Aug. 14, 2014
Physics Researcher to Receive Award
Chigomezyo Ngwira, a research post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Physics at The Catholic University of America, will receive the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Science for Solutions award in December for his research of geomagnetically induced current (GIC) effects under strong and extreme geomagnetic conditions.
As this year’s recipient, Ngwira will receive the award and present a lecture at the fall meeting of the AGU, which runs from Dec. 15 through 19 in San Francisco.
The AGU gives this honor annually to one student or postdoctoral scientist in recognition of significant contributions in the application and use of the Earth and space sciences to solve societal problems, according to the award citation.
“It is such an honor to be receiving the 2014 Science for Solutions Award,” he says. “I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to the AGU awards and prize selection committees and to the individuals that nominated me for this award. I am blessed to be in an amazing and supportive environment both at CUA and at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.”
A Catholic University research fellow since March 2012, he also serves as a collaborator at the Community Coordinated Modeling Center housed at the Space Weather Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Born in Mazabuka in Zambia’s Southern Province, Ngwira received his doctorate in experimental space physics from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, in April 2012.
He has been involved in GIC modeling studies for the past seven years, and was one of the lead members of the GIC research group in South Africa. In 2011 he was a recipient of the International Union of Radio Science Young Scientist Award and has been the principal author or co-author of more than 16 peer-reviewed scientific articles.
GICs arise in ground-based electrically conducting structures such as pipelines and electrical power grids. When extreme solar storms occur, large amplitude GICs may lead to a failure of high-voltage electric power transformers, which in the worst case can cause a blackout of an electrical power network.
“The work on extreme space weather and GICs is critical for our society, so I am glad that this work is being acknowledged,” Ngwira says.
The AGU is an international non-profit organization whose members include more than 62,000 geophysicists, engineers, and other related professionals from 144 countries.