Sciences and Exploration Directorate

David Gary Sibeck

(Chief Scientist)

David Gary Sibeck's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.5998
Org Code: 670
Mail Code 670
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Sibeck's research focuses upon the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere, the regions where most space weather effects are felt. Following a post-doc working on AMPTE/CCE observations of the Earth's radiation belts from 1985-1987, he advanced to a Principal Professional Staff position at nearby JHU/APL. Here he became an AGU fellow, received the AGU's Macelwane award, actively participated in the Czech, Russian, and Slovak Prognoz and Interball spacecraft programs (ultimately receiving a medal from Charles University in Prague for his services), led successful efforts to preserve and provide endangered NASA magnetospheric data sets, organized a series of competitively awarded research groups at Switzerland's International Space Science Institute, and participated in a study to define the USAF's space weather needs.

Upon moving to NASA/GSFC in 2002, he was almost immediately detailed to NASA/HQ, where he served a two-year term as Deputy Program Scientist setting up and running the Living With a Star (LWS) program, NASA's preeminent space weather program. Since returning to NASA/GSFC in 2004, his work as Project and Mission Scientists has focused on the remarkably successful THEMIS/ARTEMIS Explorer and LWS Van Allen Probes missions. In recent years he has taken on the leadership of a cross-disciplinary group prototyping a wide field-of-view soft x-ray imager with applications for solar wind-magnetosphere and solar wind-planetary applications. Nevertheless, community service and research remain at the core of his interests. He has served as editor or guest editor for several major journals and led the National Science Foundation's Geospace Environment Modeling program, which organizes the preeminent annual meeting of magnetospheric physicists in the United States. He was on a committee that reviewed the full range of NSF Upper Atmospheric activities and he has served continuously on the ESA Cluster Active Archive advisory committee for the past decade. He is Past-President of the American Geophysical Union's Space Physics and Aeronomy section. His most frequently cited first-authored papers concern the responses of the Earth's dayside magnetosphere, ionosphere, and magnetotail to varying solar wind conditions. It has been his privilege to learn from and mentor a series of extraordinarily productive postdoctoral students.

 Publications: 387 refereed, of which 75 are first-authored (h-index = 56, cited 14423 times by other authors). First-authored topics range from solar wind structures to transient events in the Earth's equatorial and polar ionosphere. Recent research focuses upon simulations, microphysics of the foreshock, the magnetopause, and geomagnetic pulsations


Chief Scientist, Heliophysics Division

NASA/GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

October 2021 - Present

TRACERS Mission Scientist

NASA/GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

July 2020 - October 2021

LWS Van Allen Probes Mission Scientist


2007 - September 2021

THEMIS/ARTEMIS Project Scientist


2007 - Present

LWS Geospace Project Scientist


2004 - 2007

LWS Deputy Program Scientist


2003 - 2004



2002 - Present

Principal Professional Staff


1994 - 2002

Senior Professional Staff


1987 - 1994

Postdoctoral Research Associate


1985 - 1987

Teaching Experience

2001, Taught Magnetospheric Physics, Catholic University

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union


1981 - Present

Professional Service

Editorial Activities:

Corresponding Editor, EOS 2005-2010 (reviewed all space plasma physics contributions and many in other disciplines)

Guest Editor Advances in Space Research 2005-2010 for all space plasma physics contributions at COSPAR meetings

Associate Editor, Geophysical Research Letters 2004-2007

NSF Activities:

Chair, GEM Steering Committee 2011-2013

Chair-Elect, GEM Steering Committee 2009-2010

GEM GI Campaign Coordinator 2004-2010

Upper Atmosphere Program Review Committee 2008

NRC Activities

Member, NRC Post-Doc Review Committee 1993-2002 (reviewed all space physics proposals to all NASA installations)

Co-Chair, Theory, Modeling, and Data Exploration section of Decadel Survey (2001-2002)

AGU Activities

President, SPA Section of AGU 2015-2016

President-Elect, SPA Section of AGU 2013-2014

Member, AGU Flinn Award Committee, 1996-1997

NASA/HQ Activities

MO&DA MOWG advisory committee 2003-2009

ILWS Executive Secretary, 2004-2007

Member, Magnetospheric Constellation Science Definition Team, 2002-2005

Deputy Program Scientist, LWS 2003-2004

Panel Member, LWS TR&T Advisory Committee 2002-2004

Joint Chair, LWS Data System Planning Team 2001-2002

Member, SSDS Technical Working Group 1997-1999

Chair, Magnetospheric Space Physics Data System 1993-1998

Member, Magnetospheric MOWG 1992-1995

Member, NASA Data Preservation Committee 1991-1993

Air Force

Member, Air Force Space Weather Operations Center Design Study


Member, CCMC Advisory Committee 2002-2004

Member NSSDC Format Evaluation Process Committee 1999-2000

Chair, SSDOO, GSFC Visiting Committee 1996-1997



PhD (Atmospheric Sciences, 1984) UCLA

M.S. (Atmospheric Sciences, 1982) UCLA

B. A. (Meteorology, 1979) UCLA


2010 Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award, NASA

2009 Exceptional Achievement Award: Science.  NASA/GSFC

2003 Medal for Contributions to the Interball Mission, Charles University

1992 Macelwane Award, AGU

1992 Fellow, AGU

Selected Publications


2014. "Size and Shape of the Distant Magnetotail." J. Geophys. Res. 119 1028-1043 [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Shocklets, SLAMS, and field-aligned ion beams in the terrestrial foreshock." J. Geophys. Res. 118 957-966 [Full Text] [10.1029/2012JA018186] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Dynamics of the foreshock compressional boundary and its connection to foreshock cavities." Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 118 823-831 [10.1002/jgra.50146] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Spontaneous hot flow anomalies at quasi-parallel shocks: 2. Hybrid simulations." Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 118 173 180 [10.1029/2012JA018099] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Comparison between vortices created and evolving during fixed and dynamic solar wind conditions." Ann. Geophys. 31 (8): 1463-1483 [10.5194/angeo-31-1463-2013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Short large-amplitude magnetic structures (SLAMS) at Venus." Journal of Geophysical Research 117 (A10): A10221 [Full Text] [10.1029/2012JA017838] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Frequency doubling and field-aligned ion streaming in a long-period poloidal pulsation." J. Geophys. Res. 117 [10.1029/2011JA017473] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Flux transfer events: Motion and signatures." J. Atmo. Solar-Terr. Phys. 87 20-24 [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Inner plasma structure of the low-latitude reconnection layer." Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 117 [8205-10.1029/2012JA017622] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Hot flow anomalies at Venus." JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS 117 [10.1029/2011JA017277] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "THEMIS observations of substorms on 26 February 2008 initiated by magnetotail reconnection." Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 115 [2212-10.1029/2009JA014217] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "THEMIS observations of the dayside traveling compression region and flows surrounding flux transfer events." Geophysical Research Letters 35 [17-10.1029/2008GL033673] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "First Results from the THEMIS Mission." Space Science Reviews 141 453-476 [10.1007/s11214-008-9378-4] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Variations of the flank LLBL thickness as response to the solar wind dynamic pressure and IMF orientation." Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 112 [7201-10.1029/2006JA011889] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Observations of Pi2 pulsations by the Wallops HF radar in association with substorm expansion." Geophysical Research Letters 34 [20103-10.1029/2007GL030492] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "A Kopp-Pneuman-like Picture of Coronal Mass Ejections." The Astrophysical Journal 643 1304-1316 [10.1086/503274] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Radial dependence of foreshock cavities: a case study." Annales Geophysicae 22 4143-4151 [10.5194/angeo-22-4143-2004] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Simultaneous observations of magnetopause flux transfer events and of their associated signatures at ionospheric altitudes." Annales Geophysicae 22 2181-2199 [10.5194/angeo-22-2181-2004] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Occurrence statistics of magnetic impulsive events." Annales Geophysicae 22 585-602 [10.5194/angeo-22-585-2004] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Interplanetary magnetic field control of dayside transient event occurrence and motion in the ionosphere and magnetosphere." Annales Geophysicae 22 4197-4202 [10.5194/angeo-22-4197-2004] [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "The structure of hot flow anomalies in the magnetosheath." Advances in Space Research 30 2737-2744 [10.1016/S0273-1177(02)80398-2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Aurora conjugacy during substorms: Coordinated Antarctic ground and Polar Ultraviolet observations." Journal of Geophysical Research 106 24579-24592 [10.1029/2001JA900025] [Journal Article/Letter]

1997. "Two point observation of magnetopause motion: the interball project." Advances in Space Research 20 801-807 [Journal Article/Letter]

1993. "Magnetospheric Working Group Report, Solar-Terrestrial Predictions Workshop, Ottawa, May 1992." Solar-Terrestrial Predictions -- IV Volume 1 49- [Journal Article/Letter]

Other Professional Information

Languages:  Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian.  Working on Brazilian Portuguese.

Special Experience

Doctoral Committees

Mohammed Alothman, Boston University

Yaireska Collado-Vega, Catholic University

Christina Chu University of Alaska

Nathaniel Frissell, Virginia Tech

Marcos Silveira, INPE, Brazil

Vitor Souza, INPE, Brazil

Claudia Medeiros, INPE, Brazil]

Jose Marchezi, INPE, Brazil

Andrew Vu, U. Alaska

Jaewoong Jung, U. Alaska

Selected Public Outreach

Television and Radio Appearances

2007 - Present

BBC One O'clock News

WJZ Baltimore

CBC Radio, Canada

Breakfast news broadcasts across the United States