December saw MIST Council propose an amendment to the MIST Charter which increases the size of the Council from five to six members. The amendment was passed with no objections from the MIST community, so the Charter will be amended accordingly, with the changes taking effect at the next MIST Council election.
Congratulations to Maria Walach (Leicester) and Joe Dods (Warwick) for winning this year's Rishbeth prizes for their presentations at NAM/MIST at Llandudno in July.
Maria won the prize for the best student talk, which was "A test of ionospheric convection predictions from the expanding/contracting polar cap paradigm"
Joe won the prize for the best poster, for "Network Analysis of Geomagnetic Substorms Using the SuperMAG Database of Ground Based Magnetometer Stations".
Articles by both winners will appear shortly in A&G!
It is with sadness that we report the death of Prof. Jim Dungey last Thursday (7th May), at the age of 92.
Jim was, of course, a pillar of the MIST community and a regular at MIST meetings until quite recently. His intellectual achievements need no introduction to anyone familiar with our field. Below is a short appreciation by Prof. David Southwood:
Jim Dungey passed away last week. A light went out for me. I feel some echo of that must have been felt by everybody in the MIST community. He was an extraordinary scientist, someone out of the ordinary. His style was terse. In two pages in Physical Review Letters in 1961 he resolved the basis of solar-terrestrial interaction. He famously conceived it whilst stirring a coffee at a pavement café on Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris. Almost every sentence contains a nugget. Conversations with him could be as dense. I suspect that I am not the only one of his students for whom meetings during his PhD supervision were a matter of grasping clues and only later, often much later, appreciating the true import of what had been said. Indeed, in respect of his 1961 paper, it took the community as a whole almost 20 years to grasp the basic idea. The enormity of the 1961 paper's ultimate impact distracts from the number of other seeds he sowed: geomagnetic pulsations were standing MHD waves in the magnetosphere, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability could be important at the magnetopause, that the radiation belts had an external origin, that whistlers could determine the equilibrium of the belts, that magnetospheric MHD waves could be excited by bounce-drift resonance. I could continue and will, indeed, say more elsewhere. Moreover, he was a theorist but he welcomed any kind of experimental data, ground-based, space based and he also appreciated, long before I did, the interpretation of computer simulations. He was a MIST community member and a regular attendee at early meetings. His students and 'grand-students' are all around us. Everybody in the UK MIST community should feel the loss but, I hope, also a small pride that he was one of us.
Congratulations to Mike Lockwood, who has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal in geophysics. The Gold Medal is the highest award in the society's gift, and is awarded as recognition of a lifetime's work. The society's announcement says:
Prof. Lockwood is one of the most eminent researchers today in space physics. He has made defining contributions in several different fields, from the ionosphere, via the magnetosphere and the heliosphere, to the Sun and its influence on the Earth's climate. Among the highlights of his broad career are his early discovery of a 'fountain' of ions populating the polar magnetosphere from the ionosphere. Thereafter, his novel analysis using ground-based radar combined with space-based particle measurements yielded new quantitative insights into magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause. This helped to illuminate how this most fundamental of plasma processes operates.
His most recent work has focused on the impact of the variable solar output on the heliosphere and the Earth's climate, including founding a new field of study of the long-term variability of the Sun's magnetic field. Quite remarkable is the fact that this now vibrant research area arose from Prof. Lockwood's very first paper in solar physics, reporting that the Sun's coronal magnetic has doubled in the last 100 years. Throughout his career, Prof. Lockwood has provided novel and far-reaching insights that have subsequently become accepted paradigms, and paved the way for further study.
Sincere congratulations are also due to our colleague in the UK Solar Physics community, Alan Hood, who has been awarded the RAS's Chapman medal for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics.
Further information about all of this year's medal and award winners is available on the Royal Astronomical Society's web site.
Work by three members of the MIST community (and international collaborators) has been published in the latest edition of Science. The study used data from the European Space Agency's Cluster spacecraft and NASA's IMAGE satellite to reveal the physical processes which cause a type of auroral display called the "theta aurora".
Further information is available in the European Space Agency press release.