THE JOHN C. LINDSAY MEMORIAL LECTURE
Goddard Space Flight Center
2017 John C. Lindsay Memorial Award Winner
Solar energetic particles (SEPs) were first detected some seven decades ago, but their full glory and hazardous nature became evident only recently. How the Sun accelerates the coronal particles to giga electron volts continues to be a mystery. The extensive coronagraph observations that became available in the mid-1990s finally helped us make progress in establishing the close connection between SEPs and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). It is generally accepted that CMEs and solar flares are the two main sources of SEPs, although the ones reaching interplanetary space seem mainly accelerated at the shocks driven by CMEs. The demise of some recent space missions indicates that SEPs have wide-spread consequences for space exploration. They can alter the Van Allen radiation belts and pose danger to the crew and passengers on board airplanes in polar routes. They can modify the properties of the ionosphere and hence affect radio communications. They can even cause ozone depletion in our atmosphere. This lecture aims at providing a summary of our current understanding of the SEP phenomenon.
About the Speaker
Dr. Nat Gopalswamy is an Astrophysicist at the Solar Physics Laboratory in the Heliophysics Division of NASA/GSFC. He obtained his PhD in Plasma Physics from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and post-doctoral training at the University of Maryland, College Park. He first came to Goddard as a National Research Council senior fellow in 1998 and became a civil servant in 2002. As a team member of the SOHO and STEREO missions, he studies the origin, interplanetary evolution, and Earth impact of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). He also has interest in solar radio astronomy and is affiliated with the Wind team in studying radio bursts associated with CMEs. He actively trains young scientists and graduate students in his laboratory. Dr. Gopalswamy has authored or co-authored more than 450 research articles that are frequently cited in the literature. Dr. Gopalswamy is one of the top 10 frequently published authors at Goddard.
Dr. Gopalswamy is the director of the CDAW Data Center, which hosts the popular SOHO/LASCO CME catalog used by scientists all over the world. He is currently the Executive Director of the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI), which is a follow-on activity of the International Heliophysical Year (IHY). He is also serving as the President of the Scientific Committee on Solar Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP), which is an interdisciplinary body of the International Council for Science (ICSU). Both ISWI and SCOSTEP are international organizations involved in complementary aspects of science, capacity building, and outreach activities in the field of Sun-Earth connection. He has chaired many of the IHY/ISWI workshops organized in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs since 2005. He has also directed many space science schools organized by IHY/ISWI and SCOSTEP that have trained hundreds of graduate students in the field of solar terrestrial physics.
Dr. Gopalswamy has won numerous awards and medals, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 2013. In 2016 he was named as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.