Dr. Jacob Bortnik, who served as one of QuakeFinder’s committed scientific researchers for many years, recently received a significant recognition from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Bortnik was selected as a winner of the 2021 Joanne Simpson Medal, AGU’s highest award for mid-career scientists. The humanitarian R&D project QuakeFinder was formed in 2000 by Stellar Solutions with the mission to save lives by forecasting earthquakes.

Bortnik received this honor as part of the AGU Fall Meeting in December 2021.  Bortnik is Professor of Space Physics in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles. His research group focuses on space weather in the Earth’s near-space environment.

Image Credit: AGU

According to the AGU, “This medal is named in honor of Joanne Simpson, who was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology and during her career made fundamental contributions to modern research on tropical clouds and hurricanes. The medal recognizes exceptional mid-career scientists who have made transformative scientific advances or breakthrough in the Earth and space sciences, have demonstrated strong leadership, and provided outstanding service to science and society.”

The award citation reads, in part: “Jacob Bortnik is a recognized leader in nonlinear plasma wave interactions with charged particles in Earth’s radiation belts (the Van Allen belts). Relativistic electrons and energetic protons there can damage satellites, disrupting telecommunications and other services we have come to depend upon, and can endanger astronauts. Radiation belt fluxes are highly variable due to changes in the solar wind, which powers them. Understanding the physics of this variability to build accurate predictive models of ‘space weather’ is a major goal of space science … Bortnik has made some of the most significant advances in our understanding of such interactions, using theory, modeling, observations, laboratory and computer simulations, and machine learning … His collaborative spirit and transformational research on wave-particle interactions have made an indelible mark in space science.”

The Stellar Solutions and QuakeFinder teams extend sincere congratulations to Dr. Jacob Bortnik for this momentous achievement. More information about this award and Bortnik’s research can be found at the following links: