University of New Mexico Physics and Astronomy Professor Emeritus Harjit Ahluwalia was one of 10 Fellows recognized by Sigma Xi as part of its 2022 cohort of Sigma Xi Fellows. The Fellows were honored recently during the inaugural International Forum on Research Excellence (IFoRE) in Alexandria, Va.

Harjit Ahluwalia
UNM Professor Emeritus Harjit Ahluwalia

Ahluwalia was recognized for distinguished accomplishments and dedication to the development of young investigators, as well as significant contributions to the Society’s mission and service to The University of New Mexico chapter of Sigma Xi. 

The Fellow of Sigma Xi distinction is awarded on a competitive basis to members who have been recognized by their peers. Fellows must be an active, full member for the last 10 years continuously, or a life member, with distinguished service to Sigma Xi and outstanding contributions to the scientific enterprise. 

Ahluwalia’s research interests include galactic cosmic radiation and high-energy astrophysics, solar physics and space weather. During his career Ahluwalia’s research focused on issues related to understanding the observed variations of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) at earth’s orbit on time scales ranging from less than one hour to several decades. His work included a study of the solar daily variations of cosmic rays, transient effects, as well as the isotropic modulations of GCR intensity.

During his academic career, which spanned five decades at UNM (1968-2014), Ahluwalia had 100 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals, 228 papers presented at domestic and international conferences, 45 technical reports submitted to funding agencies, 57 invited talks at domestic/international gatherings and more than 200 international conferences attended.

Ahluwalia-Sigma XI2
UNM's Harjit Ahluwalia recognized as a Sigma Xi Fellow.

Ahluwalia began his academic and research career in 1954 where he spent eight years as a research fellow in the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad, India. He had several stops along the way before making his way to the southwest at UNM in 1968. He was also a visiting senior scientist sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech and NASA Headquarters where he served in the Astrophysics and Solar & Heliosphere Physics Divisions from 1987-88.  

Ahluwalia transitioned to Professor Emeritus in 2014 but continues to be involved as a Summer Faculty Research Fellow at Space Vehicles Directorate, at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Known as the Scientific Research Honor Society, Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 at Cornell University by a group of engineering students and a junior faculty member, Frank Van Vleck. From the beginning, the founders emphasized that the new scientific honor society would be broad in its outlook, devoted to all of science and engineering. Sigma Xi was designed to reward excellence in scientific research and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields.

For more information, visit Sigma Xi.