Eugene N. Parker

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Eugene N. Parker (2007)

Eugene Newman Parker (born June 10, 1927 in Houghton , Michigan ) is an American astrophysicist .


Parker graduated from Michigan State University (bachelor's degree in 1948) and received his PhD from Caltech in 1951 . He was then an instructor at the University of Utah and from 1953 research assistant to Walter Elsasser in Utah. In 1955 he became research assistant to John Alexander Simpson at the University of Chicago . In 1957 he became assistant professor there and in 1962 professor in the physics faculty and at the Enrico Fermi Institute . In 1967 he moved to the faculty for astronomy and astrophysics. In 1995 he retired.

In 1967 he became a member of the National Academy of Sciences ; In 1970 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

His research mainly concerns the solar wind (Parker introduced this term), the magnetic fields of the earth and the sun and their complex interactions. In 1956 he was one of the developers of the reconnection theory, in 1959 he introduced the English term solar wind and proposed a magnetohydrodynamic theory to describe the solar wind.

The Parker spiral as the form of the heliospheric current layer and the space probe Parker Solar Probe are named after him.


  • Parker, EN: Conversations on electric and magnetic fields in the cosmos , Princeton University Press 2007
  • Parker, EN: Interplanetary dynamic Processes , Interscience 1963
  • Parker, EN: Cosmical Magnetic Fields: Their Origin and Their Activity . Oxford & NY: Clarendon Press, 1979
  • Parker, EN: Spontaneous current sheets in magnetic fields: with applications to stellar x-rays , Oxford University Press 1994
  • Parker, EN: Dynamics of the Interplanetary Gas and Magnetic Fields in: Ap.J. 128: 664-76 (1958).
  • Parker, EN: The Hydrodynamic Theory of Solar Corpuscular Radiation and Stellar Winds in: Ap.J. 132: 821-66 (1960).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jan Mahn: NASA renames first solar mission. In: heise online. Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, June 1, 2017, accessed on August 9, 2018 .
  2. Laudation for the Maxwell Prize: "For seminal contributions in plasma astrophysics, including predicting the solar wind, explaining the solar dynamo, formulating the theory of magnetic reconnection, and the instability which predicts the escape of the magnetic fields from the galaxy.
  3. Crafoord Prize 2020