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Louis J Lanzerotti

Louis J. Lanzerotti, PhD, distinguished research professor of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology, has spent  four and one-half decades contributing to research that includes studies of space plasmas and geophysics, and engineering problems related to the impact of atmospheric and space processes on terrestrial technologies, and those in space.  Prior to joining NJIT in 2003, Lanzerotti spent more than three decades at Bell Laboratories-Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, NJ.

Lanzerotti was selected as the 2011 William Bowie Medalist of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).  The Bowie Medal, which is AGU’s highest honor, was established in 1939 in honor of William Bowie for his "spirit of helpfulness and friendliness in unselfish cooperative research."

U.S. President George W. Bush nominated Lanzerotti in 2004 to a six-year term on the National Science Board, the 24-member governing body of the National Science Foundation.  Lanzerotti has served as the chair of many committees for the National Academies, including the blue-ribbon panel to study whether to prolong the mission of the Hubble Space Telescope, the committee on the safety and security of spent nuclear fuel, the Space Studies Board, and the committee on electronic vehicle controls and unattended acceleration.  He was a member of the National Science Foundation 2011-2012 Blue Ribbon Panel examining logistical effectiveness in Antarctica.  He currently serves as the chair of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics.

NASA has recognized Lanzerotti’s contributions to science with the agency’s Distinguished Scientific Achievement Medal, and twice awarded him the agency’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.  He has also received the William Nordberg Medal for applications of space science from the International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).  Lanzerotti has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).  He is the recipient of the 2012 Basic Science Award of the IAA.

Lanzerotti has been principal investigator or co-investigator on a number of NASA Earth-orbiting, interplanetary and planetary missions including IMP, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, and Cassini.  He is currently a Principal Investigator for instruments to be flown in 2012 on NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission in Earth’s magnetosphere.   Lanzerotti’s research directed toward understanding Earth’s upper atmosphere and space environments has also taken him to the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Minor Planet 5504 Lanzerotti recognizes his space and planetary research, and Mount Lanzerotti (74.50° S, 70.33° W) recognizes his research in the Antarctic.  In 2003, the American Geophysical Union named Lanzerotti the founding editor of Space Weather, The International Journal of Research and Applications.  The journal has been the first to focus on the emerging field of space weather and its impact on technical systems.

Lanzerotti has co-authored one book, co-edited four books, and is an author of more than 500 refereed engineering and science papers.  He is a member of the NJIT Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research, which also manages the Big Bear Solar Observatory, Calif. 

He holds a BS in engineering physics from the University of Illinois and master's and doctoral degrees in physics from Harvard University.

Last update: August, 2012

Topics: space plasmas, geophysics, terrestrial technologies, space environments, njit center for solar-terrestrial research