Press Release

Leicester Professor Hailed as ‘One of the Outstanding Scientists of his Generation’

By SpaceRef Editor
December 13, 2005
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International accolade for space scientist

A Professor at the University of Leicester has been hailed as ‘one of the outstanding scientists of his generation’ and is to receive a prestigious international award.

Professor Stan Cowley, Professor of Solar-Planetary Physics, at the University is to be awarded the Julius Bartels Medal at a ceremony in Vienna in April where he will also deliver a lecture to international delegates.

The award has been established by the European Geosciences Union in recognition of the scientific achievement of Julius Bartels. It is reserved for outstanding research in solar-terrestrial sciences.

The citation states: “Professor Stan Cowley is one of the outstanding scientists of his generation. His work in the field of space plasma physics encompasses a breadth and depth that is incomparable. His work has proven to be seminal in our understanding of the physical processes involved.

“Stan’s work on space plasma processes are not limited to the Earth’s environs, but extend also to other solar system objects. He participated in the first comet fly-by of P/Giacobini-Zinner by the ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft in 1985. Recently his attention has focused on solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions in the rapidly-rotating magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. His particular interest has been the origins of auroras on these planets, utilizing the recently available observations from the Galileo and Cassini missions as well as auroral imaging by the Hubble Space Telescope.

“Stan Cowley is famous for his clear, thoughtful and insightful presentations and he is much in demand as an invited speaker at all major conferences. He is an excellent teacher who is capable of illustrating both the theoretical concepts and the observational results and challenges of the space plasma phenomena. Stan’s leadership has produced excellent scientific achievements within his groups both earlier at Imperial College and presently at the University of Leicester.

“Stan is clearly a leader in his field and one of the people who have made major breakthroughs over the field of solar terrestrial sciences in the last 30 years. It is proposed that the 2006 Bartels medal of the European Geophysical Union be awarded to Stanley W. H. Cowley for his outstanding contributions to solar system plasma physics regarding the physics of magnetic reconnection and its consequences to planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres.”

Professor Cowley said: “Needless to say I feel very pleased and honoured to have been awarded this medal. I take it as a strong encouragement for us to vigorously continue the research programme we have pursued at Leicester for the past ten years, investigating the outer environments of Earth and the planets using radars and satellites. It is also a tribute to the many excellent scientists with whom I have had the pleasure to work over this period, from the undergraduates in the Department of Physics & Astronomy who have piloted many of our research projects, to the senior academics in my research group; all continue to play an essential role in our success.”

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: Professor Cowley is available on 0116-223-1331 (office). He is currently Professor of Solar-Planetary Physics in the Department of Physics & Astronomy of the University, and Head of the Radio & Space Plasma Physics Group. He moved to the University of Leicester ten years ago, having been Professor of Physics at the Imperial College, London. He lives with his wife and three children in Oadby, Leicestershire.

More information on the award is available at:

SpaceRef staff editor.