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Address of the President (Dr C. Jordan) on the Presentation of the Gold Medal to Professor T.R.Kaiser on Monday 1994, July 11.


The Gold Medal for Geophysics and Planetary Science for 1994 is awarded to Professor T.R.Kaiser for his fundamental work and leadership in Space Geophysics.

Tom Kaiser come to England from Australia in 1946, having obtained Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Melbourne. He carried out research in the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford and was awarded his D.Phil in 1949.

In 1950 he became an ICI Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, at Jodrell Bank, where he began his work in the field of Space Science. He carried out theoretical and experimental work on the ionization trails of meteors, using the then relatively new technique of radar. This pioneering work provided the scientific basis for a number of different research fields, in particular the development of meteor radar reflection as a diagnostic for the study of winds in the upper atmosphere. His early papers on the cross-section of the meteor ionization trail are still regarded as the fundamental ones in this area.

In 1956 Tom Kaiser moved to the University of Sheffield as a Senior Lecturer, and in 1966 was appointed as Professor of Space Physics. His move to Sheffield occurred at an important time --- the Space Age was about to begin. He was one of the first to realize that space technology would be important for the study of the upper atmosphere. He built up experimental expertise as Sheffield in radio frequency impedance probes to fly on rockets and was Principal Investigator for similar experiments flown on early UK satellites, Ariel 3 and Ariel 4. The latter measured very low frequency radiation, which arises from disturbances due to the entry of charged particles into the ionosphere from thunderstorms and man-made sources. he also defined the theory of RF probes in a magnetized plasma.

Tom Kaiser recognized the benefits of making coincident measurements from the ground and was heavily involved in the development of the VLF programme at the British Antartctic Survey base at Halley Bay. He was foremost among UK scientists in realizing the potential of Antarctica for Space Physics research. The space and ground-based programmes also led to Tom's interest in wave-particle interactions in space plasmas. During this period he attracted high quality scientists to Sheffield, building up a renowned group in Space Geophysics.

Tom Kaiser has been an inspirational teacher and motivator of both undergraduate and graduate students.

Professor Kaiser, it gives me great pleasure to present you with the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.