Back in mid -August of 2018 as a phalanx of reporters and social media attendees awaited the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, we were all given a grand opportunity to listen to and glean a little wisdom from Dr. Eugene Parker, the spacecraft’s namesake. Dr. Parker’s contributions unveiled the supersonic nature of the  Sun’s solar wind, an observation he was at first ridiculed for but eventually was proven correct by the Mariner 2  spacecraft.

This was an unprecedented opportunity and one that was not announced until those in attendance were told to stay for an incredible thirty minutes of wisdom from the 92-year-old astrophysicist.

This rare 30-minute event so far as we know, has never been broadcast in its entirety. NASA indicated they planned to use segments however no other media outlet has offered any of the contents of the event, until now.   

Born on July 10, 1927, Dr. Parker Received his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Michigan State University in 1948, and his PhD. from the California Institute of Technology in 1951. He then spent 4 years at the University of Utah then the University of Chicago form 1955 until present day.

Dr. Parker developed a theory on the supersonic nature of the solar wind and predicted the spiral shape of the solar magnetic field in the outer solar system. His predictions were very controversial in fact two reviewer’s rejected Dr. Parker’s work outright. His theories were later published and in the 1960’s proven by the Mariner 2 Satellite.  Dr. Parker’s work contributed greatly to the understanding of the nature of the solar wind, the solar corona and magnetic fields. 

He is the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago and recipient of the Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research from the American Physical Society.  NASA named the Parker Solar Probe to honor his body of work and is contribution to the field of heliophysics. Dr. Parker is the only living scientist to have a spacecraft named in his honor.

To learn more about Dr. Eugene Parker,  click here.

To learn more about the Parker Solar Probe, click here

Show Host – Gene Mikulka, with Sawyer Rosenstein

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