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Dr. Michelle Thomsen

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Senior Scientist Emeritus

Currently resides in NM
mthomsen [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Earth, Jupiter, Saturn
Missions: Cassini
Mission Roles: Instrument Co-Investigator
Instruments: Plasma spectrometers

Research Interests

Dr. Michelle Thomsen is interested in the structure and dynamics of planetary magnetospheres, with expertise in the analysis and interpretation of magnetospheric plasma measurements.  Her current emphasis is on Cassini/CAPS plasma observations at Saturn and on LANL/MPA measurements from geosynchronous orbit at Earth.

Professional History

Dr. Thomsen received a PhD in Physics in 1977 from the University of Iowa. She was a Visiting Scientist at Max Planck Institut für Aeronomie before she joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1981. She was the Space Physics Team Leader of the LANL Space and Atmospheric Sciences Group and Director of the LANL Center for Space Science and Exploration and NASA Program Manager. She has been Associate Editor of Geophysical Research Letters and a member of the Editorial Board of Space Science Reviews. She has served in numerous capacities for the American Geophysical Union. She has been a member and Chair of numerous NASA committees, including chairing the Sun-Earth Connections Advisory Subcommittee and Earth-Sun Systems Subcommittee and being a member of the Heliophysics Advisory Subcommittee. Dr. Thomsen was Chair of the Panel on Solar-Wind/Magnetospheric Interactions, Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey Committee, National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board, 2011-2012. She joined the permanent science staff of PSI in 2013.

Honors and Awards

1983, 1991, Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, Journal of Geophysical Research
1985, Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Iowa
1992, Honorary Doctorate in Science, Colorado College
1994, Woman of Distinction, Sangre de Cristo Girl Scout Council
1997, Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow
1998, NASA Group Achievement Award, GGS/Polar/TIDE Team
2001, Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

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