Queen Mary University of London’s Dr Andrea Larosa was celebrated as the recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) 2022 Fred L. Scarf Award at a recent reception in Chicago.
Being selected as an honoree is bestowed on individuals for meritorious work or service toward the advancement and promotion of discovery and solution science. AGU, a nonprofit organisation that supports 130,000 enthusiasts to experts worldwide in Earth and space sciences, annually recognises a select number of individuals as part of its Honours and Recognition programme.
Dr Larosa’s award came from his work on magnetic switchbacks and Langmuir waves with the NASA Parker Solar Probe mission. The AGU recognised his dedication to advancing Earth and space sciences, also awarding Dr Larosa $1,000 in prize money.
Dr Larosa’s doctoral work, carried out at the University of Orleans, used data from the newly launched NASA Parker Solar Probe mission to make several new discoveries about the space environment up close to the Sun, and contributed to the early results from the mission. He led projects to investigate the nature of magnetic switchbacks - large sudden reversals of the magnetic field direction in the solar wind, and for the first time showed that the high frequency (Langmuir-Slow Extraordinary) waves have a magnetic signature - a long sought after but hitherto elusive property.
These findings help to understand some of the important open questions in heliophysics, such as how the solar corona is heated, how the solar wind generated, and how the radio emission from processes in the Sun and solar wind can be explained.
Commenting on the award, Dr Larosa said: “I am truly honoured to receive this important award. I want to thank the award committee of the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy section, the Fred L. Scarf award is surely a milestone in my young career. This achievement could not have been possible without an outstanding mission such as Parker Solar Probe and the great guidance I received from my PhD advisors Professor Thierry Dudok de Wit and Professor Vladimir Krasnoselskikh. Furthermore, I must thank my current advisor Dr Christopher Chen for giving me the chance to improve as space scientist by working at Queen Mary University of London.”
Dr Christopher Chen, Reader in Space Plasma Physics at Queen Mary, said: “I’m very pleased that Andrea has won this year’s AGU Fred L. Scarf Award. The award is given to just one PhD graduate, internationally, each year in the field of space physics, so this is an impressive achievement. Andrea produced some excellent research during his PhD, pushing forwards the boundaries of our knowledge in several cutting-edge topics, so is well-deserving of this award. There are lots of exciting research opportunities currently in space science, and I very much look forward to continuing working with Andrea over the coming years as he develops his career in this field at Queen Mary."
Dr Larosa is now expanding his research interests at Queen Mary, investigating the relation between the magnetic switchbacks and turbulence, and their contribution to the behaviour of plasma near the Sun, as well as employing numerical simulations to further understand the properties of the high frequency plasma waves and what they can tell us about solar wind radio emission.
This year’s winners were celebrated at the AGU’s 2022 autumn meeting in Chicago. There, the Union’s community came together to recognise the extraordinary work that has taken place and the scientific advancements that have followed.
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