The 2014 Julius Bartels Medal is awarded to Rumi Nakamura for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of the complex plasma physical processes within the magnetosphere and the magnetotail of the Earth through all phases of the substorm cycle.
Rumi Nakamura from the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz is honoured with the 2014 Julius Bartels Medal for her most outstanding contributions to our current understanding of solar-terrestrial relations, in particular the understanding of the dynamics of the terrestrial magnetosphere and ionosphere and the coupling between the two domains, particularly during the substorm cycle.
The most significant research contributions that Nakamura has made during her career to date are broad and numerous, but centre in the study of the plasma flow and electromagnetic field configuration in the Earth’s magnetotail during substorm periods, and of the coupling to the ionosphere and its conjugate signatures. Using, first, single spacecraft data from the Geotail mission and, later, multi-spacecraft data from the Cluster, Double Star and Themis missions, Nakamura observationally confirmed the theoretical prediction that Earth-ward moving fast flows in the plasma sheet of the magnetotail are bubbles of low-density lobe-type plasma, accompanied by dipolarisation fronts. Nakamura was also able to determine the spatial extent and exact shape of these dipolarisation fronts and showed that, at their meridional flanks, field-aligned currents flow into and out of the ionosphere, consistent with a dawn-to-dusk polarisation electric field in the bubbles.
Nakamura’s publication list consists of about 270 refereed articles cited more than 4500 times. The impact of these studies has been widely recognised throughout Nakamura’s career. Already in 1998, in her early career, Nakamura received a NASA group achievement award for her work on global geospace science investigations. In 2005, Nakamura was chosen as Woman Researcher of the Month by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, and also received the Tanakadate Award from the Japanese Society of Geomagnetism, Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences.