College of Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

Rumi Nakamura headshot

Rumi Nakamura
Austrian Academy of Sciences and a private lecturer at Karl-Franzens University of Graz

Primary Affiliation: Space Physics and Aeronomy

Earth's magnetosphere is an area of space that is controlled by the Earth’s dipole magnetic field. It is filled with plasmas, which are ionized gas consisting of ions and electrons. Its shape is formed due to interaction with solar wind, which is magnetic field and plasma flowing from the sun.  Like the weather in the atmosphere, the sun drives a variety of changes in the environment condition of magnetosphere and atmosphere, which we call “space weather". The impacts of a severe space weather event can be disturbances to satellite navigation or threats on technology on Earth or near-Earth space, but also the spectacular auroras in the high latitude region. While the magnetosphere can mostly shield the magnetic field and plasma flow from accessing close the Earth and thereby protecting the Earth from harmful radiation, a part of the solar wind energy, momentum and  mass commonly penetrates inside the magnetosphere due to a process called magnetic reconnection. 

Dr. Rumi Nakamura is a group leader at the Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences and a private lecturer at Karl-Franzens University of Graz with habilitation (qualification as a professor).   

Her main research area is space plasma physics based on data analysis from satellites and ground-based measurements. She studied plasma transport and acceleration in the magnetosphere, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, solar wind magnetosphere interaction, substorm and storm dynamics. She is participating in a number of ESA and NASA magnetospheric spacecraft missions such as Cluster, Double Star, THEMIS, BepiColombo and SMILE as Co-Investigator and is leading the Active Spacecraft Potential Control (ASPOC) on MMS mission. 

Her educational training was at the University of Tokyo, Japan. After receiving her PhD in Geophysics in 1990, she worked as post-doc at National Institute of Polar Research, Japan and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, US, as assistant Professor at the Nagoya University, Japan, and as senior scientist at Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany, before taking the group leader position at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2001.  

She is the author or co-author of more than 480 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She is a ISI Most-Cited Scientist, Geosciences, top 1% 1997-2007. She was awarded the Japanese Geoscience Award, the "Tanakadate Award" in 2008 and the Julius Bartels Medal from European Geosciences Union in 2014. She is a Fellow of AGU since 2018 and Corresponding Member of Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2019.  She served as member of ESA Solar System Working Group and Senior Committee of ESA Voyage 2050 Programme and is serving as a Board of Trustees member for the International Academy of Astronautics since 2017. She is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea.