Roberto Bruno

AGU and the Nonlinear Geophysics and Space Physics and Aeronomy sections have awarded the Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize to Roberto Bruno, senior researcher at Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali (IAPS-INAF) in Rome, Italy.

Bruno carried out important innovative studies on turbulence in the solar wind that provided the scientific community with a better and more accurate phenomenological description of this phenomenon, from macro to micro scales. This represented a relevant starting point for theoretical models dealing with turbulence and particle transport in the solar wind.

Bruno’s work stimulated the idea that solar wind turbulence is a mere mixing of Alfvénic fluctuations of solar/local origin and structures advected by the wind. This was a “middle way” between the waves description of Belcher and Davis (1971) and the turbulence description of Coleman (1968).

A comprehensive analysis of Helios spacecraft data highlighted the differences between inward and outward propagating fluctuations, fundamental bricks of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence. New findings were obtained from the study of local generation and radial evolution of turbulence in the inner heliosphere.

The adoption of numerical tools, typical of a dynamical systems approach to turbulence, allowed Bruno to get deeper into the nature of solar wind fluctuations, unraveling the presence of magnetically dominated advected structures related to the filamentary nature of the turbulence.

Further developments in the direction of linking fluid to kinetic scales addressed various aspects related to solar wind heating and kinetic studies, reconsidering the role of the cyclotron-resonant dissipation mechanism.

In addition to his extremely relevant scientific work, Bruno has been active in student tutoring, having exceptional mentoring skills, and coauthored a very popular review on solar wind turbulence, particularly appreciated by students.

—Francesco Malara and Gaetano Zimbardo, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy


I am deeply honored to receive the 2018 AGU Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize.

I warmly thank Gaetano Zimbardo and Francesco Malara, excellent nonlinear waves and turbulence investigators at the University of Calabria (Italy), for nominating me.

I am much indebted to those colleagues who supported my nomination and to the members of the prize committee who selected my name.

Special thanks go to Bruno Bavassano, with whom I investigated the turbulent character of solar wind fluctuations for many years and to whom I am indebted from the scientific and human point of view.

I thank Vincenzo Carbone, with whom I wrote also a very popular review on solar wind turbulence much appreciated by students, and my colleagues at the space plasma group at IAPS-INAF. I also would like to acknowledge very stimulating collaborations with Raffaele Marino (École Centrale de Lyon), Luca Sorriso-Valvo (University of Calabria), and Daniele Telloni (Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, INAF), younger colleagues whose enthusiasm and dedication to science were fundamental to studying new and fascinating aspects of the nonlinear properties of solar wind fluctuations.

I heartily thank my mentors: my thesis supervisors, Franco Mariani and Umberto Villante, with whom I shared the enthusiasm of pioneering analyses on Helios observations of the inner heliosphere, and Leonard Burlaga, who welcomed me at Goddard Space Flight Center to work on Voyager observations of the outer heliosphere. Now, toward the end of my career, I look forward to Solar Orbiter Solar Wind Analyzer data, and I thank Chris Owen for putting together such a great international team.

Dulcis in fundo, I would like to share this award with my wife, Adelina, who too many times through the years had to ask me, “Are you coming home for dinner tonight? Yes or not?!” and with my children, Alessandro, Francesco, and Maria, with whom I should have spent much more time indeed. Without the great support of my family, I would not be receiving this great honor.

—Roberto Bruno, Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, INAF, Rome, Italy


(2018), Bruno receives 2018 Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize, Eos, 99, Published on 30 November 2018.

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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