Gurbax Lakhina
Gurbax Lakhina

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Nonlinear Geophysics focus group and Space Physics and Aeronomy section have awarded the Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize to Gurbax S. Lakhina, the former director of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, India.

Gurbax Lakhina has carried out cutting-edge research on coherent chorus wave interaction with radiation belt electrons, nonlinear boundary layer waves in space plasmas, microstructure of the interplanetary medium, and space weather.

Lakhina’s major contribution to radiation belt physics include development of a theory for a nonlinear coherent cyclotron interaction between electromagnetic whistler mode chorus and energetic electrons, showing that chorus has circularly magnetic polarization at all angles of propagation relative to the ambient magnetic field and that the waves change from a highly coherent nature at the source location into quasi-coherent waves with propagation.  His work on pitch angle transport with coherent waves will impact the fields of space plasma physics, laboratory fusion, and astrophysics.

Gurbax Lakhina has made a seminal contribution to the generation mechanism for electrostatic solitary waves (ESWs) in terms of ion- and electron-acoustic solitons and double layers. Gurbax has made fundamental contributions in identifying the interplanetary causes of intense and superintense magnetic storms, including the classic  work on the 1859 Carrington superstorm and on clarifying  the physics of the mirror mode structures occurring in planetary magnetosheaths and the magnetic decreases  that occur in interplanetary space.

Gurbax Lakhina is an eminent space plasma physicist. He has promoted space science both within India and internationally with other developing countries. He has acted as a mentor to many young researchers in India and other third-world countries, inspiring them both by his instruction and by his example.  He is truly worthy of the 2015 AGU Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize.

—Abraham C.-L. Chian, National Institute of Space Research, São José dos Campos, Brazil; and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia


I am delighted and greatly honored to receive 2015 AGU Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize.  I would like to thank AGU, the Nonlinear Geophysics focus group and Space Physics and Aeronomy section award committee, and my nominators/supporters for this exceptional honor.  I particularly thank Professor Abraham Chian for nominating me.  Abe is a brilliant nonlinear plasma wave and chaos researcher who has given the field many new insightful concepts.

I thankfully acknowledge the contribution of Bruce Tsurutani (Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/California Institute of Technology), Jolene Pickett (University of Iowa), and Olga Verkhoglyadova (JPL) toward my research on chorus and ESWs. Without their important experimental inputs, it would not have been possible to develop the theory for resonant coherent chorus interaction with energetic electrons, a new concept for energetic particle scattering with far-reaching applications, further than just space plasma physics.

I would like to thank my group members at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, R. V. Reddy, Satyavir Singh, Sukti Ghosh, and Amar Kakad, along with  Frank Verheest (Ghent University, Belgium),  Ramesh Bharuthram (University of Western Cape, South Africa), and Shimul Maharaj (South African National Space Agency) for their excellent long-term collaboration toward developing theoretical models for the observed electrostatic solitary waves in the Earth’s magnetosphere by Cluster and also their application to dusty plasmas.

I am indebted to Bimla Buti (India), my Ph.D. supervisor, Karl Schindler (Germany), and all my collaborators and thank them for contributing toward my scientific and personal growth.

I thank my parents for encouraging me to obtain a higher education.  I particularly thank my wife, Raj Lakhina,  for her undying support of me  throughout our married life and  my children,  Vanisha and  Abhishek,  for their  love and  moral support.

Finally, I would like to encourage young scientists to enter the fields of nonlinear plasma waves and nonlinear geophysics.  “Go nonlinear young man (and woman)!”

—Gurbax Lakhina, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, India

Citation: AGU (2015), Lakhina receives 2015 Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO035609. Published on 21 September 2015.

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