Parker was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1989. Image credit: Janandd
Eugene Parker is an American astrophysicist that has dedicated his life’s work to understanding the elusive and volatile nature of our Sun. His work as a professor at the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, where he still currently resides, changed the way we see the influential ball of burning gas that sits at the centre of our Solar System. Parker’s accomplishments in the field are the reason why NASA have named the 2018 Solar Probe after him, making it the first time the organisation have named a spacecraft after a living individual.
Born on 10 June 1927 in Houghton, Michigan, United States, Parker also received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Michigan State University in 1948. He then went on to gain his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1951, and before long he was teaching at the University of Utah. It was in 1955 where his extensive and fruitful career at the Enrico Fermi Institute began.
In 1958, Parker presented a paper titled “Dynamics of the interplanetary Gas and Magnetic Fields”. This paper suggested that stars, including ...