International space weather and space climate medals

The International Kristian Birkeland medal 2019 is attributed to

Doctor Bruce Tadashi Tsurutani

The International Marcel Nicolet medal 2019 is attributed to

Professor Delores J. Knipp

The International Alexander Chizhevsky medal 2019 is attributed to

Doctor Jiajia Liu

left to right: Ronald Van der Linden, Jiajia Liu (Chizhevsky Medal winner), Jean-Marie Frère (Belgian Royal Academy of Sciences), Vladimir Kalegaev (Russian Academy of Sciences), Delores Knipp (Nicolet medal winner), Zhang Chi (Chargé d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Belgium), Pål Brekke (Norwegian Academy of Sciences), Madelyn Smith (Economic Officer of the United States embassy in Belgium), Bruce Tsurutani (Birkeland Medal winner), Stefaan Poedts, Jean Lilensten

About Doctor Bruce Tadashi Tsurutani
Dr. Bruce Tsurutani, is principal scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.

Dr. Tsurutani is renowned in multiple research fields including space weather, nonlinear plasma waves, plasma instabilities and wave-particle interactions, auroral particle precipitation, dayside ionospheric physics, solar wind interactions with magnetosphere and ionosphere, geomagnetism. Among them, space weather has provoked his lifelong attention and dedication. He published around 700 papers peer reviewed journal. In his Ph.D. thesis, the study results suggested that the main triggering mechanism of magnetospheric substorms is the southward turning of interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). During 1974-79, Dr. Tsurutani found the post-midnight relativistic during substorms and evidence of power line stimulation by chorus waves.

In 1984 he revealed that although the IMF southward turning may trigger geomagnetic activity substorms, the substorms can be further intensified by heliospheric current sheet crossing the magnetosphere.

In 1987 Dr. Tsurutani found that High Intensity Long Duration (T > 2 days), and continuous aurora1 activity (HILDCAA) events are caused by outward (from the sun) propagating interplanetary Alfvén wave trains.

After studying major magnetic storms during the maximum of the 20th solar cycle, Dr. Tsurutani found that quantitative predictions of storm intensities based on solar observations appear to be very difficult but that the extreme values of the southward interplanetary magnetic fields, rather than solar wind speeds, are the primary causes of great magnetic storms. He soon found out that a possible mechanism for generating the intense interplanetary Bs, which is responsible for the subsequent intense magnetic storms, is the shock compression of preexisting southwardly- directed IMF Bz (Bs).

After studying a historical super storm that occurred in September 1859, he noted that the most intense magnetic storms are indeed related to intense solar flares, and that the two phenomena have a common cause: magnetic reconnection at the Sun. Dr. Tsurutani found that during an interplanetary/solar event, extremely complex magnetic storms can occur in the post-solar maximum phase as well. He discovered the “superfountain effect” of the dayside ionospheric total electron content (TEC), a consequence of the “prompt penetration” of interplanetary/polar cap electric fields to the equatorial and near-equatorial ionosphere. He also explored the ionospheric effects of prompt penetration electric fields for a variety of interplanetary magnetic field directions. He categorized the positive- phase ionospheric storms that occur in the dayside (i.e., the superfountain), and negative-phase ionospheric storms that occur on the nightside (with a TEC reduction). Later Dr. Tsurutani reported a different mechanism that also causes the dayside TEC enhancement; extreme EUV solar flares can result in extreme ionospheric effects, including a sudden, intense, and long-lasting ionospheric TEC enhancement in the dayside ionosphere, and may affect radio navigation and communications.

About Professor Delores J. Knipp
Delores Knipp is an outstanding ambassador for space weather, and has been a leader in the science, teaching, and dissemination of space weather research for decades. She has made major contributions to our understanding of the ionosphere and thermosphere and to the intimate relation between these two co-located domains. In parallel, Delores has also been developing and presenting space weather courses for undergraduate students, and mentoring numerous graduate students and post-docs. She takes mentoring very seriously.

Delores has recently completed a five-year term as Editor-in-Chief of the American Geophysical Union’s Space Weather journal. During her term, she has expanded the international reach of the journal, creating an international editorial board and engaging with authors and reviewers from around the world. She also contributed to the wider space weather community in two other areas: opening up underused datasets, and research on historical space weather events.

She has worked tirelessly to revive relevant data acquired by space weather sensors on the US DMSP satellites – a challenging task to clean and verify data that contained important information on Poynting flux and electron precipitation, and making them available to users around the world. She created an important resource, one that has led to several discoveries and one that is a great example of the importance of data preservation in the space weather field.

Delores has undertaken studies of several historically large space weather events and encouraged and supported others around the world to do the same. This is an important area of study since it gives insights into what adverse space weather looks like, and its potential impacts on technology and on human society. Delores recently published papers on the 1967 and 1972 events, she looked beyond the space weather community by gaining important insights from discussions with users affected by those events, a timely collection of what we may call “living history”. She has also encouraged other recent work on the major space weather events that occurred in 1770, 1859, 1909 and 1921.

About Doctor Jiajia Liu
Dr. Liu obtained his PhD degree in June 2015 from the University of Science and Technology of China with honors. Up to now, he has published an impressive 31 peer-reviewed papers in top journals, including Nature Communications and Nature Physics. Out of those, he has led 13 peer-reviewed papers as the first or corresponding author.

Jiajia is receiving this medal in recognition of several accomplishments. He carried out research in a number of areas of solar and space physics. At very high standards, he combines complex physics behind various phenomena, like solar jets, MHD waves and coronal mass ejections, with the latest advanced mathematical and computer science techniques, including machine learning for forecasting space weather.

Dr. Liu has, for the first time, introduced the novel techniques of computer vision and machine learning into the area of CME arrival time prediction. By training machine learning algorithms with historical data, and applying advanced convolution neural networks on single observations, he achieved a significant progress in CME arrival time forecast, with an accuracy of less than 12 hours. Importantly, he created a free of charge user-friendly software in order to allow the scientific community to benefit from his recently implemented improved space weather forecasting approach.

Dr. Liu has been awarded with national honors already during his PhD. As an outstanding undergraduate student, his academic performance was ranked in the top 10 percent of students in their grade and major, and consequently has been awarded with the Chinese National Scholarship for Doctoral Students. Selected high-quality publications of Jiajia have been distinguished with national outstanding paper awards. As fourth in the world, one of his excellent works has been highlighted by the renowned American Astronomical Society. As a natural continuation of this successful path, Dr. Jiajia Liu is now awarded with the Alexander Chizhevsky Medal, in order to honor his early-career outstanding and innovative achievements in space weather research.

Previous Winners

2018 - Prof. Tamas Bombosi, Prof. Hermann J Opgenoorth and Dr. Christina Kay
2017 - Dr. Bojan Vršnak, Prof. Ji Wu and Dr. Elena Popova
2016 - Dr. Antti Pulkkinen, Prof. Mike Hapgood and Dr. Julia Thalmann
2015 - Dr. Werner Schmutz, Dr. Christine Amory Mazaudier, Dr. David Berghmans and Dr. Tatiana Podladchikova.
2014 - Prof. Bodo W. Reinisch, Dr. Joseph Davilaand and Dr. Christina Plainaki.
2013 - Dr. Dieter Bilitza, Dr. Hans Haubold and Dr. Gaël Cessateur.

About the medals

The Kristian Birkeland Medal
The recipient of the Kristian Birkeland Medal must have demonstrated a unique ability to combine basic and applied research to develop useful space weather or space climate products that are being used outside the research community, and/or across scientific research disciplines. The work must have led to a better physical comprehension of the solar-terrestrial phenomena related to space weather and space climate, to a drastic improvement of space weather and space climate modeling, or to a new generation of instruments.
The Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal
The recipient of the Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal must have demonstrated a unique ability to bind the space weather and space climate community in a spirit of peace and friendship, to educate within the space weather and space climate community, to go also beyond the space weather and space climate research community and address larger audiences, and/or to serve the space weather and the space climate.
The Alexander Chizhevsky Medal
The prize rewards a young researcher (younger than 35 years, or having successfully defended her/his thesis within the last 6 years prior to the ESWW2018, i.e. after October 30th, 2012) for outstanding achievements in space weather or space climate with an innovative approach. The six-years period is increased with the duration of any parental leave taken during the period.

Composition of the Medal Committee

Prof. Jean-Marie Frere, the Royal Academy of Belgium,
Executive director Øyyvind Søyrensen of the Norwegian Academy of Science,
Dr. Galina Kotova, Russian Academy of Science
Prof. Jøran Moen, Norway
Prof. Anatoli Petrukovich, Russia
Head of STCE, primary sponsor of ESWW2019, R. Van der Linden
Head of the ESA Space Weather Working Team , S. Poedts
Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate , A. Belehaki

The following previous winners are also members of the medal committee:
Dr. Antti Pulkkinen, Dr. Mike Hapgood, Dr. Julia Thalmann: in the Committee in 2017 – 2019
Dr. Bojan Vrsnak, Prof. Ji Wu, Dr. Elena Popova: in the Committee in 2018 – 2020
Dr Tamas Gombosi, Christina Kay, Hermann Oppgenorth: in the Committee in 2019 – 2021
The Medal Committee is chaired by Dr. Jean Lilensten.

Kristian Birkeland

Olaf Kristian Bernhard Birkeland was born in Oslo, Norway, on December 13, 1867 and died in Tokyo on June 15, 1917. He was appointed professor of physics at The Royal Frederik University in Kristiania, near the end of the 19th century.
His life spans a watershed period when insights about electricity and magnetism, codified by Maxwell in the mid-19th century, evolved from theoretical curiosities to become the basis for modern electronic technology as well as our understanding of the geospace environment.
His mathematical training provided a superb foundation for developing the first general solution of Maxwell's equations and energy transfer in 1895, by means of electromagnetic waves. He continued to investigate the properties of electromagnetic waves in conductors and wave propagation through space. From 1895 to 1917 his basic-science research focused on geomagnetic disturbances, auroras, solar-terrestrial relations and cosmology.
Birkeland was gifted with a wonderfully inventive mind that bubbled with ideas and sought to investigate any and all aspects of the physical sciences. His main work regarding auroras and geomagnetic disturbances is summarized in The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition 1902-1903; a 801-page monograph.
From 1903 to 1906 Birkeland diverted much of his attention toward applied physics and technological development. His primary motive for engaging in such activities was to generate the funds he needed to support his ambitious research projects and to build a modern research laboratory whose cost greatly exceeded what the University's budget could afford. All together Birkeland developed sixty patents in ten different subject areas. In the field of production of agricultural fertilizers, he earned large sums of money. He invented the plasma arc leading to the Birkeland-Eyde method for industrial nitrogen fixation for synthesizing artificial fertilizers, and the founding of Norsk Hydro that today remains one of Norway's largest industrial enterprises, stands as a living tribute to his genius. Eight nominations for the Nobel Prize, attest to the high esteem in which contemporary scientists regarded Kristian Birkeland.

Alexander Chizhevsky

Alexander Chizhevsky was born in 1897 in the town of Ciechanowiec in the Grodno region of the Russian Empire (now Poland). He was an outstanding interdisciplinary scientist, a biophysicist who founded the "heliobiology" which is the study of the effect of the sun on biology and the "aero-ionization" which is the study of the effects of the ionization of air on biological entities. He was also noted for his work in "cosmobiology", "biological rhythms" and "hematology".He may be most notable for his use of historical research (historiometry) techniques to link the 11 year solar cycle, Earth's climate and the mass activity of peoples.
Chizhevsky is recognized as the founder of Sun-Earth research, having proved that solar activity has an effect on many terrestrial phenomena. Chizhevsky proposed that not only did geomagnetic storms resulting from sunspot-related solar flares affect electrical usage, plane crashes, epidemics and grasshopper infestations, but human mental life and activity. Chizhevsky proposed that the eleven-year peaks influence human history in sunspot activity, triggering humans en masse to act upon existing grievances and complaints through revolts, revolutions, civil wars and wars between nations.
Chizhevsky's ideas were not in line with Soviet ideology; in 1942 he was arrested and spent eight years in Gulag. In 1950 he was allowed to live peacefully in Karaganda, but was rehabilitated only in 1958.
Chizhevsky was also a marked landscape painter and the author of hundreds of poems. Chizhevsky died in Moscow in 1964. An "In memoriam" in the International Journal of Biometeorology stated that he had "carved new paths and approaches to the vast expanse of unexplored fields." He is buried in Pyatnickoe cemetery in Moscow with a headstone featuring an engraved carving representing the sun. The Chizhevsky Science Memorial Cultural Center opened in Kaluga, Russia in 2000 in the home where Chizhevsky lived and worked for nearly 15 years. In December 2012 a monument to A. Chizhevsky was built in Kaluga also. More information is available on wikipedia.

Baron Marcel Nicolet

Marcel Nicolet (1912 - 1996) was a Belgian geophysicist and astrophysicist, specialized in solar ultraviolet radiation and stratospheric chemistry, who played an essential role at the birth of space aeronomy.
Amongst his most remarkable scientific achievements, we cite the explanation, on a purely theoretical basis, of the ionospheric D-region formation process. He postulated that the solar radiation in the hydrogen Lyman-alpha wave length could penetrate into the Earth’s mesosphere, leading to the ionization of nitrogen oxide. He was also the first person to clarify the effect of atmospheric drag acting upon the first man-made satellites orbiting the Earth. He played a decisive role in the determination of photo-dissociation and photo-ionization in the atmosphere, predicting the presence of a belt of helium around the Earth and of the presence of NO, NO2, HNO3, HO2 and H2O2 in the atmosphere before any of these were measured. For these achievements he was bestowed with the Bowie medal, one of the highest distinctions of the American Geophysical Union, after having received already several other scientific distinctions.
Marcel Nicolet was one of the founders of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). He participated in the creation of the Commission préparatoire d'Etudes et de Recherches Spatiales (COPERS) that afterwards led to the foundation of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) and the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), forerunners of the European Space Agency.
He was one of the main promoters of the International Geophysical Year and became its secretary general.
In his home country Belgium, Marcel Nicolet was the founder of the Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy in 1964. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium and professor at the Universities of Liège (ULg) and Brussels (ULB). He received the title of Baron in 1987.