The Institute of Navigation presented its 2018 Per Enge Early Achievement Award to Seebany Datta-Barua, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Illinois Tech, for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of the ionosphere and its impacts on satellite-based navigation integrity.
Datta-Barua’s research focuses on space weather forecasting through imaging and estimation of the dynamics of the upper atmosphere. She is especially interested in using radio waves from GPS for remotely sensing the ionosphere and Earth’s surface, using data assimilation of these measurements for improved atmospheric prediction, and in mitigating atmospheric effects on GPS-based aircraft navigation systems.
This recognition honors Datta-Barua’s outstanding achievements in the art and science of positioning, navigation, and timing, and is given in memory of Per K. Enge, her former professor at Stanford University. Datta-Barua credits him for inspiring her career path through enthusiastic advising and mentorship.
“While conducting undergraduate research, my interests began to shift from fundamental physics to pursuing science that more directly affects people’s lives,” says Datta-Barua. To further define her professional goals, she went on to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees in aeronautics and astronautics, and participated in the Stanford GPS Research Laboratory run by Enge.
Datta-Barua continues to be recognized early on in her career as a scientific authority on the structure and behavior of the ionosphere and its impacts on satellite-based radio-navigation systems.
Datta-Barua says, “Although it may take years, I look forward to the day when we’re able to forecast space weather in the same way that meteorologists track winter storms.” She adds, “There is much more to be achieved in this field, but we can make an impact by thinking about how Earth’s space environment affects technical systems.”
Datta-Barua received her B.S. in physics, followed by both her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics and astronautics in 2008, from Stanford.
The ION Annual Awards program is sponsored by the Institute of Navigation to recognize individuals that make significant contributions and demonstrate outstanding performance relating to the art and science of navigation.