the spacecraft was successfully awoken from hibernation in 2014.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Curtis, Nick (13 November 2014). "Rosetta rock star: Dr Matt Taylor on touching down on comet after a 10-year ride through space". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Matt Taylor's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Walker, Peter (14 November 2014). "Comet genius Matt Taylor is a typical absent-minded scientist, says sister". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Clark, Stuart (2 November 2014). "Rosetta spacecraft scientist Matt Taylor prepares for celestial rendezvous". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. ^ Taylor, Matthew Graham George Thaddeus (2001). MHD modelling of space plasmas (PhD thesis). Imperial College London. OCLC 53561590.
  6. ^ a b c "Matt Taylor". NASA. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  7. ^ "PhD Successes". SPAT News. Imperial College London. March 2001. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Cluster hears the heartbeat of magnetic reconnection". Space Daily. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  9. ^ Marklund, G. T.; Ivchenko, N.; Karlsson, T.; Fazakerley, A.; Dunlop, M.; Lindqvist, P.-A.; Buchert, S.; Owen, C.; Taylor, M.; Vaivalds, A.; Carter, P.; André, M.; Balogh, A. (2001). "Temporal evolution of the electric field accelerating electrons away from the auroral ionosphere". Nature. 414 (6865): 724–727. Bibcode:2001Natur.414..724M. doi:10.1038/414724a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 11742392. S2CID 4418541.
  10. ^ Pedersen, A.; Lybekk, B.; André, M.; Eriksson, A.; Masson, A.; Mozer, F. S.; Lindqvist, P.-A.; Décréau, P. M. E.; Dandouras, I.; Sauvaud, J.-A.; Fazakerley, A.; Taylor, M.; Paschmann, G.; Svenes, K. R.; Torkar, K.; Whipple, E. (2008). "Electron density estimations derived from spacecraft potential measurements on Cluster in tenuous plasma regions" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research. 113 (A7): n/a. Bibcode:2008JGRA..113.7S33P. doi:10.1029/2007JA012636. ISSN 0148-0227.
  11. ^ Lavraud, B. (2002). "Cluster observations of the exterior cusp and its surrounding boundaries under northward IMF". Geophysical Research Letters. 29 (20): 56–1–56–4. Bibcode:2002GeoRL..29.1995L. doi:10.1029/2002GL015464. ISSN 0094-8276. S2CID 131597692.
  12. ^ Owen, C. J.; Fazakerley, A. N.; Carter, P. J.; Coates, A. J.; Krauklis, I. C.; Szita, S.; Taylor, M. G. G. T.; Travnicek, P.; Watson, G.; Wilson, R. J.; Balogh, A.; Dunlop, M. W. (2001). "Cluster PEACE observations of electrons during magnetospheric flux transfer events". Annales Geophysicae. 19 (10/12): 1509–1522. Bibcode:2001AnGeo..19.1509O. doi:10.5194/angeo-19-1509-2001. ISSN 1432-0576.
  13. ^ "Dr Matt Taylor stops by tonight's Metal Hammer radio show". Metal Hammer. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  14. ^ "David Vincent and Joel McIver Talk 'I Am Morbid' Biography". decibelmagazine.com. 20 February 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor tattooed landing on thigh". BBC. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.

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