The 2003 Hannes Alfvén Medal is awarded to Götz Paschmann for his outstanding contributions to the exploration and understanding of the magnetospheric boundaries and fundamental processes governing the interactions with the solar wind.
Götz Paschmann is one of the most successful researchers in near-Earth plasmas and fields. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he and his colleagues of the Max-Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics took the lead in exploring the boundaries of the magnetosphere with various discoveries advancing the understanding of the ways in which the solar wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field thereby transferring mass, momentum and energy. One of his outstanding achievements was the first observational confirmation of the reconnection process between the solar and the Earth’s magnetic field at the front-side magnetopause in 1979. Of similar significance are his investigations of transient forms of reconnection in form of flux-transfer events, of the nature and structure of magnetopause and boundary layers in dependence of the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field, and the understanding of the thermalization process in supercritical quasi-perpendicular collisionless shocks. The data base created with Götz Paschmann’s 3D plasma analyzer on the AMPTE-IRM spacecraft (1984-1986) served until recently as a prime source of information for a wide international community in the exploration of magnetosphere and magnetic tail, as for instance the dynamics of substorms.
For the Cluster mission, Götz Paschmann and his international team developed the electron beam technique for measuring electric fields to a state permitting reliable measurements over a wide range of external parameters in many instances complementary to the double probe technique. Götz Paschmann is one of the experimenters who have contributed most to our knowledge of the Earth’s plasma environment.