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Obituary: CAS Academician, Liu Zhenxing
Update time: 2016-03-24
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In Memoriam


With tremendous sorrow in heart, we sadly announce that Prof. LIU Zhenxing passed away on 23 March 2016 in Beijing at the age of 86.

Prof. LIU Zhenxing, Space physicist and academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was born on September 14, 1929 in Changle, Shandong Province. He was professor and PhD supervisor at National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He graduated from Meteorological Department of Nanjing University in 1955 and earned his PhD Degree in the Institute of Geophysics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1961. After graduation, he worked in the following institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Institute of Geophysics, Institute of Applied Geophysics, and National Space Science Center (previously known as Center for Space Science and Applied Research), and was elected the academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1995.

He is one of the pioneers and founders of the magnetospheric physics study and space exploration in China. He has completed prominent research in the field of space science and made substantial achievements, including the turbulentce structure of solar wind, Jupiter's magnetosphere model, magnetospheric substorms, and the theory of magnetic field reconnection, etc.

In 1985, Prof. LIU initiated a mechanism of magnetic field reconnection induced by fluid vortex in velocity shear flow, and has established a theoretical framework of Vortex Induced Reconnection (VIR), which provided a new orientation to the field of magnetic reconnection studies. His studies of the magnetodisc model of Jupiter and the theory of vortex induced reconnection were considered and recognized as groundbreaking scientific achievements and have gained several prizes.

In view of the above outstanding contributions, the committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) decided that the Vikram Sarbhai Medal for the year 2000 was awarded to him.

In 1997, he proposed the Geospace Double Star Program (DSP), which comprises two small satellites operational in near-earth equatorial and polar regions. The program caught the attention of European Space Agency (ESA), who initiated the proposal of cooperation between ESA Cluster Mission and DSP.  After strenuous work from both sides, Double Star/Cluster Mission enabled the first coordinated six-point measurements of the Earth magnetosphere. In 2010, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) decided to award The Laurels for Team Achievement Award to the Double Star/Cluster Team. As the first space science program, DSP laid a solid foundation for future CAS-ESA joint space science mission.

Working in space science field for 60 years, Prof. LIU is rigorous at work and has devoted his heart and soul to the space science endeavor. In addition to his scientific achievements, Prof. LIU is also a respected teacher who paid special attention to nurture the young scientists. Colleagues and friends can always find pleasure in talking with him. His substantial achievements and his noble integrity set examples for the future generations and will be remembered for years to come.

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