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Davis Sentman.
Davis Sentman.

Sprite pioneer elected 2012 AGU Fellow

University of Alaska Fairbanks professor emeritus Davis “Dave” Sentman has been elected to the 2012 class of fellows for the American Geophysical Union.

Sentman was selected for the honor in recognition of his contributions to the field of atmospheric electricity. He died shortly after the AGU Council made its selection in December 2011.

Throughout his career, Sentman served as the principal investigator on more than 30 research projects with NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. He was a pioneer in observing and modeling sprites – quick red flashes that burst from the tops of thunderclouds. Sentman named the phenomena “sprites” in the early 1990s.

Sentman joined the faculty at the UAF Geophysical Institute and physics department in 1991. UAF granted him emeritus status in May 2011. Despite his transition into retirement, his curiosity kept him busy as he created experiments at his home in Fairbanks to better understand “Schumann Resonances,” a natural, lightning-generated hum felt around the globe.

Each year, the class of AGU Fellows is limited to no more than 0.1 percent of the total AGU membership, which includes more than 60,000 people from 148 countries.




Amy Hartley, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907-474-5823,