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NEWS | Dec. 1, 2014

NRL's Dr. Gurudas Ganguli Honored with E.O. Hulburt Award

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Gurudas Ganguli, Senior Scientist for Intense Charged Particle Beams and Plasma Processes at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has received the 2014 E.O. Hulburt Award. This is the highest award the NRL Commanding Officer can confer on an NRL civilian employee.

Dr. Ganguli is recognized for his exceptional and sustained contribution to the physics of the near-Earth plasma environment, which is of critical Department of Defense (DoD) importance. His scientific breakthroughs in the fundamental plasma processes of wave generation and propagation in an inhomogeneous medium, and their nonlinear evolution into turbulence, have provided the foundation for DoD-relevant applications. Dr. Ganguli has combined scientific prowess and programmatic leadership to develop major space defense applications addressing the survivability of DoD space assets.

In the strategically important field of space and plasma physics, Dr. Ganguli is one of the top researchers in the world. His emphasis is on the radiation belts, a region of significant importance to the Department of Defense. Dr. Ganguli's research activity over the years has focused on the issues related to survivability of critical space assets. He leads basic and applied research related to plasma processes in space and in the laboratory, including beam-plasma interactions, plasma turbulence, dusty plasma dynamics, laser-produced plasma expansion, and high energy density physics created by the hypervelocity impact of small projectiles in space. His scientific breakthroughs have resulted in an improved understanding of the near-Earth space environment and led to the development of two major space defense applications to assure survivability of critical DoD space assets.

Dr. Thomas Mehlhorn, Superintendent of the Plasma Physics Division, says, Dr. Ganguli is a unique and visionary scientist with strong leadership qualities, who can see both the 'forest' as well as the individual 'trees.' He has excelled in fundamental research spread over three decades for which he is internationally recognized. His research has inspired path-breaking laboratory and space experiments worldwide, including in the NRL Space Chamber.

Dr. Ganguli received his bachelor's degree from St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad, India, in 1974 and his doctorate from Boston College in 1980. He came to work at NRL as a contract employee in 1980. Then in 1990, he entered federal employment at NRL as a Research Physicist, and was promoted to his current position, Senior Scientist, in 2012. As Senior Scientist, he conducts and oversees technical research in the areas of plasma stability, plasma turbulence, and orbital debris hazards.

His honors include:
  • Alan Berman Annual Research Publication Awards for 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2013;
  • NRL Edison Patent Award for patent on a technique for de-orbiting small debris from the near-Earth space environment, 2014;
  • Technology Transfer Award, 2010, for Winning the Satellite Program for Instant Depletion of Energetic Radiation (SPIDER) Mission for NRL, Navy, and the Nation;
  • Member of International Panel on Space Situational Awareness, Space Weather and Space Debris Research, COSPAR-12, Mysore, India, July, 2012;
  • Member of International Panel on Observation and Characterization of Space Debris for Orbital Safety, 28th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS), Okinawa, Japan, June 2011;
  • Adjunct Professor of Physics, West Virginia and Auburn Universities;
  • Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics, American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics, 2001-2002; and
  • Fellow of American Physical Society, 1997.
Dr. Ganguli has published 155 articles, holds one patent, and has participated in 98 invited talks at universities, national and international laboratories, and conferences.

The E.O. Hulburt Award was established in December 1955, on the occasion of the retirement of Dr. E. O. Hulburt, NRL's first Director of Research. The establishment of the award expresses, in part, the sincere and high esteem in which Dr. Hulburt was held at NRL, as well as in the scientific community.

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