Janet G. Luhmann
The 2021 Jean Dominique Cassini Medal & Honorary Membership is awarded to Janet G. Luhmann for being an exceptional geoscientist, original thinker, and true pioneer in the science of planetary space weather, revealing the links between solar processes and their planetary responses.
Janet Luhmann is a true pioneer of the science of planetary space weather, including that of the Earth, revealing the links between solar processes and their planetary responses. She is an exceptional geoscientist and original thinker over a broad array of space sciences, demonstrated in more than 500 authored and co-authored publications. These include heliophysics, the fundamental physics of space plasmas, the aeronomy and magnetospheric dynamics of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, the Kronian environment and moons, and comets.
Luhmann’s scientific and leadership capabilities have resulted in principal investigator roles, including in the particles and fields payload on the STEREO solar mission. Her work was instrumental in laying the scientific foundation of the MAVEN Mars mission, of which she became the deputy principal investigator. Luhmann’s interdisciplinary expertise and broad vision were essential in setting the goals and conducting plasma and atmospheric escape investigations on ESA’s Mars Express and Venus Express missions. Thus, her influence on the European planetary missions has been critically important for their success.
Luhmann also uses her exceptional scholarly and researcher skills to serve the wider geosciences community. She has served as the president of the AGU Space Physics and Aeronomy section, as the senior editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Space Physics, as Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Solar and Space Physics, and as Chair of the NASA Advisory Council’s Planetary Science Subcommittee, in addition to countless committees and panels of NASA, NSF, and NRC.
Luhmann is an exceptional mentor and role model for the younger scientists in the field. This is evident in the corridors of conferences like EGU, where she is always surrounded by her younger colleagues. She has been recognized nationally by the AGU Fleming Medal and internationally by the COSPAR Space Science Award. The Cassini Medal is awarded to “scientists who have achieved exceptional international standing in planetary and space sciences … for their merit and their scientific achievements”. As a researcher who has led and advanced the fields of space and heliospheric physics in ways few others have, Janet Luhmann is a worthy recipient of this honour.