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Gamache Named One of the World’s Top Researchers

Brightest Scientific Minds Spotlighted in Thomson Reuters List

UMass Lowell Image
Prof. Robert Gamache

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Prof. Robert Gamache of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences (EEAS) was named by Thomson Reuters as one of "The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2014.

“This list of top researchers around the globe have earned their distinction by publishing the highest number of articles that rank among those most frequently cited by fellow researchers,” states Reuters, whose list included 3,215 scientists in 21 fields. “They are the people who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognize as vital to the advancement of their science. These researchers are, undoubtedly, among the most influential scientific minds of our time.”

Reuters’ Intellectual Property & Science division — in partnership with China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, producer of the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities — compiled the list, also known as the most “Highly Cited Researchers,” whose work represent the top 1 percent of the most referenced papers for their subject published from 2002 to 2012, and “earning them the mark of exceptional impact.”

“I’m very excited,” says Gamache, who also serves as associate vice president of academic affairs, student affairs and international relations for the UMass system. “To be included in such an elite company is quite an honor. Also, having the list decided by raw numbers, through citations, rather than by vote, like a popularity contest, was gratifying.”

“We are thrilled that Prof. Gamache, a highly accomplished scientist, was recognized by Thomson Reuters,” says Provost Ahmed Abdelal. “UMass Lowell is exceptionally strong in the natural sciences and this recognition affirms that.”

A Lifetime of Achievement

Gamache is an expert in the spectral studies and modeling of molecules in the atmospheres of planets, including Earth, Venus and Mars. He uses quantum mechanical and semi-classical calculations of quantities needed to understand measurements obtained through remote-sensing (satellite, balloon, aircraft and some ground-based) as well as laboratory experiments. To date, he has presented 202 papers on the subject at professional conferences, published 128 articles in peer-reviewed journals, authored more than 40 scientific reports and delivered numerous invited lectures in the United States, Russia, Africa and Europe, particularly France.

“My specialty is the line-shape problem,” he explains. “The shape of spectral lines is still the least understood spectroscopic parameter needed to unravel remotely sensed spectral measurements.”

Gamache, whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation, is collaborating with a number of groups involved in satellite measurements, including those from NASA’s Aqua and Aura satellites, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 and the European Space Agency’s IASI and Venus Express satellites.

“I continue to provide my data to top spectroscopic databases such as HITRAN, GEISA, CDSD and the NASA Ames Research Center CO2 database,” he says.

Although Gamache divides his time between the system office in Boston and Lowell, he still conducts his research at the EEAS.

“I have a post-doctoral researcher and several undergraduate students working in my group,” he notes. “This fall, I’ll be teaching a graduate course entitled ‘Remote Sensing of Planetary Atmospheres.’ ”

Gamache served as dean of the UMass School of Marine Sciences from 2005 to 2012, and is currently co-director of UMass Lowell’s Peace and Conflict Studies Institute and vice president of the university chapter of the Sigma Xi scientific research honor society.

“I hope the accolade I received from Reuters will help shine more light on UMass Lowell,” he says. “We have many exceptional university faculty researchers and I think the world is catching on.”