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SwRI’s Burch Receives Rice Distinguished Alumni Award

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SwRI’s Dr. James L. Burch is receiving a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Rice College Laureates Awards Program. Picture Credit score: Southwest Analysis Institute

April 19, 2019 – Rice College is honoring Dr. James L. Burch, vice chairman of Southwest Analysis Institute’s Area Science and Engineering Division, as a distinguished alumnus at its 2019 Laureates Awards ceremony.

“Dr. Burch’s management has been instrumental to the expansion of SwRI’s internationally acknowledged area science and engineering packages,” mentioned SwRI President and CEO Adam L. Hamilton, P.E. “As well as, Jim’s analysis has had, and continues to have, a profound impression on our understanding of the interplay between the photo voltaic wind and Earth’s magnetosphere, which may have an effect on every day life on the planet.”

Burch is a famend experimental area physicist who based the primary area science group at SwRI in 1977. That division, which now consists of 380 workers members, is acknowledged as one of many preeminent area analysis organizations on the planet. He has served on many panels and committees for NASA, the European Area Company, the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union and the American Institute of Physics.

As principal investigator of the present NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, he designed a brand new plasma composition analyzer. The 4 MMS spacecraft fly in formation on the boundary of the Earth’s magnetosphere, performing experiments on magnetic reconnection. This explosive course of converts magnetic vitality to particle vitality and is chargeable for magnetic storms and auroras in addition to photo voltaic flares and quite a few different energetic phenomena all through the universe.

Beforehand, he was principal investigator of the primary medium-class NASA Explorer mission, Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora World Exploration. IMAGE carried out pioneering world, multi-spectral imaging of the Earth’s magnetosphere. He has additionally served as principal investigator for devices on NASA’s Dynamics Explorer spacecraft, the area shuttle and ESA’s Rosetta comet mission.

Burch earned a bachelor’s in physics from St. Mary’s College, a grasp’s in analysis and growth administration from George Washington College and his doctorate in area science from Rice College. Following his service as an officer within the U.S. Military from 1968 to 1971, he joined NASA as an area scientist. He started his profession at SwRI as a senior analysis scientist in 1977. Burch has endowed undergraduate scholarships at Rice.

The Laureates Awards Program, created by the Affiliation of Rice Alumni in 1937, acknowledges extremely distinguished people for extraordinary achievements and contributions to their professions, native communities and the college. The 2019 honorees shall be acknowledged on the Laureates Awards Dinner Could 11 on the River Oaks Nation Membership in Houston.

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