Princeton’s David McComas among honorees for Earth, planetary and space science advances

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) announced today that David McComas is a recipient of the 2022 Hannes Alfvén Medal for his plasma physics research.

“These individuals are honoured for their important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences,” said the EGU in their announcement. The Hannes Alfvén Medal commemorates the scientific achievements of the 1970 Nobel laureate in physics, and it is awarded for outstanding scientific contributions towards the understanding of plasma processes in the solar system and other cosmical plasma environments.

McComas, Princeton’s Vice President for the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and a professor of astrophysical sciences, pursues research across nearly all of space plasma physics, including the solar corona, solar wind, terrestrial and planetary magnetospheres, and the outer heliosphere and its interaction with the local interstellar medium. He is an experimentalist who has led or participated in dozens of NASA missions, including as principal investigator of NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), scheduled to launch in 2024.

He also served as the principal investigator for the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission and the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISʘIS) energetic particle instrument suite on Parker Solar Probe, among many others.

McComas has invented instruments for space applications and holds seven patents. He is an author of more than 700 scientific journal papers spanning topics in heliospheric, magnetospheric, solar and planetary science as well as space instrument and mission development.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2015, the 2014 COSPAR Space Science Award, and AGU’s James B. Macelwane Award in 1993.

He will receive the Hannes Alfvén Medal during the next EGU General Assembly in April 2022.

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