The 2004 Hannes Alfvén Medal is awarded to Forrest Mozer for his pioneering work on electric field measurements in space plasma.
Forrest S. Mozer received his Ph. D. from California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) in 1956. He served in various research positions at CALTECH, Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Aerospace Corporation and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris), Since 1966 he has been at the University of California, Berkeley, where in 1970 he became a full Professor and Vice Chairman of the Physics Department. 1985-1994 he was Associate Director of the Space Sciences Laboratory, a position that he again holds since 1997.
The achievement for which he is honoured with the Hannes Alfvén Medal is his pioneering work on electric field measurements in space plasma. At the very center of Hannes Alfvén’s scientific paradigm was his conviction that electric fields play a crucial role in space plasma, and that they need to be directly measured, not just inferred from some theoretical model. Forrest Mozer’s work has been crucial in making such measurements possible and reliable. In 1967 he made the first electric field measurements in space using the double probe technique and has since published more than 250 papers on electric fields in space. His work includes electric field measurements on balloons, rockets and satellites. He discovered strong localized electric fields (‘electrostatic shocks’) in the auroral acceleration region and participated in the first observations of solitary waves in the space plasma. His current research involves field and particle measurements on Polar (he is Principal Investigator for the Polar Electric Field Experiment) and Cluster (he is U S Lead Co-Investigator for the Cluster Electric Field and Wave experiment). He is also a Co-Investigator on the FAST SMEX mission.
Forrest Mozer is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the UCB Academic Senate.