About the Award

The Arctowski Medal is presented every two years to recognize outstanding contributions to the study of solar physics and solar terrestrial relationships. The Medal is presented with an award of $100,000, plus $100,000 to support research in solar physics and solar terrestrial relationships at an institution of the recipient’s choice. The Arctowski Medal was established in 1958 by the bequest of Jane Arctowska in honor of her husband, Henryk Arctowski. Nominations are being accepted now for the 2025 Medal.

David J. McComas, Princeton University, received the 2023 Arctowski Medal.

McComas has made seminal contributions through innovative mission and instrumentation development that have benefited and supported the entire scientific community and led ground-breaking observations, analysis, and discovery of fundamental physics of the heliosphere and the very local interstellar medium, the solar wind, and the Earth’s and other planetary magnetospheres.

By developing new instrumentation and missions, taking measurements with novel techniques and of previously unexplored regions of the solar system, and innovatively analyzing and publishing these observations, McComas has made numerous and wide-ranging discoveries that have significantly advanced our knowledge and understanding of the global structure and evolution of the solar wind and revolutionized our understanding of its interaction with the local interstellar medium (LISM).

2023 Arctowski Medal, McComas social

He has led or leads the TWINS, IBEX, and IMAP NASA missions as well as space instruments for numerous other missions including the Parker Solar Probe, the ACE composition explorer, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, Juno to Jupiter, and Cassini to Saturn.

McComas’ contributions include a deep commitment to international collaboration and dedication to mentoring and training the next generation of space physics explorers.

Watch McComas’ acceptance speech.

Award History

The Arctowski Medal was established in 1958 by the bequest of Jane Arctowska in honor of her husband, Henryk Arctowski, a Polish scientist and explorer and international renowned meteorologist. The medal was first awarded in 1969 to J. Paul Wild in recognition of his many and comprehensive contributions to solar radio astronomy.

Previous recipients of the Arctowski Medal continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. One recipient, Eugene Parker, has been honored with a National Medal of Science and was the first living person to have a NASA spacecraft named after him.


Most Recent Recipient
David J. McComas, 2023 Arctowski Medal.
David J. McComas
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Dana W. Longcope
Michelle F. Thomsen
Mats Carlsson and Viggo Hansteen
Alexander J. Dessler
John T. Gosling
John W. Harvey