Center for Space Science

Passing of Michael J. Thompson

We recently received the very sad news of Michael J. Thompson's untimely passing. Over the last three decades, Michael played a major role in advancing the fields of solar and stellar physics, and helioseismology in particular. Michael has had an outstanding academic career, having served as Deputy Head of the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group at Imperial College London and Head of the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, UK. In 2010, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to become the Director of the High Altitude Observatory and later the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of NCAR, with an interim position as UCAR President.

Michael Thompson was a great friend of the Center for Space Science at New York University, Abu Dhabi. He provided guidance during the critical early years of the center and helped establish the center on firm grounds. Michael was a close colleague and regularly visited the center; we share many fond memories of him. He will be sorely missed and dearly remembered.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his family.

Established in 2015, the Center for Space Science is primarily focused on the study of the internal structure of the Sun and stars through stellar seismology and modeling. A particularly important scientific question the Center seeks to address is the role of rotating convection and large-scale flows in the generation and maintenance of magnetic fields in the Sun and stars.

The Center relies heavily on space observations of solar and stellar oscillations from the NASA spacecrafts Solar Dynamics Observatory and Kepler, and is involved in preparations for the future European Space Agency missions Solar Orbiter and PLATO. The Center is an international collaborative effort between experts in these areas.

The Center is directed by Katepalli Sreenivasan, a university professor at NYU and expert on fluid mechanics and turbulence. The Co-Principal Investigators include Professor Laurent Gizon, director at the Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, a helioseismologist and a leading contributor to the PLATO planet-hunting mission to be launched by the European Space Agency in 2024, and Dr. Shravan Hanasoge, who is a Reader in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India. Dr. Hanasoge works on theoretical and computational aspects of seismology as applied to the Sun, Earth and stars.