West Seattle High School
Class of 1953
In his long career at Boston College, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and a
visiting scholar at MIT, Dr. John Jasperse, a theoretical physicist, had a long career at Boston College,
the Air Force Research Laboratory and was a visiting scholar at MIT. He
displayed unusual versatility and sustained creativity in such diverse areas as
condensed matter physics, the quantum mechanical three body problem,
atomic and molecular physics, plasma physics, plasma turbulence, and the
physics of the Aurora Borealis.
He published over 100 scientific papers in national and international journals, delivered 76 lectures at major institutions, co-organized 11 international conferences, and co-edited the “Physics of Space Plasma” from 1981 to 1998. Dr. Jasperse spent 30 years as the task leader of the Air Force office of Scientific Research (AFSOR) task titled Geospace Plasma Dynamics.
Under his leadership the Geospace Plasma Dynamic Effort has won the prestigious AFSOR Star Team award every year from 1991 to 2011. His two most scientific contributions have been (1) to find the collisional correction to the famous ”Landau Dampening Formula” discovered in 1946 by the Soviet physicist L. D. Landau and 2 to develop the first complete theory for the Birkeland current system (the Aurora Borealis) that include the effect of plasma turbulence.
The most recent and important application of his work has been in the area of “space weather” and its effect on military and civilian surveillance and reconnaissance systems.