Ojars J. Sovers, PhD

Title: Research Physicist (Retired)

Location: Florence, Oregon, United States

Ojars Sovers, Retired Research Physicist, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in astrometric and geophysical studies.

With a natural interest in science, Dr. Sovers first pursued the field by enrolling at Brooklyn College right after high school. In 1958, he earned a Bachelor of Science in physics and chemistry, magna cum laude. That same year, he was selected for the National Science Foundation fellowship for graduate study in chemistry at Princeton University. He continued to explore his affinity for science at the institution, receiving a PhD in physics and physical chemistry in 1962. Following this, Dr. Sovers accepted a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship for a one-year study with Dr. J. W. Linnett at the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford in 1962. Together, they conducted research into molecular electronic structures and collisional energy transfer in gases. He continued with a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University and the IBM Watson Laboratory with M. Karplus, examining the theory of rotational barriers in molecules.

From there, Dr. Sovers’ career landed him at the GTE Laboratories in Bayside, NY. As a member of the technical staff of the Luminescent Materials Program, he investigated color measurement and perception in relation to color TV. In addition, he performed theoretical studies and supervised spectroscopic characterization of fluorescence in inorganic solids. In 1972, he accepted a senior member of the technical staff position at Sony Corporation in Tokyo. For the next seven years, Dr. Sovers provided his expertise and skills while supervising phosphor and cathode ray tube evaluation, programming efficient computer design of electron gun, developed software for automated processing and analyses of fluorescence spectral data. Upon returning to the United States in 1979, he joined the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and worked on developing software for the final stages of data reduction of very-long-baseline radio interferometric data, with emphasis on modeling Earth motions at the centimeter level. He remained at the JPL until 1998, where he then spent the next decade as a senior scientist for the Remote Sensing Analysis Systems, Inc. working on analysis software for geodetic and celestial mechanics data. From 2008 until his retirement in 2015, Dr. Sovers worked part-time for JPL.

Some of Dr. Sovers career highlights include contributing to the proper navigation of the JPL Mars probes and serving on international committees to establish and evaluate celestial reference frames. In addition, he has published more than 90 publications with some of his most important works being “Astrometry and Geodesy with Radio Interferometry: Experiments, Models, Results,” “Astrometry of Fundamental Catalogues: The Evolution from Optical to Radio Reference Frames,” “Precession and Nutation from Joint Analysis of Radio Interferometric and Lunar Laser Ranging Observations” and “Measuring Rapid Ocean Tidal Earth Orientation Variations with VLBI.” In his career, Dr. Sovers maintained professional affiliation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, Sigma Xi and the International VLBI Service.

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