Welcome to CWP at UCLA 

86 Eminent Physicists

Search the Archive

Fascinating Documents

AnnotatedPhoto Gallery

In Her Own Words

Some Physics History

500+ Books and Articles

Project Staff

Field Editors

Project Support

Photo Credits

Space Physics

[Photograph of Marcia Neugebauer]

Marcia Neugebauer

Additional Information

Some Important Contributions:

"Mariner 2 Observations of the Solar Wind, 1. Average Properties," (with C. W. Snyder) J. Geophys. Res. 71:4469 (1966)

  • First extensive measurements of the solar wind and discovery of many of it properties. It ha exposition of the average properties of the plasma that flows through the solar system at super-magnetosonic speeds.

"Initial Deceleration of Solar Wind Positive Ions in the Earth's Bow Shock," J. Geophys. Res. 75:717 (1970)
  • As the super-magnetosonic solar wind approaches the Earth, it encounters a shock surface referred to as the bow shock. Neugebauer's paper shows how ions are decelerated at the bow shock. This was an important step in understanding the mechanisms that produce the shock and is important because shocks occur throughout the solar system and presumably the galaxy and beyond.

"Observations of the Internal Structure of the Magnetopause," (with C.T. Russel and E.J. Smith) J. Geophys. Res. 79:499 (1974)
  • The magnetopause is the surface that separates the shocked solar wind from the plasma tied to the the Earth's magnetic field. This paper showed that the magnetopause is a thick boundary of many ion gyroradii in thickness, and changed the theory of the structure of the boundary. The same physics applies for magnetopauses of other planets.

"The Role of Coulomb Collisions in Limiting Differential Flow and Temperature Differences in the Solar Wind," J. Geophys. Res. 81:78 (1976)
  • This work shows that despite the "collisionless" nature of the solar wind, there is evidence that energy equipartition between H+ and He+ proceeds at a rate that can be understood in terms of the Coulomb collision frequency for the two species.

"The Velocity Distributions of Cometary Protons Picked Up by the Solar Wind," (with A. J. Lazarus, H. Balsiger, S. A. Fuselier, F. M. Neubauer and H. Rosenbauer) J. Geophys. Res. 94:5227 (1989)
  • Measured the velocity distributions of ions in the coma of comet Halley.
"Densities and Abundances of Hot Cometary Ions in the Coma of P/Halley," (with R. Goldstein, B. E. Goldstein, S. A. Fuselier, H. Balsiger and W.-H. Ip) Astrophys. J. 372:291 (1991)
  • Measured the mass spectrum of ions in the outer coma of comet Halley.


NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, 1970
Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1989
Editor-in-Chief, Reviews of Geophysics, 1989-92
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 1993
President, American Geophysical Union, 1994-1996
NASA Distinguished Service Medal, 1997
Ph.D. (honorary) University of New Hampshire, 1998
Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Award for Space Sciences, 1998


1956-96 Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
1996-    Distinguished Visiting Scientist, JPL


BA with Honors in Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1954
MS in Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 1956

Sources and References consulted:

Marcia Neugebauer, [psp1997Ne]

Additional Information/Comments:

As well as being a member of numerous other committees, Neugebauer served as the Chair of The National Research Council Committee on Solar and Space Physics, from 1990-1994, which produced an influential report recommending the major directions for space physics research from 1994-2004. [Ne97]

During her time at JPL, Neugebauer was project/study scientist for cometary, planetary, and solar missions. She was involved in many of the working groups at JPL, either as member, vice-chairman, or co-chairman.

Though she did not receive a Ph.D. by the standard educational track, she was able to proceed to a productive and distinguished career and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Physics in 1998 by the University of New Hampshire.

She is married to Gary Neugebauer and they have two children.

See "Pioneers of Space Physics: A career in the solar wind"

Field Editor: Margaret Kivelson


Copyright © CWP and Regents of the University of California 1997 - 2001

To cite this citation:
" Neugebauer, Marcia." CWP < home >


latest revision {4/30/97 mjw} 3/16/01 nb