Asia Oceania Geosciences Society names Zank its sixth honorary member


Dr. Gary Zank is the sixth honorary member selected by the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).

Michael Mercier | UAH

Dr. Gary Zank, chair of the Department of Space Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and director of its Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research, has been named as the sixth-ever honorary member of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).

Honorary members are referred to in the AOGS constitution as "persons whose international standing in geosciences or whose services to the Society are recognized by the Society and elected by the General Meeting."

Dr. Zank is the holder of an AOGS Axford Medal, the highest honor given by the society, an organization equivalent to the American Geophysical Union (AGU). That medal acknowledged his outstanding achievements in geosciences, including planetary and solar system science, as well as unselfish cooperation and leadership in Asia and Oceania. Oceania refers to the broader Pacific Ocean region excluding the Asian region. His receipt of the Axford Medal made him eligible for the honorary membership, which was unopposed.

His Honorary Member Certificate will be presented during the General Assembly at AOGS2017, taking place Aug. 6-11 in Singapore.

"I had not been expecting this," Dr. Zank says. "It is quite an honor to be recognized like this, as one of just six honorary members of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society. I think it is a reflection of my being fortunate to have collaborated with a great many gifted scientists, young and old, from Asia – China, India, Taiwan and Japan especially – and Australia. In this I have been very lucky, and so the elevation to an honorary member is a reflection of all of my wonderful colleagues."

A driving force behind the creation of the university’s Department of Space Science, the South Africa-born Dr. Zank’s research at UAH has included study of the heliosphere, the area of space influenced by the solar wind, and solar weather and plasmas. He has also applied his computational modeling expertise to biologically invasive species and homeland security inquiries.

His scientific and computational interests have encompassed design of space architectures and the missions needed to provide the raw data for such research, as well, including UAH’s role in NASA’s Solar Probe Plus mission, slated for launch in 2018.

"The recognition that Dr. Zank has received in becoming the sixth honorary member of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society is well-deserved," says Dr. Christine Curtis, UAH provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.  "Dr. Zank is a highly accomplished researcher, an exceptional research leader in the field of space science and an outstanding educator who is leading the UAH Space Science Department and highly competitive master’s and Ph.D. programs in Space Science. His work in space science provides tremendous opportunity for current and future students at UAH to work with a leading scientist and be at the forefront of scientific discoveries in space science. We at UAH are very proud to have Dr. Gary Zank as a member of our faculty."