By David Sims
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
January 30, 2008
DURHAM, N.H. -- Roy B. Torbert, associate director for academic affairs and research at the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, has been appointed EOS interim director, UNH provost and executive vice president Bruce L. Mallory announced today.
Torbert replaces institute founding director Berrien Moore III, who led EOS for more than 20 years. Moore recently stepped down to direct Climate Central, an emerging, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to providing the public, business and civic leaders, and policymakers with objective and understandable information about climate change and potential solutions. The group is based in Princeton, N.J. and Palo Alto, Calif.
A professor of physics, Torbert has been a faculty member at UNH since 1989 and has directed the UNH Space Science Center since 2000. Prior to that, he served as dean of the UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences for five years. His research interests include the areas of space plasma and magnetospheric physics.
Of his successor Moore notes, "Roy Torbert brings to the position of director an extraordinary background of experience as a past dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences as well as a distinguished, internationally recognized space scientist."
Torbert has served as principal investigator on several scientific instruments for NASA and is currently a lead investigator in an upcoming strategic mission for NASA's Heliophysics Division - the Magnetospheric MultiScale mission, or MMS. The $61 million awarded to UNH from NASA for the mission represents the single largest research grant in the university's history.
As part of an international team from 12 institutes, space scientists at EOS will construct instruments for MMS's four identical solar-terrestrial probes, which will study little-understood, fundamental processes in the Earth's magnetosphere - the magnetic shield that protects the Earth from solar and cosmic radiation. Launch is slated for 2014.
In the coming months, a UNH committee will conduct an international search for a permanent director of EOS. Torbert will not be a candidate for the position.