Heliophysics pioneer Eugene Parker dies at 94

In 2018, Parker witnessed the launch of a solar probe NASA named after him.

Kamil Krzaczynski / reuters

Dr. Eugene Parker, a pioneer in the field of heliophysics, has died at the age of 94. In the 1950s, Parker developed a theory that predicted solar winds. As NASA notes, Parker pushed the field forward throughout his career, "advancing ideas that addressed the fundamental questions about the workings of our Sun and stars throughout the universe."

Heliophysics centers on the physics of the Sun and its impact on the Solar System. In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, the first spacecraft it named after a living person. The probe is tasked with observing the outer corona (or atmosphere) of the Sun to improve our understanding of solar winds and space weather. In December, it became the first spacecraft to enter the Sun's upper atmosphere.

“Anyone who knew Dr. Parker, knew that he was a visionary. I was honored to stand with him at the launch of Parker Solar Probe and have loved getting to share with him all the exciting science results, seeing his face light up with every new image and data plot I showed him," Nicola Fox, director of NASA's heliophysics division, said. "I will sincerely miss his excitement and love for Parker Solar Probe. Even though Dr. Parker is no longer with us, his discoveries and legacy will live forever.”