Gopalswamy Receives 2019 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award – Eos

Gopalswamy Receives 2019 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award – Eos


Nat Gopalswamy

Nat Gopalswamy has made a lasting impact on the Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) community by serving in various leadership roles at national and international levels: president of International Astronomical Union Commission 49, president of the Scientific Committee on Solar–Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP), executive director of the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI), international coordinator of the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) 2007 program, and many more. In all his capacities, Gopalswamy has striven to bring together scientists from developed countries and young scientists and students from developing countries in one room to plan and brainstorm for better global cooperation and to spread space science education, instrument deployment, and research activities to developing countries. Gopalswamy is at the forefront of capacity-building activities of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), SCOSTEP, and the International Living With a Star (ILWS) program. Hundreds of students and young scientists have benefited from these activities, and many have become productive scientists.

Gopalswamy introduced the SCOSTEP Visiting Scholar (SVS) program in 2015. The SVS program enables graduate students from developing countries to visit established institutions and develop lasting collaborations. Under this program, dozens of students from all over the world have benefited over the past 5 years. Gopalswamy also serves as an exemplar by hosting several students in his laboratory, many of whom are women and minority students from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Gopalswamy’s outreach and capacity-building activities, with special devotion and strong commitment to students and professors from developing nations, have had significant impacts in our fields of study, consistent with the objectives of the SPARC Award program.

In addition to being an eminent scientist with more than 400 scientific articles that have been cited more than 18,500 times, Gopalswamy takes pride in his education and outreach and capacity-building efforts. His efforts have helped establish space science applications in regions of the world where space science education and research were previously absent or neglected. For all of these reasons, Gopalswamy is most deserving of the 2019 SPARC Award.

—Endawoke Yizengaw, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, Calif.


It is a great privilege to receive this award in honor of Richard Carrington, who discovered that the Sun affects Earth in ways beyond providing life-sustaining light and heat. Exploring this connection and sharing the knowledge gained with future explorers are highly rewarding. The International Heliophysical Year (IHY) 2007 program that morphed into the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI) provided a strong platform for my education and public outreach activities. Collaboration with SCOSTEP, ILWS, and COSPAR provided further impetus to these activities. The most rewarding aspect of these activities is that they bring together scientists from developed and developing countries, paving the way for lasting scientific collaborations.

The International Space Science Schools and Space Weather workshops have proven to be excellent venues of learning and creativity, providing opportunities for young students and scientists from all over the world. Activities at these venues include lectures, software training, data analysis training, instrument deployment, and introduction of data from space missions. It is heartening to see that many of the young people who have attended these schools and workshops remain in space science and are emerging as leaders and active scientists in their own right.

The efforts that led to this SPARC Award are not mine alone: There have been dozens of international experts who taught and hosted the IHY/ISWI/SCOSTEP schools over the past 2 decades; more than a thousand participants who enriched the IHY and ISWI workshops conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA); scores of mentors in COSPAR capacity-building workshops; and the ISWI instrument leads who have deployed more than 1,000 space weather instruments in more than 100 countries.

—Nat Gopalswamy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Citation: AGU (2020), Gopalswamy receives 2019 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award, Eos, 101, Published on 16 September 2020.

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