Patricia Doherty

Patricia Doherty, a leader in the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for ionospheric research, is the author or coauthor of more than 80 peer-reviewed papers. In addition, she has served as organizer and coconvener of several national and international conferences including the 2012 AGU Chapman Conference on Ionospheric Space Weather: Longitude and Hemispheric Dependences and Lower Atmosphere Forcing. In 2016, she coedited the AGU monograph based on this conference. During this time period, she worked toward the establishment of the African Geospace Society. In honor of her services, she was elected as one of the first Fellows of this union.

Patricia is a strong advocate for the space weather community and has played a vital role in the expansion of space science education and research in developing countries, with a focus on African nations. This has been performed primarily under a partnership between Boston College and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) to host a series of workshops on the use of GNSS for applications with societal benefits and for space science research. Since 2009, annual workshops host approximately 50 participants from countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America. These workshops have increased the number of young scientists studying space science in developing nations and has dramatically increased the publication rate of scientists from these countries.

In summary, Patricia’s outreach to the international space weather community with special devotion to developing countries has had significant impacts in our fields of study. She has been recognized as a leader in many national and international scientific programs with recognitions including Fellow of the Institute of Navigation (ION), Fellow of the African Geospace Society, the ION Weems Award, the ION Distinguished Service Award, and the 2017 GPS World Services Leadership Award for Global Educator.

For all of her efforts, I congratulate Patricia Doherty on receiving the SPARC Award.

—Endawoke Yizengaw, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.


I am greatly honored by the SPARC Award. One of the things I have enjoyed the most during my career has been the outreach activities to scientists and students in developing countries for space science education and research. Even more enjoyable were the experiences and the personal enrichment I have had just getting to know so many great people and scientists from the developing world.

My interests in these efforts were conceived at a G8-UNESCO World Forum that I was fortunate to attend in Italy in 2007. At that forum, leaders from developing nations of Africa described their need for assistance in developing science and technology in their countries, technologies that would lead the way to socioeconomic transformation and integration into the world economy. This theme emerged again later that same year at the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where African scientists discussed their need for training and education to advance their place in the international community of space scientists. These discussions made it obvious how we could make a difference by bringing GNSS training and space science education and research to scientists in these countries.

I am enormously grateful to be recognized by AGU with the SPARC Award. It is much more than a personal award, as there are many who helped make the outreach efforts a success, including colleagues at Boston College, the ICTP, the lecturers who donate their time to teach at the workshops, to our sponsors, and to the participants from developing countries who have attended our workshops. Together we have expanded space science studies to many parts of the developing world and provided many opportunities for international collaborations in space science research.

—Patricia Doherty, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.


(2018), Doherty receives 2018 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach (SPARC) Award, Eos, 99, Published on 27 November 2018.

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Except where otherwise noted, images are subject to copyright. Any reuse without express permission from the copyright owner is prohibited.