UK Space Weather Expert wins prestigious international award

15 November 2016 - Professor Mike Hapgood, Head of Space Weather at STFC RAL Space, is this year’s recipient of the Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal for Space Weather and Space Climate. British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose presented the prestigious award at a ceremony which was held as part of 13th European Space Weather Week in Ostend, Belgium.

Professor Hapgood

Professor Hapgood being presented with the Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal by the British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose
(Credit: ESWW)

The medal which rewards efforts to structure the space weather community at an international level is testament to Professor Hapgood’s 35 years’ experience in solar-terrestrial physics. Mike acts as an advisor to the UK Government on risks posed by Space Weather, and also chairs the UK Space Environment Impact Experts group as well as being a visiting Professor at the University of Lancaster.

Speaking after the ceremony Professor Hapgood said  “I am honoured to receive an award named after Marcel Nicolet, particularly given his leading role in the “International Geophysical Year”, back in 1957/58. The IGY had a big impact on me, both as a young person learning about science, and later when starting my scientific career. It showed the value of international cooperation in science, not just at an intellectual level, but also at a human level.”

“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to build on Nicolet’s work, especially to help our community address the growing and worldwide risks posed by space weather.”

From an international perspective Mike has led several space weather studies funded by the European Space Agency, was chair of ESA’s Space Weather Working Team from 2006 to 2009, and has also worked closely with colleagues at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to promote wider international links through workshops on both sides of the Atlantic.

Space weather refers to the environmental conditions in Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere due to the Sun and the solar wind that can influence the functioning and reliability of space-borne and ground-based systems and services or endanger property or human health.

STFC RAL Space Director, Dr Chris Mutlow said ‘We are thrilled that Mike has been recognised for his contribution to the international space weather community by being awarded the Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal. This is a great achievement that acknowledges the impact that Mike’s work has had in addressing the recognition of space weather, its impact and potential risk not just on a national level, but internationally too’.

The annual European Space Weather Week (ESWW) is the European Forum for Space weather, bringing together the diverse groups in Europe working on different aspects of Space Weather.

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Media contact:

Sarah Smart sarah.smart@stfc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

Since 2013, three prestigious space weather medals are awarded during European Space Weather Week. One medal rewards a young researcher for major contributions to space weather research and/or services, another is for outstanding scientific or technological results, and a third is awarded for efforts to structure the space weather community at an international level. Further information on the medal awarded can be found here http://www.stce.be/esww13/medals.php

RAL Space, based at STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. It has had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and is at the forefront of UK Space Research.

http://www.ralspace.stfc.ac.uk/RALSpace/

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