Louis Lanzerotti, Ph.D.

Distinguished Research Professor of Physics

New Jersey Institute of Technology



Louis J. Lanzerotti was born and grew up in Carlinville, Illinois. After serving 2 years
as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and at Bell Laboratories, he joined the
technical staff of ATT Bell Laboratories in 1967. He retired in 2002 and remained a
consultant to Alcatel-Lucent through 2008. In 2002, he was appointed a Distinguished Research Professor of Physics in the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey. He has also served as an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at the University of Florida and as a Regents’ Lecturer at UCLA.

His principal research interests have included space plasmas, geophysics, and engineering problems related to the impacts of atmospheric and space processes and the space environment on space and terrestrial technologies. Much of his research has involved close collaborations with telecommunications service providers on commercial satellite and long-haul (principally transoceanic) cables. His research has also involved geomagnetism, solid earth geophysics, and some oceanography. This research has been applied to design and operations of systems associated with spacecraft and cable operations.

Lanzerotti has conducted geophysical research in the Antarctic and the Arctic since the 1970s, directed largely toward understanding of Earth’s upper atmosphere and space environments. He currently is serving on a Blue Ribbon Panel convened (2011) by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to make recommendations on operational plans for future U.S. science in the Antarctic. He has co-authored one book, co-edited four books, and is an author of more than 500 refereed engineering and science papers. He is founding editor for Space Weather, The International Journal of Research and Applications, published by the American Geophysical Union. He has seven patents issued or filed.

He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on several United States NASA interplanetary and planetary missions including ATS, IMP, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, and Cassini. Currently, he is a principal investigator on the NASA Radiation Belts Storm Probes (RBSP) mission scheduled for an August 2012 launch.

Lanzerotti has also served as a member or chair of numerous committees of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies. In the NRC, committees he has chaired include the Committee to Assess the Safety and Security of Spent Nuclear Fuel; the Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope; the Space Studies Board; the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board; the Decadal Survey of Solar and Space Physics, and the Committee on Electronic Vehicle Controls and Unattended Acceleration. He served on the Vice President’s
Space Policy Advisory Board, 1990-1992. He was nominated in 2004 by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate for a six-year term on the National Science Board, where he chaired the Committee on Science and Engineering Indicators 2006-2010

He has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the recipient of two NASA Distinguished Public Service Medals, the NASA Distinguished Scientific Achievement Medal, the COSPAR William Nordberg Medal, the AGU William Bowie Medal, and the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States. Minor Planet 5504 Lanzerotti recognizes his space and planetary research, and Mount Lanzerotti (74.50° S, 70.33° W) recognizes his research in the Antarctic.

In the 1980s, Lanzerotti was elected to three consecutive 3-year terms on his local (Harding Township, New Jersey) school board, and served as chair of the Curriculum Committee (8 years) and vice president (5 years). He has served since 1993 as a member of the Township’s governing body (Township Committee), and served as the Township’s Mayor in 2007, 2008, and 2009.