Dr. Gary Zank

Director of CSPAR Aerojet-Rocketdyne Chair in Space Science, Eminent Scholar, Trustee Professor


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 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.

Dr. Gary Zank received the NASA Silver Achievement Medal, in recognition of the Parker Solar Probe team in November of 2019. 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
  • M.S., University of Natal, South Africa, 1983
  • B.S., University of Natal, South Africa, 1982

Classes Taught

Recent Grants & Contracts

  • Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation for Solar Probe Plus (735274)
    Role: PI
    Source: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory SV4-84017 (Johns Hopkins #975569)
    Period: 3/15/2014 – 9/30/2025
    Amount: $574,781
  • Supporting Science for the Interstellar Boundary (IBEX) (735350)
    Role: PI
    Program: Princeton University SUB0000167 (NASA – 80NSSC18K0237
    Period: 10/1/2016 – 11/30/2020
    Amount: $157,000
  • RII-Track-1: CPU2AL: Connecting the Plasma Universe Technology in AL (735354)
    Role: PI
    Program: NSF EPSCoR OIA – 1655280
    Period: 09/01/2017 – 08/31/2022
    Amount: $20,000,000
  • Collaborative Research: Turbulence, Structures, and Diffusive Shock Acceleration (735355)
    Role: PI
    Program: NSF DOE PHY – 1707247
    Period: 08/01/2017 – 07/31/2021
    Amount: $300,000

Selected Publications

  • Turbulence Transport Modeling and First Orbit Parker Solar Probe (PSP) Observations, by L. Adhikari, G. P. Zank, L.-L. Zhao, et al., ApJS, 246:38 (12pp), doi:10.3847/1538-4365/ab5852 (2020).
  • Identification of Small-scale Magnetic Flux Ropes from PSP Observations during the First Encounter, by L.-L. Zhao, G. P. Zank, L. Adhikari, et al., ApJS, 246:26, (10pp), doi:10.3847/1538-4365/ab4ff1 (2020).
  • Alfvénic velocity spikes and rotational flows in the near-Sun solar wind, by J.C. Kasper, et al., Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1813-z (2019).
  • Theory and Transport of Nearly Incompressible Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence. IV. Solar Coronal Turbulence, by G.P. Zank, L. Adhikari, P. Hunana, S.K. Tiwari, R. Moore, D. Shiota, R. Bruno, and D. Telloni, ApJ, 854:32 (18pp), doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaa763 (2018).
  • Theory and Transport of Nearly Incompressible Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence, by G.P. Zank, L. Adhikari, P. Hunana, D. Shiota, R. Bruno, and D. Telloni, ApJ, 835:147 (30pp), doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/147 (2017).
  • 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, et al., Space Sci Rev., doi:10.1007/s11214-015-0206-3 (2016).
  • Modeling Particle Acceleration and Transport at a 2D CME-Driven Shock, by Junxiang Hu, Gang Li, Xianzhi Ao, G.P. Zank, and O. Verkhoglyadova, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122., doi:10.1002/2017JA024077 (2017).
  • Particle Acceleration via Reconnection Processes in the Supersonic Solar Wind, by G.P. Zank, J.A. le Roux, A. Dosch, and O. Khabarova, ApJ, 797:28, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/797/1/28 (2014).
  • G.P. Zank, Faltering Steps into the Galaxy: the Boundary Regions of the Heliosphere, Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 53, 449 - 500, doi:10.2246/annurev-astro-082214-122254 (2015).
  • G.P. Zank, J. Heerikhuisen, B. Wood, N.V. Pogorelov, E. Zirnstein, and D. McComas, Heliospheric Structure and the Existence of a Bow Shock, ApJ, 763:20, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/763/1/20 (2013).
  • G.P. Zank, et al., Microstructure of the heliospheric termination shock: Implications for energetic neutral atom observations, The Astrophysical Journal, 708, Issue 2 1092-1106 doi:10.1088/0004-637X/708/2/1092 (2010).
  • Particle acceleration at coronal mass ejection driven shocks: A theoretical model by G.P. Zank, W.K.M. Rice, and C.C. Wu, The Journal of Geophysical Research (Space), 105, A11, 25,079-25,095 (2000).
  • Modelling the interaction of the solar wind with the local interstellar medium: A theoretical perspective by G.P. Zank, Space Science Reviews, 89, 3-4, 1-275 (1999).
  • The radial and latitudinal dependence of the cosmic ray diffusion tensor in the heliosphere by G.P. Zank, W.H. Matthaeus, J.W. Bieber, and H. Moraal, The Journal of Geophysical Research (Space), 103, 2085-2097 (1998).
  • Evolution of Turbulent Magnetic Fluctuation Power with Heliospheric Distance by G.P. Zank, W.H. Matthaeus and C.W. Smith, The Journal of Geophysical Research (Space), 101, 17,093-17,107 (1996).