Press Release

Burch awarded COSPAR’s inaugural Jeoujang Jaw award

By SpaceRef Editor
July 16, 2008
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San Antonio — July 16, 2008 — On July 14 the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) awarded Dr. James L. Burch, vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), its 2008 Jeoujang Jaw Award, bestowed jointly by COSPAR and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The award recognizes scientists who have “made distinguished pioneering contributions to promoting space research, establishing new space science research branches and founding new exploration programs.” It was named in honor of Professor Jeoujang Jaw (1907-1968), a pioneer in advocating physics and new technologies in earth science, who made significant contributions to the development of atmospheric science, geophysics and space science.

Burch is the first recipient of the award, given in recognition of his leadership on the NASA Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission, which provided the first global images of the Earth’s magnetosphere and demonstrated how the transport of charged particles in the Earth’s space environment responds to variations in the solar wind.

In addition to directing a variety of space science activities at SwRI, Burch has served as principal investigator on the following space science missions: IMAGE, Rosetta, Dynamics Explorer 1, and ATLAS-1. Burch currently serves as principal investigator of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, scheduled to launch in 2014, and a proposed Mars Scout mission called The Great Escape.

As an active member of the space science community, Burch has been a long-time member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), including serving as chair of the Committee on Public Affairs, which ensures the geophysical science community participates in public policy decisions, and as President of the Space Physics and Aeronomy section. He also served a five-year term as editor-in-chief of the AGU publication Geophysical Research Letters.

Burch has also served on advisory committees for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency, the National Science Foundation and other organizations. He served a four-year term as chair of the Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP), which advises the National Research Council Space Studies Board in the areas of solar physics, solar-terrestrial physics, magnetospheric physics, cosmic radiation, Sun-Earth connections and space weather. For his years of service, Burch was named a lifetime national associate of the National Academies.

Burch holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from St. Mary’s University, a master’s degree in R&D management from George Washington University and a Ph.D. in space science from Rice University. He was elected a Fellow of the AGU in 1995.

EDITORS: A portrait of Burch is available from the SwRI website at


SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with a staff of 3,300 and an annual research volume of $501 million.

SpaceRef staff editor.