David Themens, a PhD physics student at the University of New Brunswick, has been awarded the prestigious International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Young Scientist Award.

Themens, originally from Charlo, N.B., received a bachelor of science with honours in physics and a minor in mathematics from UNB Fredericton in 2011. In 2013, Themens returned to UNB to begin a PhD and has been awarded many scholarships and awards during his educational pursuits, but he says this recognition has the potential to open more doors into his future.

“This award will allow me to attend the inaugural International Radio Science Union’s Atlantic Conference in the Canary Islands this May,” said Themens. “I’ll be presenting two papers on my recent GPS work to world experts in my field.”

His academic interests are in space physics and remote sensing and says he chose to come back to UNB because of the specialized and high quality work being done by UNB’s Radio Physics Group.  He also gives much credit to his mentor and supervisor P.T. Jayachandran (Jay), who is a UNB physics professor and world expert in radio physics and earth-sun interactions in the Polar Cap.

“The Radio Physics group at UNB is made up of some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met,” said Themens. “Jay’s style of direction allows me the freedom to explore new avenues of research every day, while keeping me focused and productive.”

UNB’s Radio Physics group, which is made up of mainly students along with a few researchers and staff, operates 25 ionospheric observation stations within the Canadian Arctic. These stations form almost the entirety of the available observations of the ionosphere’s electron density in the Polar Cap and Auroral Oval regions.

“Jay’s group is the only group, worldwide, that regularly collects the data I need to solve the problems I identified in my undergraduate studies,” said Themens.

Besides being a budding physicist, Themens has been an avid fencer since 2000 and has represented the university nationally and in the US as president of UNB Fencing Club.

He expects to graduate in 2017 and plans to continue his ionospheric research either within academia or industry.

The Young Scientist Awards are presented at the URSI Atlantic Radio Science Conference to recognize an international group of individuals who have made innovative contributions and discoveries in multidiscipline research related to electromagnetic fields and waves. The URSI Atlantic Radio Science Conference (AT-RASC) is held every three years to review current research trends, present new discoveries and make plans for future research and special projects in all areas of radio science, especially where international cooperation is desirable.

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) is one of Canada’s oldest English-language universities and one of the first public universities established in North America. Founded in 1785, the multi-campus institution is home to over 60 research centres and institutes, groups and ongoing projects. The university offers over 75 undergraduate and graduate programs in 100 disciplines. UNB has over 10,000 students from more than 90 countries, and several thousand more take UNB courses online and at partner institutions around the world.

Media contact: Natasha Ashfield

*Contributed to by Sarah Beaney

 

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