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Margaret G. Kivelson

Margaret G. Kivelson
Margaret G. Kivelson

The 2005 Hannes Alfvén Medal is awarded to Margaret G. Kivelson for her pioneering work on Jupiter and its moons, including the discovery of the intrinsic magnetic field of Ganymede and study of the coupling of its magnetosphere with that of Jupiter.

Margaret G. Kivelson received her Ph. D. in 1957 from Harvard University where she worked with Julian Schwinger. Since 1975 she has served on the faculty of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA, where she is currently Professor of Space Physics and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (Chairman 1984-1987 and interim Director 199-2000). Her work is focused on particles and magnetic fields in the surroundings of Earth and Jupiter and properties of Jupiter’s Galilean moons. She is Principal Investigator for the Magnetometer on the Galileo Orbiter, that acquired data in Jupiter’s magnetosphere for eight years and a Co-I on the flux gate magnetometer of the Cluster mission.

In addition to numerous achievements in the investigation of ULF waves in the Earth’s magnetosphere, Margaret Kivelson has made contributions on Jupiter and its moons that are of profound importance for solar-system science in general. The magnetometer experiment on Galileo, which she led as its Principal Investigator, made at least two highly significant discoveries. One was that Ganymede has an intrinsic magnetic field and the other was that Europa and other icy moons have oceans beneath their surface. All these observations suggest that these tiny satellites of Jupiter still have internal heat sources. Because of its intrinsic magnetic field, Ganymede has a miniature magnetosphere that travels through the Jovian magnetic field. Kivelson with her colleagues has identified basic processes operating in this coupled magnetosphere system including reconnection between Jovian and Ganymede’s magnetic fields. One of her important findings was the erosion of the magnetosphere in response to reversals in the interplanetary magnetic field. Overall, the data obtained by the magnetometer experiment on Galileo has played a key role in the success of this mission by providing the essential and reliable framework for interpreting the plasma and aurora observations made throughout the magnetosphere.

Margaret Kivelson is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, the International Academy of Astronautics and the American Association. She is also a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and has received several other honors. She has served on numerous advisory committees, most recently the Space Studies Board.