Tamas I. Gombosi receives the 2020 John Adam Fleming Medal
Tamas Gombosi is an extraordinary scientist, educator and leader with an impressive record of community service. Tamas is a leading global expert in cometary physics, a revolutionary researcher of the Venus ionosphere and Saturn magnetosphere, and the recognized leader in space weather modeling. The large number of students, post-docs and junior faculty who have learned from Tamas and who have been the lead author of many of the resulting articles attest to his talent and dedication to graduate and post-graduate studies.
Tamas was educated through his doctorate. at Roland Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary. He spent some time at the Moscow Institute for Space Research, where he worked on the modeling and analysis of data from the Venera to Venus mission with pioneers from the Russian space science program. He visited Michigan for 1 year, then returned to Budapest for two more as the leader of the Hungarian element of the Vega mission on Comet Halley.
Returning to Michigan as an associate researcher in 1985, Tamas embarked on a career that led to endowed professors in engineering and space science, the founding leadership of the Center for Space Environment Modeling, 8 years as department chair, 6 years as editor. in chief of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 3 years membership in the AGU Publications Committee, author of two widely used and acclaimed academic textbooks, author of over 450 peer-reviewed publications, direction of 26 doctorates. graduates and 12 post-docs, president of the scientific working group of the European mission Rosetta, president of Commission D of the Space Research Committee and of Division IV of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, and many other scientific and managerial positions in Michigan and in the scientific community. As a scientist, educator and leader, Tamas Gombosi is, indeed, a giant in our field.
Tamas leads a group of professors and students pioneering the development of high performance 3D magnetohydrodynamic numerical simulation models using solution adaptive grids. This group has developed the space weather modeling framework which combines cutting-edge models describing the complex Sun-Earth system. Tamas’ model calculates the plasma environment from the solar interior to the Earth’s atmosphere. The model is installed in the Community Coordinated Modeling Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for community online use and is by far the most widely used model at that center. Operating faster than real time, it is particularly suitable for forecasting space weather.
The Fleming Medal 2020 recognizes Tamas Gombosi’s pioneering theoretical research into solar system plasmas and his development of an advanced numerical model for space weather forecasting.
—James Burch, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas
I am very honored to receive the 2020 John Adam Fleming Medal from AGU. This medal is awarded to one but won by several. I am especially grateful to my colleagues at the University of Michigan who, 40 years ago, hosted a foreign post-doctoral fellow and gave him the opportunity to work on the most exciting space missions of the time. I am also grateful for my outstanding education in Hungary and the postgraduate training I received at the Moscow Space Research Institute from Konstantin Gringauz, Vitaliy Shapiro and Alik Galeev. I am indebted to Andy Nagy, who not only discovered me in the no man’s land of space science, but also mentored me through good times and bad. I could not have received this recognition without my talented young colleagues from Michigan. As I remind everyone, I only hire people who are smarter than me. I would also like to thank the 2020 Fleming Medal Selection Committee for this honor. I would also like to thank Jim Burch for nominating me, as well as Tom Cravens, Andy Nagy and Chris Russell for supporting my candidacy. Finally, I would like to thank my 51 year old wife for her unwavering support and my children and six grandchildren for all the challenges and joys in life that I have the chance to experience.
During my scientific career, I have had the privilege of working on some of the most exciting space missions of our time. Starting with Venera 9 and 10, the first mission to orbit a planet other than Earth, and followed by Pioneer Venus, Dynamics Explorer, Venus-Halley, Cassini, Rosetta, Stereo, Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), I have had many opportunities to explore the many mysteries of our solar system. These missions were made possible through the dedicated work of thousands of people whose names do not appear on the authors’ discovery lists. I am eternally grateful to them.
On a personal note, I am honored to rise here today. It took three generations, from my great-grandfathers hawking from village to village to my sister and I, to become first-generation university graduates and a doctorate. scientists and for me to receive one of the highest honors a space scientist can receive. I am grateful to my parents, who had the strength to rise from the ashes after the Holocaust and instill in me the value of knowledge and learning: “No one can take knowledge away from you.”
—Tamas I. Gombosi, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor