Newsletter 15-36

Issue 15-36, August 21, 2015










The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is 
pleased to announce its 2015 prize winners.


Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science: Dr. Yuk Yung 
(Caltech) has made numerous enduring contributions to planetary science, particularly in the areas 
of atmospheric photochemistry, global climate change, radiative transfer, atmospheric evolution, 
and planetary habitability. His unique integration of observations, laboratory data, and quantitative 
modeling has yielded pioneering insights into the characterization, origin, and evolution of atmospheres
in the solar system. His models of the chemistry of planetary atmospheres, developed through basic 
research, have been widely used to interpret results from spacecraft missions, including the Vikings, 
Voyagers, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Venus Express, Cassini, Mars Science Laboratory, and New Horizons. 
Dr. Yung is Smits Family Professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. 
He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from University of California, Berkeley, in 
1969 and his doctoral degree in physics from Harvard University in 1974.


Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist: 
Dr. Geronimo Luis Villanueva (Catholic University of America, NASA Goddard Space Flight 
Center) has demonstrated exceptional capability and versatility in addressing scientific challenges 
in the planetary sciences. He was instrumental in the design and development of the high-resolution 
submillimeter heterodyne spectrometer for the SOFIA airborne observatory. He then moved into 
observational astronomy, making seminal contributions across the field of cometary science, including 
observations, data processing and analysis, and modeling and Monte Carlo simulations. Geronimo 
obtained the first measurement of the deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio in water in a periodic comet, 
created algorithms to model cometary fluorescence emission incorporating large databases for H2O and 
HDO, and developed quantum-mechanical models for infrared bands. Turning to Mars, Geronimo 
conducted a multiyear multi-telescope observing campaign to chart the composition of the Martian 
atmosphere, including its seasonal variability as well as a quantitative assessment of Mars’s early 
water abundance. For his work with comets and with Mars’s atmosphere, Geronimo is recognized as 
one of the best young spectroscopists of his generation. Dr. Villanueva is currently a Research 
Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of America, in residence at NASA’s Goddard Space 
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Universidad Mendoza, 
Argentina. He received his master’s degree from Clausthal Technical University, Germany, in 2003, 
and his Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2004.


Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration: 
Dr. Christina Richey (NASA Headquarters & Smart Data Solutions, LLC) has made significant 
contributions to fostering equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion in planetary science in the spirit 
of the Harold Masursky award. Christina’s willingness to go far above and beyond the call of her 
regular work duties on these issues helps our planetary community become more open, diverse, and 
accepting. Much of her focus has been on education about the effects of harassment. She addresses 
anti-harassment policies at conferences; pushes for post-doc harassment training; ensures that key 
community leaders show support for all within the planetary sciences; helps distribute materials used 
by institutions to develop anti-harassment policies; and personally assists community members dealing 
with harassment issues. In addition to her anti-harassment work, she tackles broader issues that impact 
the most vulnerable members within our planetary-science community. She participates in mentoring 
workshops for early-career scientists as well as workshops on alternative careers. Dr. Richey is active 
in the Women in Planetary Science Group, is chair of the AAS’s Committee on the Status of Women 
in Astronomy (CSWA), and is an influential participant in the Women in Astronomy blog. Dr. Richey 
is currently a cross-divisional program officer at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., as well as the 
Deputy Program Scientist for the OSIRIS-REx mission. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from 
Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia, in 2004, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from 
the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007 and 2011, respectively.


Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public: 
Dr. Dan Durda (Southwest Research Institute) has consistently communicated with the public about the 
wonders of exploring new worlds via the written word, the spoken word, and visual artistry. Dan writes 
for popular astronomy magazines such as Sky & Telescope and Mercury and authors columns, articles,
 and blogs for the public. As a natural extension of his compelling writing, Dan is sought as a planetary 
science spokesperson, both for lectures and on TV. His science addresses impacts and impact processes 
at many scales; thus he has become a requested media commentator on catastrophic asteroid impacts. 
The artistic dimension of Durda’s public outreach, however, sets him in a class apart. His art derives from 
a healthy dose of scientific knowledge, though, as Dan says, “I’m not afraid to loosen the reins at times.” 
His paintings and digital art present scientifically grounded depictions of solar-system objects as well as 
alien worlds. Dr. Durda is currently a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, 
Colorado. He earned his bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the University of Michigan in 1987 and his 
master’s and doctoral degrees in astronomy from the University of Florida in 1989 and 1993, respectively.


Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award to recognize and stimulate distinguished popular 
writing on planetary sciences: Stephen Battersby is a freelance science journalist and ex-astrophysicist 
who has written about such diverse subjects as giant black holes and small bogs, the end of time and the 
nature of slime — but he has a particular fondness for icy moons. He writes regularly for New Scientist 
magazine, and his work has also appeared in Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 
Current Science, and Discover. Recently he has been writing reports and articles for business, covering 
climate change, renewable energy, and adaptation. Battersby has been a features editor at New Scientist 
and a News & Views editor at Nature. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oxford University and a 
Ph.D. in astrophysics from Imperial College, London. In his winning entry, “Splash of the Titans,” in the 
24 May 2014 issue of New Scientist, Battersby explores methane tides on the icy seashores of Saturn’s 
largest moon through the radar eyes of the Cassini spacecraft. The discovery of methane seas hiding under 
the orange haze on Titan ranks among the most fascinating chapters in the exploration of our solar system.


The 2015 DPS prizes will be presented at the 47th annual DPS meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, 
8-13 November 2015 [].



Dr. Vishnu Reddy

DPS Press Officer

+1 808-342-8932

[email protected]


Dr. Bonnie Buratti

DPS Chair

+1 818-468-1401

[email protected]





National Harbor, MD, 8-13 November 2015 at the Gaylord National Harbor


DPS members you are invited to attend the 47th Annual DPS meeting!


* Important dates


25 August 2015: Regular Abstract deadline, coming up quickly!




Other important dates:

24 August 2015 DPS 47 Exhibitor Deadline

1 September 2015 DPS 47 Early Registration Deadline

8 September 2015 DPS 47 Regular Registration Deadline


And also:

– 24 September 2015: 47th DPS Late Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET

– 8 October 2015: 47th DPS Hotel Reservations Deadline





Education at the DPS Meeting 2015 – National Harbor


The LOC of the upcoming DPS Meeting in National Harbor is putting together opportunities for 
scientists, students, and teachers to share and learn about science and education.  
We invite you to get involved! 


Education Oral Session – Scientist’s Showcase

If you are a scientist who is engaged in education and outreach activities, we invite you to submit 
an abstract to share your experiences and lessons learned with your fellow scientists.  This is a 
session by scientists for scientists.  (You may submit BOTH a science abstract AND and education 
abstract for talks and/or posters at the DPS meetings.)  Jennifer Grier,


Education Poster Session – Scientist’s Showcase and More

Share your planetary science education and outreach with other members of the community the 
low-key, conversational environment of a poster session.  Scientists, E/PO professionals, and educators 
are all welcome. Jennifer Grier,


Scientists in Education Workshop – Increase Your Impact

Please join your fellow scientists for a half day workshop about how to get involved in education 
and outreach, and how to have the most impact with your efforts, on Sunday morning, November 8th.  
We will share tried-and-true techniques, best practices, and useful resources and activities.  We’ll 
provide an announcement with time, location and registration details as the conference draws closer.  
Sanlyn Buxner, [email protected]


First Time Presenters at the DPS – Get Feedback

Is the DPS 2015 your first conference presentation (oral or poster?)  Nervous?  Would you like advice?  
Join others like you for this educational opportunity to get feedback from seasoned presenters at the 
First Timers’ Review on Sunday afternoon, November 8th.  Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and 
new Post-Docs are all welcome for this ~2.5 hour event that includes lunch.  If you are a veteran 
presenter and would like to be one of those offering advice, please let us know!  We’ll provide an
announcement with time, location and registration details as the conference draws closer. 
Andrew Shaner, [email protected]


Workshop for Teachers – Revising the Solar System:  Exploring Worlds Formerly Known as Planets

We invite teachers in the DC, VA, MD area (and beyond) to join us for a full day (Sunday, November 8th) 
workshop packed with NASA resources, education best-practices, real scientist presentations, and much 
more.  Our theme this year centers around the planets that were – Pluto and Ceres (along with other 
fascinating small bodies).  If you are interested in connecting with K-12 teachers about one of these topics, 
please contact:  Sarah Horst, [email protected], Christine Shupla, [email protected]





A generous contribution from William K. Hartmann, supplemented by member contributions and matching
funds from the DPS Committee, has enabled a limited number of student travel grants to assist participation
by early-career scientists at the annual DPS meeting.


Application details are at meetings/travel_grant_application.


Travel grants are primarily intended for students, but post-doctoral scientists without other means
of support will also be considered. 


The due date for applications is August 28, 2015 11:59 PM. 


The DPS Leadership is also soliciting additional contributions from members for the Hartmann Fund.
Your tax-deductible gift promotes the careers of our next generation of planetary scientists.
Thanks so much for your generosity.





To promote the emerging discipline of Astrochemistry within the Physical Chemistry Division of the 
ACS, we wish to recognize an outstanding Ph.D. thesis submitted by an Astrochemistry Subdivision 
member within the preceding two calendar years. The award consists of $500 cash prize and a certificate 
citing the contribution, which will be presented at the Fall 2016 ACS Astrochemistry Meeting. 
The following materials should be submitted to the Secretary of the Astrochemistry Subdivision 
[[email protected]] by the nominator as a single pdf file by March 1, 2016:


1. CV and publication list of the applicant


2. An abstract of the dissertation prepared by the applicant not exceeding 1,000 words exclusive of 
figures and references.


3. A nominating letter from the research advisor citing the specific contributions of the applicant and 
their significance.


4. Up to two seconding letters.


Nomination packages will not be renewed automatically but they may be resubmitted a second time. 
Applications from women and members of minorities underrepresented in the sciences are strongly 
encouraged. The selection committee will consist of the current chair, chair–elect, and past chair 
( If any of these are sponsoring a 
candidate, they will be excused and the committee may include the vice-chair and then the secretary
 as needed.


The nominators (primary, secondary) and the nominee must be a member of the Astrochemistry 
Subdivision. You can join for a little as $ 15 per year 



Send submissions to:

Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected]


To unsubscribe visit or email [email protected].

To change your address email [email protected].



Anne J. Verbiscer
Research Associate Professor
Department of Astronomy
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4325