Louis J. Lanzerotti

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Louis John Lanzerotti (born April 16, 1938)[1] is a research Professor of physics in the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, New Jersey.


Lanzerotti earned a BS in Engineering Physics degree in 1960 from University of Illinois. He also obtained both a MS degree in Physics in 1963 and a PhD degree in Physics in 1965 from Harvard University.


Lanzerotti has authored or co-authored of more than 500 refereed publications, contributing to research that includes studies of space plasmas and geophysics, and engineering problems related to the impact of atmospheric and space processes (a.k.a. "space weather") on terrestrial and spaceborne technologies.[2] Lanzerotti co-authored a book on radiation belt physics [3] and has co-edited four books. He has eight patents issued or filed.

Lanzerotti joined AT&T's Bell Laboratories in 1965 to engage in engineering and scientific research on Earth’s radiation belts, the existence of which was confirmed a few years earlier by James Van Allen. AT&T’s Telstar satellites had recently been launched, providing Lanzerotti and his colleagues with data for analyzing and interpreting the radiation belts and their effects of radiation on space systems. This marked the beginning of Lanzerotti’s leadership in the field now called “space weather.” [4] Lanzerotti's work led to him being named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies.

Lanzerotti has worked with multiple satellite programs and space missions, including the ATS-1 and ATS-3 communications satellites, the interplanetary IMP 4 and IMP 5 explorer missions, the Voyager missions to the outer planets and interstellar medium, the ACE solar wind mission, and the Cassini mission to Saturn. Furthermore, Lanzerotti has been the principal investigator for instruments aboard the Ulysses mission over the poles of the Sun, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and more recently the Van Allen Probes, launched in 2012 to study Earth's radiation belts.[5]

Lanzerotti has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research and is the founding editor of the online journal Space Weather.

In 2011, he was selected William Bowie Medalist of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The Bowie Medal, which is AGU’s highest honor, was established in 1939 in honor of William Bowie for his "spirit of helpfulness and friendliness in unselfish cooperative research." [6]

He is currently Distinguished Research Professor of Physics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

In recognition of his career as a research scientist and engineer, Lanzerotti was appointed by US President George W. Bush to the National Science Board, the 24-member governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF)[7] and served a 6-year term from 2004 to 2010. He served on the board as a Board Consultant from May 2010 until April 2012.[8] Lanzerotti also led a 12-member panel organized by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to identify possible causes of unintended acceleration in vehicles in the aftermath of Toyota's large automobile recalls.

In addition to his career in science, Lanzerotti served as the Chair (Mayor) of Harding Township Committee in New Jersey in 2009.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Recipient of NASA Scientific Achievement Medal (1996).
  • Recipient of Antarctica Service Medal.
  • Recipient of Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)'s William Nordberg Medal.
  • Mount Lanzerotti (coordinates 74° 50’ S|71° 33’ W) is named for Prof. Lanzerotti and rises to about 1,550 m in Ellsworth Land in the northernmost region of the Sky-Hi Nunataks Range of Antarctica.


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