Dec. 1, 2010 — The American Physical Society has conferred the distinction of Fellow to Dr. David J. McComas, assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®).
The Fellow distinction recognizes outstanding contributions to physics and is limited to one-half of one percent of APS membership. McComas was selected for "his pioneering discoveries of the structure of the plasma heliosphere and the interaction of the solar system plasma with the interstellar medium, and for numerous significant contributions to design of missions and instrumentation leading to these discoveries."
Since joining SwRI in 2000, McComas has helped lead SwRI's overall space science program, and currently serves as principal investigator of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and Two Wide-angle Imaging Neutral-atom Spectrometers (TWINS) missions. He also is principal investigator for space science instruments on numerous other NASA missions, including two new instruments for NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission, scheduled to launch in 2018.
In November 2010, McComas was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee. NAC advises the NASA administrator on programs and issues of importance to the agency. The NAC Science Committee supports the advisory needs of the NASA administrator and NASA mission directorates on Earth and space science-related programs, projects, activities and facilities.
McComas is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, holds six patents and is an author of 400 refereed scientific papers and numerous other publications covering a range of space physics research including coronal, solar wind, heliospheric, magnetospheric, cometary and planetary topics, as well as numerous space flight instruments and techniques.
He received the APS Fellowship at the society's Division of Plasma Physics meeting in November.
For more information, contact Maria Stothoff (210) 522-3305, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.