Eugene Parker

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Eugene Parker
Eugene Parker.jpg
Eugene Parker in 2018 at the launch of the solar probe that bears his name
Born (1927-06-10) June 10, 1927 (age 91)
Houghton, Michigan, U.S.
Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Michigan State University
Caltech
Known for Sweet-Parker Reconnection
Parker spiral solar magnetic field shape
Awards Arctowski Medal (1969)
George Ellery Hale Prize (1978)
Chapman Medal (1979)
National Medal of Science (1989)
William Bowie Medal (1990)
James Clerk Maxwell Prize (2003)
Kyoto Prize (2003)
Scientific career
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions University of Chicago

Eugene Newman Parker (born June 10, 1927) is an American solar astrophysicist who—in the mid-1950s—developed the theory of the supersonic solar wind and predicted the Parker spiral shape of the solar magnetic field in the outer solar system. In 1987, Parker proposed that the solar corona might be heated by myriad tiny "nanoflares", miniature brightenings resembling solar flares that would occur all over the surface of the Sun.[1][2]

Parker spent four years at the University of Utah and has been at the University of Chicago since 1955, where he has held positions in the physics department, the astronomy and astrophysics department, and the Enrico Fermi Institute.[1] Parker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1967.[1] In 2017, NASA renamed its Solar Probe Plus to Parker Solar Probe in his honor, marking the first time NASA had named a spacecraft after a living person.[3] In 2018, the American Physical Society awarded him the Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research.[4]

Biography[edit]

Parker received his B.S. degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1948 and Ph.D. from Caltech in 1951. Parker spent four years at the University of Utah and has been at the University of Chicago since 1955, where he has held positions in the physics department, the astronomy and astrophysics department, and the Enrico Fermi Institute.[1] Parker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1967.[1]

Hypotheses[edit]

In the mid-1950s Parker developed the theory on the supersonic solar wind and predicted the Parker spiral shape of the solar magnetic field in the outer solar system. His theoretical modeling was not immediately accepted by the astronomical community. In fact, when he submitted the results to The Astrophysical Journal, two reviewers rejected it. The editor of the Astrophysical Journal, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, overruled the reviewers and published the paper.[5] His models were resoundingly verified by satellite observations a few years later in the early 1960s. His work has greatly increased understanding of the solar corona, the solar wind, the magnetic fields of both the Earth and the Sun, and their complex electromagnetic interactions. His books, especially Cosmical Magnetic Fields, have been read by generations of investigators. His most recent book includes the effects of magnetic fields of planets, stars, and galaxies on X-ray emissions.[2] In 1987, Parker proposed that the solar corona might be heated by myriad tiny "nanoflares", miniature brightenings resembling solar flares that would occur all over the surface of the Sun.[1][2]

Honors[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Cosmical Magnetic Fields: Their Origin and their Activity, 1979, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-851290-5.
  • Spontaneous Current Sheets in Magnetic Fields: With Applications to Stellar X-rays, 1994, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507371-3.
  • Conversations on Electric and Magnetic Fields in the Cosmos, 2007, Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12841-2.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tatarewicz, Joseph N. "Eugene N. Parker (1912– )". Honors program. American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Tenn, Joseph S. "Eugene Newman Parker: 1997 Bruce Medalist". Sonoma State University. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b N. Davis (2017-05-31). "Nasa's hotly anticipated solar mission renamed to honour astrophysicist Eugene Parker". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Award honors Prof. Eugene Parker's lifetime of physics research". UChicago News. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  5. ^ Roach, John. "Astrophysicist Recognized for Discovery of Solar Wind". National Geographic News. National Geographic. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Arctowski Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Eugene N. Parker". The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details. National Science Foundation. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Citation: Eugene Newman Parker". Kyoto Prize. Inamori Foundation. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Roach, John (August 27, 2003). "Astrophysicist Recognized for Discovery of Solar Wind". National Geographic News. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "2003 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics Recipient". Prizes, Awards and Fellowships. American Physical Society. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Gruppe 2: Fysikkfag (herunder astronomi, fysikk og geofysikk)" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  12. ^ "NASA Renames Solar Probe Mission to Honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker". NASA. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.