Gary Zank, Ph.D.

Trustee Professor
Eminent Scholar
Director, CSPAR
Chair, Department of Space Science


Dr. Gary Zank received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Natal in South Africa in 1987. Gary is an Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor, Director of Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR), and Chair of the Department of Space Science (SPA) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Gary is has been recognized in his field through the receipt of numerous honors and awards throughout his career. In 2017, he was named the University of Alabama Board of Trustees Trustee Professor, the first and only University of Alabama System faculty member to achieve this position. In part, this was in recognition of Dr Zank being elected in 2016 as a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the only person in AL to be a member of this august body.

He was recognized internationally in 2015 with the AOGS Axford Medal, the highest honor given by the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). Other awards include his being a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he was also elected an AOGS Honorary Member and was chosen by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) to be the 2017 Johannes Geiss Fellow. One of his publications has been recognized as one of the twelve “classic papers” ever published in the Journal of Plasma Physics. Gary is dedicated to his research, which is clearly represented in his achievements over the years and categorizes him as a cutting-edge leader in the world of space physics.


  • Ph.D., University of Natal, South Africa, 1987
  • B.Sc. (Hons.), University of Natal, South Africa, 1983
  • B.S., University of Natal, South Africa, 1982

Classes Taught

Recent grants & contracts

  • Microstructure of the termination shock (NASA NNH07ZDA001N-SHP) - $360,000.
  • Particle acceleration for solar energetic particle and energetic storm particle events (NASA NNH08ZDA001N-HGI) - $363,000.
  • The dynamical inner heliosheath and the space radiation environment (NASA NNH09ZNE002C EPSCoR) - $665,478.
  • Physics of the Ribbon and related problems (NASA NNH09ZDA001N-SHP) - $414,649.
  • Particle acceleration at inner heliospheric shock waves during solar maximum (NASA NNH13ZDA001N-HGI) - $507,181.


Selected Publications

  • Faltering Steps into the Galaxy: the Boundary Regions of the Heliosphere, by G.P. Zank, Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 53, 449 - 500, doi:10.2246/annurev-astro-082214-122254, 2015.
  • Small-scale magnetic islands in the solar wind and their role in particle acceleration Part 1: Dynamics of magnetic islands near the heliospheric current sheet, by O.Khabarova, G.P. Zank, G.Li, J.A. le Roux, G.M. Webb, A. Dosch, V.V. Zharkova, and O.E. Malandraki, ApJ, 808, 181. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/808/2/181, 2015.
  • Adhikari, L., Zank, G. P., Bruno, R., Telloni, D., Hunana, P., Dosch, A., Marino, R., and Hu, Q., The transport of low-frequency turbulence in astrophysical flows. II. Solutions for the super-alfvénic solar wind, Astrophysical Journal, 805, 63 (2015).
  • Diffusive Shock Acceleration and Reconnection Processes, by G.P. Zank, P. Hunana, P. Mostafavi, J.A. le Roux, Gang Li, G.M. Webb, O. Khabarova, A. Cummings, and E. Stone ApJ, 814, 137, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/814/2/137, 2015.
  • le Roux, J. A., Zank, G. P., Webb, G. M., and Khabarova, O., A kinetic transport theory for particle acceleration and transport in regions of multiple contracting and reconnecting inertial-scale flux ropes, Astrophysical Journal, 801, 112 (2015).
  • Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation: Design of the Solar Wind and Coronal Plasma Instrument Suite for Solar Probe Plus, by Justin C. Kasper, Robert Abiad, Gerry Austin, Marianne Balat-Pichelin, Stuart D. Bale, John W. Belcher, Peter Berg, Henry Bergner, Matthieu Berthomier, Jay Bookbinder, Etienne Brodu, David Caldwell, Anthony W. Case, Benjamin D.G. Chandran, Peter Cheimets, Jonathan W. Cirtain, Steven R. Cranmer, David W. Curtis, Peter Daigneau, Greg Dalton, Brahmananda Dasgupta, David DeTomaso, Millan Diaz-Aguado, Blagoje Djordjevic, Bill Donaskowski, Michael Effinger, Vladimir Florinski, Nichola Fox, Mark Freeman, Dennis Gallagher, S. Peter Gary, Tom Gauron, Richard Gates, Melvin Goldstein, Leon Golub, Dorothy A. Gordon, Reid Gurnee, Giora Guth, Jasper Halekas, Ken Hatch, Jacob Heerikuisen, George Ho, Qiang Hu, Greg Johnson, Steven P. Jordan, Kelly E. Korreck, Davin Larson, Alan J. Lazarus, Gang Li, Roberto Livi, Michael Ludlam, Milan Maksimovic, James P. McFadden, William Marchant, Bennet A. Maruca, David J. McComas, Luciana Messina, Tony Mercer, Sang Park, Andrew M. Peddie, Nikolai Pogorelov, Matthew J. Reinhart, John D. Richardson, Miles Robinson, Irene Rosen, Ruth M. Skoug, Amanda Slagle, John T. Steinberg, Michael L. Stevens, Adam Szabo, Ellen R. Taylor, Chris Tiu, Paul Turin, Marco Velli, Gary Webb, Phyllis Whittlesey, Ken Wright, S.T. Wu, Gary Zank, Space Sci Rev., DOI 10.1007/s11214-015-0206-3, 2015.
  • Multi-symplectic magnetohydrodynamics: II, addendum and erratum, by G.M. Webb, J.F. McKenzie, and G.P. Zank, J. Plasma Phys. (2015), vol. 81, 905810610, doi:10.1017/S0022377815001415, 2015.
  • Lyman-alpha radiation pressure in the heliosphere: Results from a 3D Monte-Carlo radiative transfer simulation, by B. Fayock, G.P. Zank, J. Heerikhuisen, C.R. Gilbert, and K. Scherer, Proc. 14th Annual Int. Astrophysics Conf., Tampa, Open Access Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS), ed. G.P. Zank, 642, 012007 doi:10.1088/1742-6596/642/1/012007 (2015).
  • Energetic ion acceleration by small-scale flux ropes, by J.A. le Roux, G.M. Webb, G.P. Zank, and O. Khabarova, Proc. 14th Annual Int. Astrophysics Conf., Tampa, Open Access Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS), ed. G.P. Zank, 642, 012015 doi:10.1088/1742-6596/642/1/012015 (2015).
  • Dynamical small-scale magnetic islands as a source of local acceleration of particles in the solar wind, by O.V. Khabarova, G.P. Zank, Gang Li, J.A. le Roux, G.M. Webb, O.E. Malandraki, and V.V. Zharkova, Proc. 14th Annual Int. Astrophysics Conf., Tampa, Open Access Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS), ed. G.P. Zank, 642, 012033 doi:10.1088/1742-6596/642/1/012033(2015).
  • Anisotropies in TeV Cosmic Rays Related to the IBEX Ribbon, by N. A. Schwadron, P. Frisch, F. C. Adams, E. Christian, P. Desiati, H. O. Funsten, J. R. Jokipii, D.J. McComas, E. Moebius, and G. Zank, ASTRA Proceedings, in press (2015).
  • The transport of low-frequency turbulence in the super-Alfvenic solar wind, by L. Adhikari, G.P. Zank, R. Bruno, D. Telloni, P. Hunana, A. Dosch, R. Marino, and Q. Hu, Proc. 14th Annual Int. Astrophysics Conf., Tampa, Open Access Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS), ed. G.P. Zank, 642, 012001 doi:10.1088/1742-6596/642/1/012001 (2015).
  • Particle acceleration by combined diffusive shock acceleration and downstream multiple magnetic island acceleration, by G P Zank, P Hunana, P Mostafavi, J A le Roux, Gang Li, G M Webb, and O Khabarova, Proc. 14th Annual Int. Astrophysics Conf., Tampa, Open Access Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS), ed. G.P. Zank, 642, 012031 doi:10.1088/1742-6596/642/1/012031 (2015).
  • Heerikhuisen, J., Zirnstein, E. J., Funsten, H. O., Pogorelov, N. V., and Zank, G. P., The effect of new interstellar medium parameters on the heliosphere and energetic neutral atoms from the interstellar boundary, Astrophysical Journal, 784, 73 (2014).
  • Zirnstein, E. J., Heerikhuisen, J., Zank, G. P., Pogorelov, N. V., McComas, D. J., and Desai, M. I., Charge-exchange coupling between pickup ions across the heliopause and its effect on energetic neutral hydrogen flux, Astrophysical Journal, 783, 129 (2014).
  • Neergaard Parker, L., Zank, G. P., and Hu, Q. Particle acceleration at quasi-perpendicular shock waves: Theory and observations at 1 AU, Astrophysical Journal, 782, 52 (2014).
  • Schwadron, N. A., Adams, F. C., Christian, E. R., Desiati, P., Frisch, P., Funsten, H. O., Jokipii, J. R., McComas, D. J., Moebius, E., and Zank, G. P., Global anisotropies in TeV cosmic rays related to the Sun’s local galactic environment from IBEX, Science, 343, 988 (2014).