LASP researcher and Aerospace Engineering professor Xinlin Li elected a 2021 AGU Fellow

Xinlin Li is a LASP researcher studying the Earth’s inner radiation belt and a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Xinlin Li, a researcher at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (AES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is one of 59 individuals worldwide selected in 2021 for this honor, which is reserved for fewer than 0.1% of the union’s members. AGU is recognizing Li for transformational research in the dynamics of Earth’s radiation belts and for outstanding studies of solar wind-magnetosphere coupling.

Dr. Li’s research focuses on the dynamics of Earth’s space environment and the development of spaceborne instruments and CubeSats, small satellites that are increasingly used to address key scientific questions. He also conducts research on the energy conversion from the solar wind into the magnetosphere, particle acceleration and transport, magnetic storms and substorms, and the effects of space weather on spacecraft subsystems. 

After earning a Ph.D. at Dartmouth College in 1992, Li worked as a Research Associate at Dartmouth before moving to CU Boulder in 1995. Throughout his career, he has received numerous honors. NASA, through its Group Achievement Awards, has recognized Li’s exceptional dedication, skill, and perseverance through his contributions to multiple projects, including THEMIS and the Van Allen Probes. In 2006, he also received the European Space Agency Award in recognition of outstanding contributions made to Cluster’s exploration of geospace.

Dr. Li is currently the principal investigator on the NASA-funded CIRBE satellite, whose mission is to explore Earth’s inner radiation belt to gain a better understanding of how the electrons found there form, where these electrons come from, and how they behave. He previously served as the principal investigator on the National Science Foundation-funded Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) and as the co-investigator on NASA’s MinXSS CubeSat mission.

“Xinlin has been a close colleague of mine here at LASP for over two decades,” says LASP Director Dan Baker. “His research has been outstanding during that entire time, and his record of training the next generation of space researchers has been unparalleled. His election as an AGU Fellow is richly deserved.”

Brian Argrow, the chair of CU Boulder’s AES Department, adds, “The CSSWE mission, which was co-led by Prof. Li and Prof. Scott Palo, involved more than 65 graduate and undergraduate students. It has been a tremendous success in science, engineering, and education.” 

Dr. Li will be formally recognized during the annual AGU Fall Meeting, to be held December 13–17 in New Orleans.

Written by: Terri Cook – Lead of LASP’s Office of Communication Management