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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA researcher awarded two national prizes worth $80K

Marcia Neugebauer, an adjunct research scientist working with the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, won both the Arctowski Medal and the 2010 George Ellery Hale Prize this month for her work in the field of solar physics.
Marcia Neugebauer, an adjunct research scientist working with the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, won both the Arctowski Medal and the 2010 George Ellery Hale Prize this month for her work in the field of solar physics.

Winning two national awards for physics in a lifetime is quite a feat, but Marcia Neugebauer has achieved this in one month.

An adjunct research scientist who works with the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory researching and analyzing data, Neugebauer earned both the Arctowski Medal and the 2010 George Ellery Hale Prize in January.

The Arctowski Medal, awarded by the National Academy of Sciences every two years, recognizes outstanding work in solar-terrestrial relations.

She received one of 17 medals, a $20,000 cash award and will be speaking at the National Academy of Sciences’ annual meeting in April. An extra $60,000 prize was given to the college of her choosing. She chose the UA.

Neugebauer was also awarded the 2010 George Ellery Hale Prize, the highest recognition given every year by the physics division of the American Astronomical Society for remarkable contribution to the field of solar astronomy.

Remaining humble, she laughed about receiving so much acclaim so recently.

“”It’s pretty amazing to get two at all and let alone in the same year; it’s pretty astonishing,”” she said. “”I’m flattered and honored.””

Neugebauer found her way to the UA after 45 years in the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab. She wanted to continue researching and working with her career’s work in solar wind study.

“”It adds strength to our group … which is an already good group,”” said Timothy Swindle, a professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “”She came up in an era when women weren’t encouraged to go into the sciences. She didn’t even have a Ph.D. … but she has become one of the best scientists in the country.””

“”Mostly, I was interested because it was an interesting puzzle to see how things work,”” she said of her start in physics.

Many years ago, she was involved in one of the first groups to prove the theory of solar wind.

Her research explores both the importance of solar wind and its effects on Earth decades later. She still loves her work and is happy to be doing it here at the UA.

“”It’s very good that the university will offer the possibility for retired people to participate,”” she said of her position and the work of the Arizona Senior Academy.

The Arizona Senior Academy, an official affiliate of the university founded by Henry Koffler, is a retirement community for continued learning. Neugebauer has been president of the academy for five years.

“”I can’t speak highly enough of her. I just can’t,”” said Kathie Van Brunt, an administrator and colleague of Neugebauer at the academy. “”She’s brilliant — she’s a superb manager and she’s a superb human being.””

 

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