Abraham C.-L. Chian

Fellow: Awarded 2010

Field of Study: Earth Science

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

Senior scientist and professor at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in Brazil, Abe Chian earned a B.Sc. (with distinction) in electrical engineering and space science from Cornell University (1973) and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge (1977). His doctoral dissertation, Relativistic Nonlinear Waves in Plasmas, was related to pulsar radiation. He then spent two years as a visiting professor at Fluminense Federal University (UFF) in Brazil before taking up an appointment at INPE in 1979, where his researches include plasma physics, space physics, astrophysics, nonlinear dynamics, computational science, and economic dynamics, and led to groundbreaking advances in studies of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, he will work on nonlinear dynamics of the earth-ocean-space environment at Caltech.

In addition to his duties at INPE, he has been an Associate Research Scientist at UCLA (1982-83) and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge (1992-94). He also studied economic dynamics at the University of Adelaide, part of the time as a Professorial Research Fellow (2001-03), and earned a Ph.D. in economics from that university in 2005; his doctoral dissertation, Complex Systems Approach to Economic Dynamics, was published by Springer as part of its Economics and Mathematical Systems book series.

In 2001, he founded the World Institute for Space Environment Research (WISER), which, according to its website, “operates as a network of centers of excellence dedicated to promote international cooperation in research and training in multidisciplinary studies of earth-ocean-space environment, solar-terrestrial relation, astrophysics, and the impact of space weather and space climate on the Earth’s weather, climate, environment, and technology” and has the mission of “linking nations for the peaceful use of the space environment.”

Abe Chian has been a Visiting Professor at Nagoya University, where he coedited with Professor Y. Kamide of that institution Handbook of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment (Springer, 2007), which has become a standard reference work in the field, and at Kyoto University, where he coauthored with Professor M. Yamada of that institution the paper Amplitude-Phase Synchronization at the Onset of Permanent Spatiotemporal Chaos, which was published in 2010 in Physical Review Letters. In 2007 he was named an Honorary Professor of Economics by China’s Shanghai Normal University and an Adjunct Professor of Systems and Controls by Brazil’s Institute of Aeronautical Technology (ITA).

As his establishment of WISER and his long involvement in international researches and teaching attest, Abe Chian is as dedicated to the promotion of science and education as he is to his own work, and has mentored many students from Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. He has also been an invited speaker at several international conferences, including the World Space Environment Forum at Egypt’s New Alexandria Library, and has served as a guest editor of Space Science Reviews and Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, among other international journals. The International Astronomical Union, American Geophysical Union, European Geosciences Union, Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, and the Latin American Space Geophysics Association boast him as a member.