Eugene Parker, an impressive astrophysicist, has died at the age of 94

Eugene Parker, a pioneering American astrophysicist whose mathematical prediction made it unbelievable that particles charged by stars in an solar wind were finally confirmed, died at the age of 94, NASA said Wednesday. Parker was considered an auditor who laid the foundations for understanding the interactions between heliophysics, the Sun and the Earth, and the Solar System, including space weather.

In 2018, Parker was the first person to see the launch of a spacecraft named after him, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.

“We were saddened to learn that one of the greatest scientific leaders and leaders of our time has passed away,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. Parker died Tuesday at the University of Chicago, according to his longtime academic residence.

“Gene Parker was a legendary figure in our field; his vision of the Sun and the solar system was very advanced,” added Angela Olinto, dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago.

Born in Michigan on June 10, 1927, Parker graduated with a degree in physics from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Caltech, then taught at the University of Utah in 1955 before settling in UChicagon.

He began to study the temperature of the Sun’s corona, and his calculations showed that the conditions must have created a supersonic flow of particles from the surface.

At first the idea was met with skepticism, as well as ridicule.

‘Absolutely nonsense’

“The first reviewer of the paper said,‘ Well, I would recommend Parker to go to the library and read about it before I try to write an article about it, because this is utter nonsense, ”Parker told UChicago News. 2018.

His idea was published in the Astrophysical Journal when the editor and future Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar realized that he could not find flaws in Parker’s mathematics, and he overcame the objections of both evaluators.

The correct theory was proven in 1962, when NASA’s Mariner II spacecraft flew to Venus when it encountered a particle stream called the solar wind.

Scientists now know that the solar wind covers all the planets, protects them from harmful radiation, but sometimes disrupts communications on Earth when solar flares occur.

Parker also proposed the idea of ​​”nanoflares” – small solar flares that occur all over the sun – which are responsible for the heated corona. The corona is hotter than the surface itself, an event that could not be explained by the popular physics of the time.

He researched cosmic rays, the magnetic field of galaxies, and many other topics, and won numerous awards, including the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Kyoto Prize, the Crafoord Prize, and the American Physical Society Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research.

“Anyone who knew Dr. Parker knew he was an auditor,” said Nicola Fox, director of NASA’s heliophysics division.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, named after Parker, was launched in 2018, closer than the first spacecraft orbiting the Sun.

It has already sent valuable data to theorize that new discoveries about space weather and the Sun’s radiation have been theorized to detect in a long field the evaporation of all cosmic dust.

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