Michelle Thomsen has been named the American Geophysical Union’s 2019 John Adam Fleming Medal winner.

Thomsen, a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, is honored for her seminal contributions to the understanding of collisionless shocks and the dynamics of the magnetospheres of Earth and the outer planets, and for selfless mentoring of a generation of scientists.

“I am deeply grateful for this award,” Thomsen said. “I regard it not as a personal award, but as a testimony to the power of community in scientific research. I have been privileged to be able to participate in ground-breaking space missions, which were the product of other people’s imagination and hard work. I have also been privileged to work with amazing colleagues, whose knowledge and ideas fed my own work. I am grateful to all of those whose collegiality and unselfishness has enabled such a richly rewarding career.”

Thomsen’s work includes the study of how shock waves operate in space plasmas, as well as the study of the ways in which material from the Sun, the upper atmosphere, and planetary moons is transported and accelerated within planetary magnetospheres. She is particularly interested in comparative magnetospheric studies, which address the relative importance of the same physical process operating in different magnetospheric environments.

The John Adam Fleming Medal is given annually by AGU to one honoree in recognition of original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.

Established in 1960, the Fleming Medal is named in honor of John Adam Fleming, who made important contributions to the establishment of magnetic standards and measurements. Fleming served as AGU officer in a number of positions, including: secretary of the Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity section (1920-1929), Union General Secretary (1925-1947), and honorary president (1947-1956).