Earth and planetary scientist Gary Glatzmaier elected to National Academy of Sciences

Gary Glatzmaier, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer in the United States.

Gary Glatzmaier joins 13 other UCSC faculty who are members of the National Academy of Sciences. (Photo: Jim MacKenzie)
The honor is one of several that UC Santa Cruz faculty have received in recent weeks, including:

. Four UCSC professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences (More)

. UC Santa Cruz professors Nathaniel Mackey, literature, and Anna Tsing, anthropology, receive Guggenheim Fellowships (Mackey), (Tsing)

. Other recent awards (More)

Gary Glatzmaier joins 13 other UCSC faculty who are members of the academy. This new honor comes on the heels of his election last week to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (see earlier story).

"These back-to-back honors recognize Gary's pathbreaking research accomplishments," said UCSC chancellor George Blumenthal. "He is joining a very select group, and I am delighted to extend my congratulations."

"Gary Glatzmaier has done simply amazing work for over three decades," said Paul Koch, professor and chair of Earth and planetary sciences. "His computer models simulate complicated processes in the Sun, in the Earth's outer core and atmosphere, and on other planets, helping us to gain a deeper understanding of places that are impossible or difficult to observe directly. It is spectacular news that his colleagues in the National Academy of Sciences have decided to recognize the exceptional quality of his work."

Glatzmaier is a leading authority on the Earth's magnetic field and the geodynamo in Earth's core that maintains it. He has developed a series of sophisticated computer models to study the structure and dynamics of the interiors of planets and stars. The first in this series of models was used to study the interior of the Sun. Glatzmaier has also simulated convection and magnetic field generation in the deep interiors of giant gas planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

Earth's magnetic field is generated by the motion of the fluid outer core, which surrounds a solid inner core. Glatzmaier produced the first dynamically-consistent computer simulations of this geodynamo. His models help explain reversals of the Earth's magnetic field seen in the geologic record.

Glatzmaier's work has been featured at the American Museum of Natural History, in the NOVA program "Magnetic Storm," and on the covers of publications such as Science, Nature, and Scientific American. A fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he has received several awards for his simulations of the geodynamo, solar physics, and nuclear winter. Glatzmaier earned his B.S. in physics and mathematics from Marquette University and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1998.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the NAS has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government. For more information, or for the full list of newly elected members, visit the NAS web site.