PS Planetary and Solar System Sciences
The 2021 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to William Dunn for his outstanding contributions on understanding the morphology and driving mechanisms of Jupiter’s X-ray aurora, strong leadership in X-ray observing programs, and his generous service to outreach.
William Dunn has made remarkable contributions to the planetary science field, specifically by studying the planetary X-ray emissions and their relation to the solar wind and space weather as well as the causes of Jupiter’s quasi-periodic pulsations and auroral flares. Since his PhD at University College London, Dunn has demonstrated a clear scientific strategy for exceptional scientific outputs, and he obtained multiple observing campaigns with the X-ray space telescopes for Jupiter X-ray studies by proposing highly competitive science cases. These campaigns, put together, amount to more time than in the previous 17 years of Jupiter observations combined. Using the data planned by himself and the team he led, William Dunn derived compelling results that have significantly shifted the understanding of Jupiter’s X-ray auroral process, including the discovery published in Nature Astronomy of the independent behavior of X-ray emissions at both hemispheres of Jupiter.
Dunn has published 30 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, several of which have achieved broader impacts and were highlighted in NASA and ESA media. Although he is still at an early stage of his scientific career, Dunn has already developed a strong reputation in the international planetary science community. He has been invited to present his research at 6 international conferences, including EGU, AGU, and MOP.
In addition to his scientific activities, Dunn has made outstanding contributions to outreach through programmes that created 24 school-scientist partnerships to involve school students in active space research. The programme has increased the number of students from underrepresented groups who undertake science degrees at UK universities and led to more than 80 school students becoming authors on scientific publications in the last 3 years.
In addition to being awarded large observational campaigns and fellowships, Dunn has also combined observations of different wavelengths from the solar source to the sinks of the giant planets’ atmospheres. Collectively, these accomplishments make William Dunn an extremely well qualified recipient of the Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award for the Planetary and Solar System Sciences Division.