Toshi Nishimura Wins the James B. Macelwane Medal

Nishimura Joins ECE with Research Momentum

By Amy Pollard (GRS, ’19)

Toshi Nishimura wins Macelwane Medal
Image captured from the International Space Station in 2012 to show of Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean. Credit: NASA


Research Associate Professor Toshi Nishimura

Toshi Nishimura joins ECE and the Center for Space Physics as Research Associate Professor and brings unique expertise and insight to the Department. Dr. Nishimura received the James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December for his research on substorms, a sudden brightening of aurora in the night sky.

Dr. Nishimura’s substorms research earned recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony. He is one of five individuals to receive the 2016 James B. Macelwane Medal on December 12, 2016 in San Francisco, California. Dr. Nishimura’s work has been called “paradigm shifting” and has inspired the geospace research community to seek innovative new ways of studying substorms, a process in which beautiful auroras are born out of the movement of plasma from the magnetopause to the magnetotail and inner magnetosphere.

Dr. Nishimura, who holds a PhD from Tohoku University and most recently worked as an associate researcher at UCLA, now brings his research and expertise to the ECE community. Signal processing, a key element of Dr. Nishimura’s research using imaging and radars, will be covered in his Fall 2017 course Signals and Systems (EC401), where he plans to show examples of signal processing applications. He will also continue to mentor and train students.

“Students played key roles in my research,” says Dr. Nishimura. “I have supervised eight graduate students and two undergraduate students, many of whom became very successful. In my group, students are not just helping supervisor’s research, but they lead their own works and become front-runners in their areas.”

The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit, professional organization that offers scholarly publications, conferences and outreach programs for the purpose of advancing the earth and space sciences. The prestigious James B. Macelwane Medal, which is awarded annually, recognizes early career scientists for outstanding contributions to the geophysical sciences. The medal was established in 1961 and renamed in 1986 to honor former AGU president James Macelwane, renowned for his contributions to geophysics and his mentorship of young scientists.