May 4, 2021 — Dr. Stephen Fuselier, executive director of Southwest Research Institute’s Space Science Directorate, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
NAS membership is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. With this distinction, Fuselier was also elected to the Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) as well. TAMEST is composed of the Texas-based members of the three national academies — of medicine, engineering and sciences — the Royal Society and the state’s 11 Nobel Laureates.
Fuselier was among 120 engineers and scientists elected this year to NAS, which has 2,461 active members. Notable past members include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Orville Wright. Approximately 500 current and deceased Academy members have won Nobel Prizes.
“This is a great honor for Stephen and a great honor for Southwest Research Institute,” said Dr. Jim Burch, vice president of SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division. “Stephen’s research has contributed vastly to a better understanding of the solar wind, magnetic reconnection and auroras.”
Fuselier, who joined SwRI in 2011, is well known for fundamental contributions to understanding the physics of the interactions of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetosphere, comets and the interstellar medium. He holds key positions on several NASA missions, including coinvestigator for the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), coinvestigator and sensor lead for the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission, and coinvestigator and lead for the Hot Plasma Composition Experiment (HPCA) instrument for the SwRI-led Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission. He is also coinvestigator for the Twin Rocket Investigation of Cusp Electrodynamics (TRICE) and deputy principal investigator for the Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS) missions. He also contributed to prior missions, serving as coinvestigator for the SwRI-led Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission and as lead U.S. coinvestigator for the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA), an instrument onboard ESA’s Rosetta mission.
Fuselier has authored or coauthored more than 460 papers published in scientific journals and conference proceedings. He has received several honors during his 35-year career, including the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal in 1995 and the European Geosciences Union Hannes Alfvén Medal in 2016.
Fuselier holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree and doctorate in physics from the University of Iowa.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honor society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology for the general welfare. Established in 1863, NAS has served to “investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science or art” whenever called up to do so by the government.