“Eugene Parker, ‘legendary figure’ in solar science and namesake of Parker Solar Probe, 1927-2022”, UChicago News by Louise Lerner

March 16, 2022

Eugene Parker, University of Chicago Prof. Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Photo by John Zich/University of Chicago)

Prof. Emeritus Eugene N. Parker, a pioneering astrophysicist whose contributions to solar physics were so enormous that NASA named its Parker Solar Probe mission after him, died March 15. He was 94.

Parker was internationally known for proposing the concept of the solar wind—an idea that was first met with skepticism, and even outright ridicule. The theory was later proven to be correct, reshaping our picture of space and the solar system. Parker went on to revolutionize the field of astrophysics, unraveling the complex physics behind magnetic fields in space and the dynamics of plasma.

In August 2018, at the age of 91, he became the first person to witness the launch of their namesake spacecraft.

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