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Fred L. Scarf Award

Information on the award

The Fred L. Scarf Award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar-planetary science. The award is presented at the AGU Fall Meeting and awardees are invited to deliver a talk on their dissertation topic at the meeting.

A NASA ER-s at 70,000ft over severe convection during the NASA Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx)

Award Benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our section honorees. Recipients of the Fred L. Scarf Award will receive the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    Award certificate
  • 2
    $1,000 monetary prize
  • 3
    Recognition in Eos
  • 4
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 5
    Complimentary ticket to the Space Physics and Aeronomy section event at the AGU Fall Meeting during the lecture presentation year

Eligibility

To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • The nominee is required to be an active AGU member.
  • This award is for early-career scientists. The nominee must have completed requirements for the award of Ph.D. degree (or highest equivalent terminal degree) during the 17-month time period prior to the award presentation year.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be candidates for the award during their terms of service:
    • Space Physics and Aeronomy section leadership;
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Scarf Award Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Only the nominee’s research advisors are eligible nominators.
  • The nominator is not required to be an AGU member.
  • Multiple nominators for a single candidate are encouraged to collaborate on the nomination package.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be nominators for the award during their terms of service:
    • Space Physics and Aeronomy section leadership;
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Scarf Award Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Members of the thesis committee or other scientists familiar with the research are eligible supporters.
  • Supporters are not required to be AGU members.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be supporters for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy section leadership;
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Shoemaker Lecture Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

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Nomination Package

Your nomination must contain the following files, which should each be no more than two pages:

  • A nomination letter from the nominee’s research advisor(s) outlining the impact or potential impact of the nominee’s research on solar-planetary science;
  • The nominee’s selected bibliography, which should include a list of published or submitted papers, and presentations related to the dissertation;
  • One to three letters of support from members of the thesis committee or scientists familiar with the research – preferably on letterhead; and
  • The nominee’s dissertation. For an English dissertation provide a five-page extended summary of the dissertation that discusses the context for the dissertation, the major findings and their significance. For a non-English dissertation provide an extended summary for every chapter of the dissertation, written in English, that discusses the dissertation’s context, major findings, and their significance.
  • Optional: The nominee’s curriculum vitae.

Submission process

Nominations should be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. EDT on 15 April 2021.

We encourage you to watch our tutorial on successfully submitting a nomination package or reading our guide on how to submit a successful nomination.

Submissions are reviewed by the Scarf Award Committee.

SUBMIT
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Recipients

Parisa Mostafavi

2020

Terry Zixu Liu received the 2019 Fred L. Scarf Award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given annually to “one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar–planetary science.”

 

Citation

Shocks are some of the oldest known, most intensely studied space plasma phenomena. They are implicated in the production of solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays, both important for space weather. Yet questions remain about how they operate. It is unclear why particle acceleration at shocks is observed to be far more effective than can be explained by modern shock theories. Also, computer simulations have revealed that a variety of nonlinear, transient structures are very common ahead of shocks and thus need to be incorporated into our theories. But what tangible information about these ethereal and often distant phenomena can we base such theories on? Enter Terry Liu’s thesis. With originality and independence, Terry used Earth’s bow shock as an ideal laboratory to study foreshock transients and particle acceleration in generalized shock settings. In eight highly cited AGU and Science Advances publications, he showed how foreshock transients form, grow, evolve, create their own shocks, interact with the parent shock, and accelerate ions and electrons in a highly dynamical setting. He used comprehensive, in situ, multispacecraft data analysis, aided by powerful analytical models, and comparisons with hybrid simulations. His work has turned foreshock transients from an intellectual curiosity to a required element of any modern-day shock acceleration model.

—Vassilis Angelopoulos, Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles

Response

I want to thank the award committee of the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy section. I am deeply honored to receive this award, especially because this is the same award that my supervisor, Prof. Vassilis Angelopoulos, received 26 years ago. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to him, who led me into the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) group at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), taught me numerous knowledge and skills, and trained me to be a space scientist. I also want to thank Dr. Drew Turner and Dr. Heli Hietala for guiding me to my specific research field, foreshock transients and their particle acceleration. I thank my close collaborator, Dr. San Lu, who has assisted me a lot on computer simulations. I also appreciate all the help from and meaningful discussion with my dear colleagues and friends at UCLA. Now supported by a Jack Eddy fellowship, I have moved to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In this cold but beautiful place, I look forward to my new research experience and continuing to discover the mystery of shocks.

—Terry Zixu Liu, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.

Aleida Higginson will receive the 2018 Fred L. Scarf Award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018, to be held 10–14 December in Washington, D. C. This award is given annually to “one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar–planetary science.”

 

Citation

A major challenge in space science is understanding how highly localized regions, far smaller than 1 degree at the Sun, are the source of solar wind structures spanning more than 20 degrees near Earth. The Sun’s atmosphere is divided into “open” regions, called “coronal holes,” where solar wind plasma streams out freely and fills the solar system, and “closed” regions, where the plasma is confined by the solar magnetic field. The boundary between these regions extends outward as the heliospheric current sheet (HCS). Measurements of plasma composition imply that the wind near the HCS originates in closed regions; mysteriously, however, this type of wind is sometimes seen far from the HCS as well. In her dissertation research, Dr. Aleida Higginson performed groundbreaking numerical simulations that showed that for certain coronal hole topologies commonly observed in the corona, closed-field plasma released in a highly localized region at the Sun ends up forming huge arcs of slow wind in the heliosphere. Her work revealed a new and highly important property of the Sun–heliosphere magnetic connection.

—Spiro Antiochos, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Response

I would like to thank the award committee and the Space Physics and Aeronomy section of AGU for this honor. Thank you also to my advisers, Spiro Antiochos, Thomas Zurbuchen, Susan Lepri, and Rick DeVore. You have shared so much of your time with me, teaching me how to work through research challenges and the importance of celebrating our successes. As a graduate student I had the privilege of dividing my time between the University of Michigan and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Thank you to Michigan for providing a rigorous and encouraging learning environment, and thank you to Goddard for giving me the experience of never being more than two floors away from a world expert on any topic within heliophysics. I truly have one of the coolest jobs ever and often find myself in awe that I get paid to figure out how the Sun works. I have found a wonderful home in the field of heliophysics, and I look forward to many years of discovery with scientists of the highest caliber.

—Aleida Higginson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Hong Zhao will receive the 2017 Fred L. Scarf Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. This award is given annually to “one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar–planetary science.”

 

Citation

Hong Zhao of the University of Colorado produced an extremely impressive Ph.D. dissertation titled “Unveiled characteristics of energetic electrons and ions: The inner radiation belt, slot region, and ring current.” It contains a number of important science results: (1) discovery of a peculiar pitch angle distribution with a minimum at 90° of relativistic electrons in the inner radiation belt based on the new high-resolution measurements from the NASA Van Allen Probes mission, which has led to a great deal of theoretical interest; (2) detailed investigation of the penetration of relativistic electrons into the low L region that displays a correlation with the geomagnetic storm intensity; (3) thorough analysis and explanation of the penetration of hundreds of keV electrons into the low L region by inward radial transport using solar wind–dependent radial diffusion coefficients that are very different from those of previous studies; and (4) determination of the contributions of electrons and oxygen ions to the total ring current energy density and their roles in the dynamics during geomagnetic storms. These results have helped further our understanding of the physics of radiation belt electrons, the ring current, and magnetospheric dynamics. The work has resulted in six first-author publications in the Journal of Geophysical Research or Geophysical Research Letters. Many of her papers are already very well cited.

—Larry Paxton, President, Space Physics and Aeronomy Section, AGU

Response

I would like to thank the award committee and the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy section for the great honor of being selected for this year’s Fred L. Scarf Award. I am grateful to many people who helped me along the way. Specifically, I would like to thank my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Xinlin Li, for encouraging me to study abroad and join the University of Colorado at Boulder, offering me excellent guidance on my research, and giving me valuable career advice. I would also like to thank my other advisors from various stages in my career, Prof. Qiugang Zong, Dr. Reinhard Friedel, and Prof. Daniel Baker, for their valuable inspiration, guidance, and support. As my first research mentor and my undergraduate advisor, Prof. Zong taught me the essentials of space physics, mentored me with great patience, and encouraged me to start my current career path. Dr. Reinhard Friedel, as my research mentor at Los Alamos National Laboratory, provided me insightful inspiration and guidance for my research. Prof. Daniel Baker, as one of my doctoral committee members and my postdoctoral advisor, provided valuable advice and support for me to pursue my research. I also owe many thanks to my colleagues and collaborators, from whom I have benefited and learned a lot, for all the insightful discussion, advice, and encouragement. Finally, I would like to thank my family for their love and unwavering support.

—Hong Zhao, University of Colorado Boulder

Kok Leng Yeo will receive the Fred L. Scarf Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar-planetary science.

 

Citation

The variation in the radiative output of the Sun, described in terms of solar irradiance, is critical to climatology, especially as climate models rely on model reconstructions of historical solar irradiance variability. The work of Kok Leng Yeo has led to major advances in our understanding of the physics underlying solar irradiance variability and the model reconstruction of historical solar irradiance variability. He advanced our understanding of the role played by small-scale magnetic features on the solar surface, uncovered why the two main approaches taken in existing models diverge in the ultraviolet, produced what is the most accurate reconstruction of solar irradiance variability over the past few decades, and set the groundwork for more advanced models that will, unlike existing models, not require free parameters.

—Natalie Krivova and Sami Solanki, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany

Response

I would like to thank the award committee and the Space Physics and Aeronomy section of AGU for this honor.

My gratitude goes out to Yvonne Unruh, Natalie Krivova, and Sami Solanki. After finishing my master’s with Yvonne (Imperial College London) back in 2004, I worked in the industry for six years. Without her encouragement, I would not have thought that a career in science was still possible after such a long hiatus. She recommended me to Natalie and Sami at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. They took me on as a Ph.D. student knowing full well that I have no background in solar physics. As my supervisors, they have supported me in every manner possible, well beyond what I can ask. In spite of my weaknesses and mistakes, they have never wavered in their trust in my ideas and my research. I count it one of the greatest blessings in my life to be able to do something for a living that brings me fulfilment in the company of like-minded individuals. None of this would have been possible without Yvonne, Natalie, or Sami. Thank you for everything.

—Kok Leng Yeo, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany

Seth E. Dorfman was awarded the 2013 Fred L. Scarf Award, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar planetary sciences.

In addition, Dorfman was selected as the inaugural award recipient of the 2013 Basu United States Early Career Award, given annually to an early-career scientist from the United States in recognition of significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society.

Dorfman’s thesis is entitled “Experimental study of 3-D, impulsive reconnection events in a laboratory plasma.” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the awards at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Citation

Seth Dorfman received his B.S. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, in 2005. In 2012, he received his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences under the supervision of Hantao Ji and Masaaki Yamada from Princeton University in New Jersey. Seth is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Troy Carter. He maintains a broad interest in fundamental plasma physics, including the use of laboratory experiments to explore key physical processes in Sun-Earth systems science.

 

Lunjin Chen has been awarded the F. L. Scarf Award, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar planetary sciences. Chen’s thesis is entitled “Propagation and excitation of electromagnetic waves in the Earth’s inner magnetosphere.” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Lunjin received his B.S. in geophysics and M.Sc. in space physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2004 and 2007, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences in 2011 under the supervision of Richard Thorne at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests include excitation and propagation of plasma waves and wave-particle interactions.

 

Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo has been awarded the F. L. Scarf Award, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar-planetary sciences. Muñoz-Jaramillo’s dissertation is entitled “Towards better constrained models of the solar magnetic cycle.” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Muñoz-Jaramillo received undergraduate degrees in physics (2004) and electronic engineering (2005) from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics under the supervision of Piet Martens and Dibyendu Nandy at Montana State University, in Bozeman, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Muñoz-Jaramillo is currently a Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass., hosted by Edward DeLuca. His research interests include the solar magnetic cycle; magnetohydrodynamics and dynamo theory; and space climate, global (paleo) climate, and long-term solar evolution.

 

Shasha Zou has been awarded the F. L. Scarf Award, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar planetary sciences. Zou’s dissertation is entitled “Evolution of high latitude ionospheric convection associated with substorms: Multiple radar observations.” She is scheduled to present an invited talk in the Multi­point Perspective on the Auroral Acceleration Region and M-I Coupling session (­SM10) during the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting, held 13–17 December in San Francisco, Calif. Huang will be formally presented with the award at the Space Physics and Aeronomy section dinner on 14 December 2010.

 

Citation

Shasha Zou received her B.S. in geophysics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2004. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, under the supervision of Larry R. Lyons, at University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Her research interests include magnetospheric physics, ionospheric physics, and magnetosphere-­ionosphere coupling processes.

 

Ph.D Lan Jian has been awarded the AGU F. L. Scarf Award, given annually to recent recipients for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar planetary sciences. Jian’s thesis is entitled “Radial evolution of large-scale solar wind structures.” She was formally presented with the award at the Space Physics and Aeronomy section dinner during the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Lan Jian received her B.S. in geophysics from University of Science and Technology of China in 2003. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geophysics and space physics, under the supervision of Christopher T. Russell, at University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and 2008, respectively. Her research interests include various structures in the solar wind, their origin and evolution, and their effect on the space environment of planets.

 

Paul Cassak

2008

Christopher M Cully

2008

Yingjuan Ma

2007

John P Dombeck

2006

Johnathan K Burchill

2005

David Murr

2004

Matthew E Hill

2003

Larry Kepko

2002

Kanako Seki

2001

Mark Linton

2000

David Lario

1999

Juan Alejandro Valdivia

1998

Gregory T Delory

1997

Yuri Taranenko

1994

Vassilis Angelopoulos

1993

Ming Zhang

1992

Margaret Chen

1991

Honors Contacts

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Artesha Moore

Vice President, Affiliation, Engagement & Membership

202-777-7530 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Rosa Maymi

Director, Engagement and Membership

202-777-7322 | [email protected]

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Hannah Hoffman

Honors and Affiliation Program Coordinator

202-777-7515 | [email protected]