Press Release

Four NASA Goddard Scientists Named 2009 Elected AGU Fellows

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2009
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GREENBELT, Md. – Four scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. have been named Fellows of the American Geophysical Union.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced earlier this month that new fellows include: John Connerney, Thomas Earle Moore, Richard Ray, and Compton Tucker.

AGU is an international organization of scientists who study and publish research on Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity. To be elected a Fellow is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions. Nominations generally come from AGU members and are vetted by committees. Election is by a committee of Fellows. To qualify, the nominee must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. This honor may be bestowed on only 0.1% of the membership in any given year.

Dr. John E. P. Connerney is an Astrophysicist and Space Scientist at the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics at Goddard. He has been elected AGU Fellow for his outstanding work on modeling the magnetic fields of the planets, enabling significant advances in the understanding of planetary, magnetospheric, ionospheric and auroral phenomena. He is now using data from a Goddard instrument on Mars Global Surveyor to study the crustal magnetic field of Mars. He is the Deputy Principal Investigator for NASA’s New Frontier mission to Jupiter (Juno), currently under development for launch in 2011. Connerney lives in Annapolis with his wife Ingrid and two children, Ian and Cristin.

“It’s a great honor, to be invited to join such a distinguished group, and a recognition of the success of the magnetometer effort at Goddard,” Connerney said. “It’s a world class group, which I’ve been fortunate to be associated with.”

Richard D. Ray is a Geophysicist at NASA Goddard’s Planetary Geodynamics Laboratory. His research interests include: Tides of the Earth, ocean, and atmosphere. He’s currently working with satellite altimeter data – historical Topex/Poseidon data and ongoing Jason-1 and Jason-2 data – to try to discover new things about internal tides in the deep ocean. “These are motions internal to the water column and are somewhat difficult to detect with satellites, but are extremely important to the inner workings of the ocean,” Ray said. “They help mix cold and warm waters and thus influence the ocean’s thermohaline circulation.”

About his honor, Ray said “It’s quite gratifying to get this kind of recognition from one’s peers. I am certainly indebted to the people who wrote the nomination letters and who convinced the AGU Fellows Committee that my past work has been useful.” He resides in Crofton, Md.

Compton James Tucker is a Senior Earth Scientist at Goddard’s Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory. He’s presently working on variation in tropical glaciers the past 30 years, continuing a 29-year global land data set of photosynthetic potential, using satellite data to predict outbreaks of two hemorrhagic fever diseases, and is also on a NASA detail to the Climate Change Science Program. “It’s an honor to be selected an AGU fellow and I consider myself lucky to work at NASA Goddard,” Tucker said. He resides in Washington, D.C.

Thomas E. Moore is the Deputy Director of Goddard’s Heliophysics Science Division. Moore’s main research interests are space plasmas and their properties–in particular, how Earth’s atmosphere is heated into the plasma state by the solar wind, how it expands into and modifies the magnetosphere, and how it escapes into the heliosphere. “It’s very gratifying but also humbling to be admitted to peer status in a special club that includes so many of my professional heroes. I was aware that some of my colleagues were nominating me, and I deeply appreciate their efforts to recognize my work in this way,” said Moore.

Dr. Moore, a member of the AGU since 1975, has served as an associate editor for AGU journals, as secretary for the AGU’s Magnetospheric Physics subsection, and as a member of the AGU awards committee. Moore resides in Crofton, Md.

For more information and biographies of these awardees, visit:

For the complete list of AGU fellows, please visit:


For more information on John Connerney, visit:

For more information on Thomas E. Moore, visit:

For more information on Richard Ray, visit:

For more information on Compton Tucker, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.