The Alexander Chizhevsky Medal 2018

Doctor. Christina Kay

Dr. Christina Kay of the Catholic University of America and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is the recipient of this year’s Alexander Chizhevsky Medal. The medal is awarded to a young researcher for outstanding achievements in space weather or space climate with an innovative approach.

Dr. Kay is receiving this medal in recognition of several accomplishments. She has developed and implemented innovative models to improve the forecast of coronal mass ejection impacts, starting with their early propagation in the lower solar corona, extending out to their detection in the solar wind. These are described in a series of well-known papers. However, she also recognized the importance of validation and characterization of a model to make it operational, so that it can be used by forecasters. For this purpose, she spearheaded efforts to implement and test these new space weather model forecasting technologies.

Another of Dr. Kay’s contributions is her investigations into the role of CME impacts affecting exoplanets. Just as coronal mass ejections affect planets in our own solar system, there is a growing respect for the role of space weather in determining habitability in other planetary systems.

It is noteworthy that space weather and exoplanet studies continue the legacy of Alexander Chizhevsky. As the founder of the field of “heliobiology,” Chizhevsky dedicated much of his researchtounderstandingtheimpactoftheSunonEarthandbiologicalsystems. Thereisno doubt that he would have been fascinated by the new exoplanet studies, as we attempt to extend our knowledge of solar space weather to understand the implications for life in other star systems.