2024 Prize Nominations Are Open

Every year the DPS recognizes exceptional achievement in our field. Please consider nominating a respected colleague for one of the annual DPS prizes. The 2024 Prize Nominations are due by April 15, 2024.

The DPS sponsors six prizes:

The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/kuiper] recognizes and honors outstanding contributors to the field of planetary science.

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/alexander] recognizes excellence and achievements by a mid-career scientist.

The Harold C. Urey Prize [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/urey] recognizes and encourages outstanding achievements in planetary research by an early-career scientist.

The Harold Masursky Award [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/masursky] recognizes and honors individuals who have rendered outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through – but not limited to – engineering, managerial, programmatic, editorial, or public service activities.

The Carl Sagan Medal [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/sagan] recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/eberhart] recognizes and stimulates distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences.

DPS members and the planetary science community-at-large are encouraged to submit nominations for DPS prizes.

 A complete nomination submitted by the deadline will be considered by the DPS Prize subcommittee for 3 years (i.e. for this year’s award, next year’s award, and the year after that), or for the duration of a candidate’s eligibility, whichever is less. Please fill out the nomination form [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/nomination-form], and it will be submitted to the prize subcommittee. The Eberhart Award has different rules and procedures than the other DPS Prizes, please see its page [https://dps.aas.org/prizes/eberhart-nomination-form] for more information.

 Scroll to the bottom of https://dps.aas.org/prizes for rules and procedures.

 Questions: Email [email protected]

Call for DPS 2022 Prize Nominations

 

Deadline: April 15, 2022
 
Every year the DPS recognizes exceptional achievement in our field. Please consider nominating a respected colleague for one of the annual DPS prizes. 
 
The DPS sponsors five prizes:
 
The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize [prizes/kuiper] recognizes and honors outstanding contributors to the field of planetary science.

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize [prizes/alexander] recognizes excellence and achievements by a mid-career scientist. 

The Harold C. Urey Prize [prizes/urey] recognizes and encourages outstanding achievements in planetary research by an early-career scientist.

The Harold Masursky Award [prizes/masursky] recognizes and honors individuals who have rendered outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through – but not limited to – engineering, managerial, programmatic, editorial, or public service activities.

The Carl Sagan Medal [prizes/sagan] recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award [prizes/eberhart] recognizes and stimulates distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences.
 
DPS members and the planetary science community-at-large are encouraged to submit nominations for DPS prizes.
 
A complete nomination submitted by the deadline will be considered by the DPS Prize subcommittee for 3 years (i.e. for this year’s award, next year’s award, and the year after that), or for the duration of a candidate’s eligibility, whichever is less. Please fill out the nomination form [prizes/eberhart#Nomination], and it will be submitted to the prize subcommittee. The Eberhart Award has different rules and procedures than the other DPS Prizes, please see its page [prizes/eberhart-nomination-form] for more information. 
 
Scroll to the bottom of prizes for rules and procedures.
 
Questions: Email [email protected]

2021 Prize Recipients

Therese Encrenaz – 2021 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize 

Therese Encrenaz

 

The DPS awards the 2021 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science to Dr. Therese Encrenaz (French National Center for Scientific Research emeritus scientist, Paris Observatory, Paris Sciences and Letters University) in recognition of her advancement of our understanding of planetary atmospheres through her pioneering techniques, as well as for enabling groundbreaking research through her leadership roles, primarily at Paris Observatory’s Laboratory for Space Science and Astrophysical Instrumentation (LESIA), over four decades. Dr. Encrenaz’s innovative observation methods, using instruments such as the Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph (TEXES) and NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), led to the mapping of hydrogen peroxide and its seasonal variability in the Martian atmosphere. Along with her study of the spatial and seasonal variation of water, these discoveries led to a deeper understanding of Martian atmospheric chemistry. She advanced Venusian atmospheric science by monitoring and analyzing the variation in the abundance of water and sulfur dioxide in the cloud tops. In addition to her research, Dr. Encrenaz has performed leadership roles in several space missions, including as Mission Scientist for the Infrared Space Observatory and as co-investigator on missions such as Vega, Galileo, Mars Express, Venus Express, and Rosetta. She has widely disseminated planetary science to the general public by authoring over 20 popular science books.

 

Lynnae Quick – 2021 Harold C. Urey Prize 

Lynnae Quick The 2021 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by an early career scientist is awarded to Dr. Lynnae C. Quick (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center). Dr. Quick’s innovative scientific work focuses on geophysical processes writ large, reaching from the inner solar system, through the asteroid belt, to ocean worlds, and into the exoplanetary realm. She has revisited modeling of (cryo)lava domes on Venus and Europa, was the first to model the formation of Ceres’ “bright spots” via the transport of material from a deep brine reservoir to the surface, has repeatedly provided new insights into plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa, and shed light on the abundance of extrasolar ocean worlds. In addition to her scientific pursuits, Dr. Quick is exceptionally engaged in the broader research community through her proactive leadership as a co-investigator on several space missions, as a member of the Outer Planets Assessment Group steering committee, the Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2023-2032 panel on ocean worlds and dwarf planets, and the National Society of Black Physicists. Dr. Quick’s advocacy work to diversify the field is particularly notable. She has mentored many early career planetary scientists and is leading the Dragonfly Student and Early Career Investigator Program. Every aspect of Dr. Quick’s career represents a positive outlook for the future of our community.

 

Mark Showalter – 2021 Harold Masursky 

Mark Showalter The 2021 Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science goes to Dr. Mark Showalter (SETI Institute). Dr. Showalter’s service to the community has centered around his 30 years as Principal Investigator of the Planetary Data System Ring-Moon Systems Node. In this role, Dr. Showalter has gone above and beyond simply archiving ring data to providing invaluable search and ephemeris tools that assist the planetary science community as a whole. He has set up graphical tools for observation and proposal planning, and produced the original design and much of the initial implementation of the Outer Planets Unified Search tool, which supports more than 1.5 million outer planet system observations.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicolle Zellner – 2021 Carl Sagan Medal 

Nicholle Zellner This year the DPS is awarding two Carl Sagan Medals for excellence in public communication. One goes to Dr. Nicolle Zellner (Albion College) for her effective and wide-ranging outreach activities, reaching diverse audiences and spanning more than 20 years. Dr. Zellner has spoken to thousands of people around the country and has reached millions more through her written articles, television appearances, radio interviews, and more. She uses every opportunity to convey her passion and enthusiasm for space science to audiences of all ages, often bringing these topics to audiences who might otherwise not seek them out. She regularly offers public observing nights at Albion College and encourages college and community members to look up, especially during worldwide events, such as the annual International Observe the Moon Night, the 2012 Venus transit, and the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse. Dr. Zellner co-founded the public observing program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a member of one of the first classes of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors, and is also a member of the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program.

 

 

 

Adam Frank – 2021 Carl Sagan Medal 

Adam Frank Also receiving the Carl Sagan Medal is Dr. Adam Frank (University of Rochester), for founding continuously sustained efforts and solid platforms from which science can be distributed to the public in an accessible form. He was the co-founder of the National Public Radio 13.7 blog, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and the creator of the Coursera course “Confronting the Big Questions: Highlights of Modern Astronomy.” The 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog was a highly trafficked science blog with yearly visits exceeding 13 million.  Frank has also been a regular on-air commentator for NPR’s news show “All Things Considered.” Dr. Frank contributes to other publications like The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Scientific American and has authored four popular books arguing for the beauty of science and against science denial. He was also science advisor for Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” and has appeared on numerous science documentaries such as Netflix’s “Alien Worlds”.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Turtle – 2021 Claudia J. Alexander Prize 

Elizabeth Turtle  The DPS is pleased to award the inaugural Claudia J. Alexander Prize recognizing outstanding contributions by a mid-career scientist to Dr. Elizabeth Turtle (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory). Dr. Turtle’s research contributions to understanding geophysical features on planetary surfaces, and the processes that drive them, span the solar system. She played an integral role in the analysis and interpretation of countless images from the Galileo and Cassini missions, building an intimate understanding of the mechanisms that shape the surfaces of satellites such as Io, Europa, and Titan. One of her most heavily cited papers, “Rapid and Extensive Surface Changes Near Titan’s Equator: Evidence of April Showers” (Science, 2011), demonstrates her creative approach of synthesizing data from three instruments on Cassini to tell a captivating story about an infrequent rain shower in Titan’s equatorial region. It is also clear that Dr. Turtle’s impact on planetary science will only grow. She currently leads two major projects slated to broaden humanity’s understanding of the habitability and potential for life on two of the most enchanting ocean worlds in our solar system: the Europa Imaging System (EIS) on Europa Clipper and the New Frontiers Dragonfly mission to Titan. Dr. Turtle exemplifies leadership in the field by any metric and is extremely dedicated to public outreach and engagement well beyond the scientific community.

 

 

Camille Carlisle – 2021 Jonathan Eberhart Award 

Camille Carlisle The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Science Journalism Award for distinguished popular writing goes to Camille Carlisle for her article “Rugged Worlds” in the May 2020 issue of Sky & Telescope. In this thoroughly researched article, Carlisle provides a riveting account of the surprising discoveries and challenges encountered by the OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 spacecraft during their visits to asteroids Bennu and Ryugu, respectively. She compares and contrasts the two missions, provides an overview of their contributions to asteroid science, and addresses the new questions raised by the findings. Her writing brings the excitement of planetary science to the general public. The article is a wonderful contribution to the field and will no doubt increase public interest in not only the two space missions but also more widely in solar system exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 9 Aug 2021

Call for DPS 2021 Prize Nominations

Deadline: April 15, 2021
 
Every year the DPS recognizes exceptional achievement in our field. Please consider nominating a respected colleague for one of the annual DPS prizes. 
 
The DPS sponsors five prizes:
 
The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize [prizes/kuiper] recognizes and honors outstanding contributors to the field of planetary science.

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize [prizes/alexander] recognizes excellence and achievements by a mid-career scientist. 

The Harold C. Urey Prize [prizes/urey] recognizes and encourages outstanding achievements in planetary research by an early-career scientist.

The Harold Masursky Award [prizes/masursky] recognizes and honors individuals who have rendered outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through – but not limited to – engineering, managerial, programmatic, editorial, or public service activities.

The Carl Sagan Medal [prizes/sagan] recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award [prizes/eberhart] recognizes and stimulates distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences.
 
DPS members and the planetary science community-at-large are encouraged to submit nominations for DPS prizes.
 
A complete nomination submitted by the deadline will be considered by the DPS Prize subcommittee for 3 years (i.e. for this year’s award, next year’s award, and the year after that), or for the duration of a candidate’s eligibility, whichever is less. Please fill out the nomination form [prizes/eberhart#Nomination], and it will be submitted to the prize subcommittee. The Eberhart Award has different rules and procedures than the other DPS Prizes, please see its page [prizes/eberhart-nomination-form] for more information. 
 
Scroll to the bottom of prizes for rules and procedures.
 
Questions: Email [email protected]

 

Note: Deadline was extended from 1 April to 15 April

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize in Planetary Sciences

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize recognizes a mid-career scientist who has made and continues to make outstanding contributions that have significantly advanced our knowledge of planetary systems, including our solar system. These contributions can be experimental, observational, and/or theoretical in nature and achieved in the laboratory, office, and by observations with ground-based and space-based instruments and telescopes. Criteria for consideration and selection include but are not limited to:

  1. Innovative and creative nature of the candidate’s research:  The candidates for the new prize must have made outstanding research contributions that have a broad and significant impact on their research area and/or opened up new areas that have advanced the practice of planetary science. As this is a mid-career award it is expected that the candidate has continued to make outstanding contributions beyond the period of eligibility for the Urey prize (8 year post final college degree). 
  2. Leadership in the field:  The candidate should be engaged in the broader research community and committed to professional development at a broad level, as demonstrated by leadership positions in their institutions, professional societies, advisory and service committees, editors of scientific journals, engaged in public outreach and service, etc., as appropriate for a mid-career researcher and their circumstances.
  3. Collaboration:  The candidate demonstrates evidence of collegial collaborations, good citizenship, and mentors students, post docs, and/or colleagues at an earlier career stage to train the next generation of planetary scientists.
  4. Ethics:  The candidate for nomination is expected to follow the AAS Code of Ethics (https://aas.org/policies/ethics) and the nomination letter should include a statement to that effect. 

Candidates for the new prize must have held a recognized terminal college/university degree (not necessarily a PhD or D.Sc.) for at least 8 years and not more than 25 years at the end of the calendar year of the award.  In documented special circumstances, the committee may extend this time limitation by a moderate amount to allow for career breaks.  In unusual circumstances where the candidate has no college/university degree, the committee can determine the equivalent 8-year threshold from the candidate’s educational and training background.

The prize will consist of a certificate and a citation, accompanied (except for a posthumous recipient) by a cash award, in an amount to be determined by the DPS Committee.

The recipient of the prize will be invited to present a lecture on a subject of their choosing. This lecture will normally be given at a DPS meeting, but an alternate venue may be arranged by the recipient and the DPS Committee. The recipient will also be invited to publish a written version of the prize lecture.

This prize was first announced in 2020 and the first winner will be honored at the 2021 DPS meeting.

All DPS members are encouraged to submit nominations for this prize.

Alexander Prize Winners

2023Amy Simon
2022Martha Scott Gilmore
2021Elizabeth Turtle

2020 Prize Recipients

Wing-Huen Ip – 2020 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize 

Wing-Huen Ip

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to award the 2020 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science to Professor Wing-Huen Ip at the Institute of Astronomy, National Central University, in Taiwan, for his contributions to advancements in comet plasma physics, solar-system dynamics, and magnetospheric interactions with atmospheres and solid surfaces. One example of his seminal contributions includes his paper in Nature that presented a model for the formation of magnetism-free cavities at Comet Halley; three decades later, the same phenomenon was seen on 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta.

Wing has been a ceaseless promoter of the scientific exploration of the solar system in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He was the founding president for the Asia-Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS), which brought together the geosciences community and planted the seeds of planetary science in the Asia-Oceania region, since becoming one of the world’s leading international scientific organizations, forging new collaborative links between a wide range of fields across the globe.

Wing’s leadership and service has had a significant impact on the international planetary science community, and he has been involved in a variety of international missions to targets throughout the solar system. He is known as one of the three fathers of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan and played a key role in getting the mission started. He has also participated as a co-investigator on numerous planetary missions including the Rosetta mission, ESA’s Giotto mission to Comet Halley, NASA’s International Cometary Explorer mission, and NASA’s Deep Space-1 mission to Comet Borrelly. He has exerted a strong influence on planetary science through international collaborations and the training and inspiration of young scientists.

In recognition of his scientific productivity, leadership, international collaboration, generosity, and passionate pursuit of solar system exploration, it is with great pleasure that the DPS awards the 2020 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize to Wing-Huen Ip.

 

Rebekah Dawson – 2020 Harold C. Urey Prize 

Rebekah Dawson

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to award the 2020 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by an early career scientist to Dr. Rebekah Dawson (Pennsylvania State University) in recognition of her groundbreaking research on planetary dynamics, the formation of planetary systems, and the characterization of exoplanets on close-in orbits. Her work combines a deep understanding of planetary dynamics, innovative statistical analysis of astronomical data, and keen insight into emerging trends to yield breakthrough science in both our own solar system and exoplanetary systems.

Rebekah has sorted out complex phenomenology with elegant and precise theoretical work, which has both clarified the interpretation of puzzling observational results and pointed the way toward tests of the models with future observations. An example of this is her early work on understanding radial-velocity data for multiplanet systems, where she re-analyzed archival data for planet 55 Cancri e and discovered previous misinterpretations; in doing so she paved a path for future observations to correctly characterize both this exoplanet and others. Throughout her varied projects that typically connect theory to observations, Rebekah has incorporated advanced statistical methods while keeping the focus on important scientific questions, setting an example for successful incorporation of new techniques in the field.

Rebekah has been invited to produce several reviews, including a synthesis of Kepler results and a comprehensive analysis of the formation of hot Jupiters. Her review paper on hot Jupiters is a milestone in that it synthesizes, interprets, and forecasts the state of the field for a wide range of researchers studying these enigmatic objects. She also exemplifies scientific leadership in her organization of prominent conferences and involvement in planning future NASA missions such as the Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Telescope (LUVOIR).

In summary, Rebekah Dawson has examined both new and long-standing scientific problems and through interdisciplinary and systematic analysis has changed the field’s view of several important concepts. The DPS is proud to award the 2020 Urey Prize to Rebekah Dawson.

 

Heidi Hammel – 2020 Harold Masursky Award 

Heidi Hammel

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to award the 2020 Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science to Dr. Heidi B. Hammel (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) for her extensive and impactful service spanning nearly 30 years. She has served in many positions within the DPS and AAS, culminating in her service as DPS Chair (2013-2015). Her professional activities include a diverse set of advisory boards, editorial boards, panels, committees, task forces, and councils. She also participated and sometimes led many Telescope Allocation Committees (TACs) and review boards for Keck, IRTF, Spitzer, and Hubble; for Discovery missions; and Research and Analysis panels.

Heidi has a unique reputation as an advocate for the entire planetary science community, often ensuring that observatories and other facilities consider the full range of science opportunities pertinent to planetary science. For example, as an Interdisciplinary Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), she dedicated all of her guaranteed time to the community. Going even beyond that, she solicited input broadly from the solar-system community to create a comprehensive scientific program that would provide maximum science benefit, waiving all proprietary time for the data so that the solar-system researchers have immediate access.

As a tireless proponent for exploration of the distant ice giants, both via Earth-based astronomy and future space missions, Heidi provides a passionate voice for a broad swathe of observers and theorists studying the outer solar system and looking beyond the era of Cassini, Juno, and New Horizons. Among all of these activities, she makes public outreach and inspiration of the next generation of scientists a high priority, mentoring students and professionals alike. Early in her career she became a well-known “face” of planetary astronomy during the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 encounter with Jupiter. Her ability to communicate science to the public is effective and well-received.

This broad range of service highlights her depth and breadth of knowledge, leadership, commitment to mentoring, and programmatic diplomacy, all of which she continues to apply to the benefit of the planetary science community today. DPS is proud to honor Heidi B. Hammel with the Masursky Award.

 

Ray Jayawardhana – 2020 Carl Sagan Medal 

Ray Jayawardhana

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to award the 2020 Carl Sagan Medal to Dr. Ray Jayawardhana (aka RayJay) for outstanding contributions to the dissemination of planetary science research to the general public. Like Carl Sagan was, Dr. Jayawardhana is an active, accomplished academic scientist; he is now Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University.

Ray has published four popular books to widespread acclaim. His first was Star Factories: The Birth of Stars and Planets, followed by Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System, which served as the basis for an hourlong CBC TV documentary. His book Neutrino Hunters was published in seven countries and received a Canadian Science Writers’ Association book award in 2013. His most recent book, Child of the Universe, is aimed at kids and builds on the legacy of Carl Sagan by revealing our deep and enduring links with the cosmos. Like Carl, Ray has traveled the globe bringing astronomy to diverse audiences through lectures and the media.

As a popular professor, Ray taught thousands of nonscience majors in introductory astronomy courses. Over three decades, Ray has written frequently for many prestigious and widely read publications, including The Economist, Science (beginning as an undergraduate at Yale), New Scientist, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Astronomy, and Sky & Telescope. Lately Ray has become a frequent contributor to the highly influential, highly selective op-ed pages of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. His science writing has been recognized by an American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2003, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, and the Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach of the American Physical Society in 2018. Asteroid 4668 Rayjay is named after him.

While reaching out to the general public, Ray has remained a highly published and cited scientist and has been honored repeatedly for his research accomplishments in the fields of exoplanets and planetary formation. The DPS is proud to recognize Ray Jayawardhana for his outstanding public communications on the accomplishments of planetary scientists and astrophysicists with the award of the 2020 Carl Sagan Medal.

 

Christopher Crockett – 2020 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Science Journalism Award 

Christopher Crockett

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to award the 2020 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Science Journalism Award for distinguished popular writing to freelance writer Dr. Christopher Crockett for his article “How the Moon Landings Changed Our View of the Solar System” published in Knowable magazine on July 16, 2019.

Dr. Crockett started out as a professional astronomer, receiving his PhD in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2011. He worked at Lowell Observatory and the U.S. Naval Observatory, where he focused on a search for young exoplanets. In 2016 his work led to the discovery of a giant exoplanet around the classical T Tauri star CI Tau.

In 2013 Dr. Crockett began his journey as an astronomy writer after he was awarded a Mass Media Fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since then he has worked for Scientific American, Science News, and Sky & Telescope magazines. Currently, he works as a freelancer covering a wide variety of topics ranging from planetary science and astronomy to physics. His work reaches a large audience through several popular science magazines.

In his winning article, published during the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Dr. Crockett describes how the lunar samples returned by the Apollo astronauts continue to transform our understanding of the evolution of the solar system to this day. He describes how the analysis of the samples led to theories that include a period of planetary migration and heavy bombardment on the Moon, and how recent studies cast doubt on these theories. The article emphasizes the need for future lunar exploration and sample return to answer outstanding questions about the solar system.

The DPS is proud to confer the 2020 Jonathan Eberhart Award on Chris Crockett for his outstanding article and to celebrate Knowable magazine for publishing it.

2019 Prize Recipients

Maria Zuber – 2019 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Maria ZuberDPS awards the 2019 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science to Maria Zuber (MIT) for her contributions to advancements in geophysics, planetary gravity mapping, and laser altimetry. One example of her seminal contributions includes her paper in Science in 2000 combining Mars Global Surveyor laser altimetry data and gravity data to determine the crustal and upper mantle structure of Mars. Another example is her leadership as principal investigator of the GRAIL mission to construct a model of the Moon’s gravitational field to spherical harmonic degree 1,800, which exceeds the baseline requirement of the mission by an order of magnitude. Dr. Zuber has turned her attention to many different solid bodies in the solar system including Mercury, Venus, Eros, Vesta, and Ceres. Over the years she has advised a number of students and postdocs, and one reports that she strikes the perfect balance of being demanding, supportive, encouraging, and open minded.

 

 

 

 

Kelsi Singer – 2019 Harold C. Urey Prize

Kelsi SingerDPS awards the 2019 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist to Kelsi Singer (SwRI). We award this prize in recognition of Dr. Singer’s work in impact cratering and in the geology and geophysics of icy worlds. In one paper, she used Cassini observations of Iapetus to create a catalog of landslide data and tested theories of long-runout landslides. Dr. Singer also used secondary craters on Europa and Ganymede to produce size-frequency and size-velocity distributions for icy blocks that revealed fundamental scaling relationships. In recent work, she used the cratering record on Pluto and Charon to determine that there is a deficit of small objects in the Kuiper Belt, with implications for the collisional history of the Kuiper belt and planetesimal formation. Dr Singer’s work is meticulous, rigorous, and insightful. In the best tradition of scientific brilliance, she examines data with an open mind, considers multiple theories, follows those theories to their logical conclusions, quantifies her uncertainties, and applies healthy skepticism toward her results. Photo credit: Rayna Tedford

 

 

 

Phil Nicholson – 2019 Harold Masursky Award

Phil NicholsonDPS awards the 2019 Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science to Phil Nicholson (Cornell University). A highlight of his service to the community has been his role as Editor in Chief of Icarus for 20 years. During his tenure he improved the experience for authors, reduced time to publication, and increased access. Dr. Nicholson was dedicated to the integrity of the peer review process; he gave everyone the chance to have their voice heard. His work as Editor in Chief, in addition to his full load of teaching and research duties — as well as his volunteer efforts on numerous committees and review panels — makes him an icon of service to the planetary science community.

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Nugent – 2019 Carl Sagan Medal

Carrie NugentDPS awards the 2019 Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public communication to Carrie Nugent (Olin College) for her compelling and effective outreach to a worldwide audience. In her highly rated Spacepod podcast, Dr. Nugent interviews other scientists about their work, providing the public with a wide and deep view of planetary science research. Through Spacepod, she has enabled hundreds of members of our community to share their science with the public. Dr. Nugent is an engaging speaker with more than 1.3 million views of her TED talk on asteroid hunting. She uses clear, evocative language to make solar system discoveries accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Boyle – 2019 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Science Journalism Award

Rebecca BoyleThe Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Science Journalism Award for distinguished popular writing goes to Rebecca Boyle for her article “Pictures of Worlds to Come” in the December 6, 2018, issue of Nature. In this eloquently written feature, Rebecca explores the rapidly evolving field of planet formation, which lies at the intersection of planetary science and other branches of astronomy. She brings to light the giant strides being made in imaging protoplanetary disks by vividly describing the extremely detailed images taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and other facilities. She addresses the challenges presented by such observations to theories about planet formation and how researchers are working on reconciling those. Rebecca beautifully wraps together historical insights, the latest science, and potential paths forward to paint a vibrant picture of this exciting field.

2018 Prize Recipients

Julio Ángel Fernández Alves – 2018 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Julio Angel Fernandez AlvesDPS awards the 2018 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science to Julio Ángel Fernández Alves (Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay) for his research focusing on the origin of the solar system and the physical and dynamical evolution of comets.   Prof. Fernández’s 1980 paper “On the Existence of a Comet Belt Beyond Neptune” inspired the search for and discovery of the Kuiper belt. In the same year he published another seminal paper showing that Oort cloud comets should come from the Neptune-Uranus region, having been scattered by those planets’ perturbations; this population of scattered disk objects has also been found. His third seminal contribution introduced the fundamental concept behind the present formation models involving massive migrations of the planets in the early solar system. In addition to his scientific contributions, Dr. Fernández has been tireless in inspiring and promoting the interaction and integration of South American planetary scientists with colleagues around the world.

 

 

 

Francesca E. DeMeo – 2018 Harold C. Urey Prize

Francesca DeMeoDPS awards the 2018 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist to Francesca DeMeo (MIT). We award this in recognition of the broad foundational understanding of the study of solar system bodies using the modern system of asteroid classification that bears her name. With reflectance spectra of thousands of asteroids she used the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy as a tool leading to our modern understanding of the geologic structure of the asteroid belt. The compositional complexity revealed by her analysis provides independent, observational evidence fully supporting dynamical models demonstrating greater mixing of bodies in the early solar system than previous observations indicated.

 

 

 

 

Faith Vilas – 2018 Harold Masursky Award

Faith VilasDPS awards the 2018 Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science to Faith Vilas (National Science Foundation). During a time of national duress following the chaos of the 9/11 attack, she insured the integrity of the Discovery program selection process. As the first Chair of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group, she established its operational practices and made it the viable entity that continues today. As Chair of the DPS, Vilas played a key role in establishing the Carl Sagan Medal, which was the first major statement in support of the importance of communicating our science with the public. She has mentored and inspired young people who have become well-known figures in our profession, and others who have taken an appreciation of our science into other careers. She has served on numerous Academy and NASA panels. Her service to the field and to society has been exemplary.

 

 

 

 

Bonnie J. Buratti – 2018 Carl Sagan Medal

Bonnie BurattiDPS awards the 2018 Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public communication to Bonnie J. Buratti (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) for her effective education and public outreach with a measured and demonstrably, high impact. She is noted for conducting teachers’ workshops, delivering popular public talks, and written work appearing in encyclopedias, blog posts, and a recently published, popular book, “Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar.” She brings personal anecdotes combined with clear explanations of science, accompanied by stunning images that bring our science to the public for their enlightenment and enjoyment. Buratti also advocates for others to engage with the public and initiated the DPS program called “Trick or Treat and Telescopes,” a program the division hopes will grow.

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Witze − 2018 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award

Alexandra WitzeDPS presents the 2018 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award for distinguished popular writing to Alexandra Witze for her article “Next Stop, Mars” in the January 19, 2017, issue of Nature. After setting the high stakes involved in bringing back samples from Mars, Witze describes how NASA plans to tackle the daunting task of keeping the samples pristine. Witze takes readers on a wonderful journey through the Jet Propulsion Lab, where the Mars 2020 rover is being built, and introduces some of the people leading the immense project. She beautifully conveys the extreme levels of cleanliness essential to detecting life on another planet and the rigorous planning that goes on behind the scenes. Witze ends the article by describing the rationale behind selecting the landing site for the Mars 2020 rover and looks ahead at potential missions that would carry the precious samples back to Earth.

2017 Prize Recipients

Margaret G. Kivelson — Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Margaret KivelsonThe Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to planetary science goes to Margaret G. Kivelson (University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Michigan) for her work studying Jupiter’s magnetospheric plasmas to understand the interiors of planets and their moons. Kivelson’s pioneering discoveries of an ocean inside Jupiter’s moon Europa and a magnetic field generated by neighboring Ganymede showed us that these icy bodies are not inert but dynamic worlds. Her insights have spurred us to recognize that habitability need not depend on proximity to the Sun in the traditional habitable zone. As a direct result of Kivelson’s advancements, we now recognize that the ocean worlds of the outer solar system may represent our best chances for discovering life beyond Earth.

portrait painted by Pamela Davis Kivelson

 

 

 

 

 

Bethany L. Ehlmann — Harold C. Urey Prize

Bethany EhlmannBethany L. Ehlmann (California Institute of Technology) will receive the Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by an early-career scientist for her work using spectroscopy to determine the mineralogy of Mars’s surface and the extent of the red planet’s previous habitability. Dr. Ehlmann’s discovery of carbonates, serpentines, and clay minerals in Mars’s most ancient rocks shows that multiple types of clement and hospitable environments existed early in Martian history, especially the most ancient groundwater-fed environments as yet unvisited by rovers. Her inspiring work has motivated the development of Mars exploration strategies and methods, has been applied to other solar system bodies, and will continue to drive planetary science forward.

 

 

 

 

 

Louise M. Prockter — Harold Masursky Award

Louise ProckterReceiving the Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service to planetary science is Louise M. Prockter (Lunar and Planetary Institute) for her tireless participation and leadership serving on National Research Council boards and NASA committees, which has ensured that the community’s voice is heard and that science priorities are established and followed. Her work with engineers has extended the scientific return of multiple NASA missions beyond their original goals. By setting up support groups and mentoring female scientists, Prockter ensured faster development of early-career researchers who have made strong contributions to the field. By choosing to serve, Prockter and the committees on which she has participated have advanced the field of planetary science and engaged more scientists successfully in discovery.

 

 

 

 

 

Megan E. Schwamb — Carl Sagan Medal

Megan SchwambThis year the DPS is awarding not one, but two Carl Sagan Medals for excellence in public communication by active planetary scientists. One medal goes to Megan E. Schwamb (Gemini Observatory) for the creation and development of new tools and venues to facilitate planetary science communication. Schwamb created the Astrotweeps project in which a different astronomer drives the same Twitter account (@astrotweeps) each week. She started Astronomy on Tap to promote direct dissemination of planetary science in bars and restaurants. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Schwamb’s outreach work, though, revolves around creating a channel for communication in the other direction by enabling amateurs to contribute to ongoing research. The citizen science of Planet Hunters and Planet Four, facilitated by Schwamb, form the basis of this new mode of interaction.

 

 

 

Henry B. Throop — Carl Sagan Medal

Henry ThroopAlso receiving the Carl Sagan Medal is Henry B. Throop (Planetary Science Institute) for his efforts to kindle interest in worlds beyond Earth throughout the developing world. Throop’s presentations in South Africa, India, Namibia, Botswana, Nepal, and Mexico reach audiences who might otherwise not be exposed to planetary science. He closely collaborates with teachers and works with a diverse group of students and the public to stimulate their curiosity and show them how they can explore the world around them. With his engaging personality and genuine interest in interacting with students and teachers in far-flung places, Throop presents a positive face for science using planetary exploration as a driver.

 

 

 

 

Joshua Sokol — Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award

Josh SokolThe Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award for distinguished popular writing goes to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based science writer Joshua Sokol for his article “Hidden Depths” in the 13 August 2016 issue of New Scientist. In his thoroughly researched and beautifully written story, Sokol explains how icy worlds far from the Sun’s warmth, such as Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, can maintain subsurface oceans. After describing the otherworldly environment of our own planet’s deep seafloor and the creatures that dwell there, he explores how hydrothermal and chemical processes within extraterrestrial oceans might support microbes or other forms of life. Sokol’s article ends with the compelling and provocative suggestion that ice worlds with concealed oceans may be the norm, making Earth — with its exposed oceans — an outlier.

2016 Prize Recipients

Stanton Peale – 2016 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Stanton Peale

Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science is awarded to the late Dr. Stanton J. Peale (University of California at Santa Barbara) for his substantial and broad contributions to planetary science, particularly in the areas of planetary dynamics, planetary interiors, and the search for extrasolar planetary systems.  His application of rigorous mathematical modeling to understanding the interiors of planets and moons led to the prediction that Io, one of the moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo, would exhibit active volcanic eruptions. Soon after this prediction, the Voyager 1 spacecraft discovered the first example of active volcanism outside the Earth.  He devised an ingenious procedure to determine whether Mercury’s core is molten, a procedure that was successfully implemented using radar observations. His other significant contributions included studies of the Laplace resonance, a celestial dance linking Io to other Galilean moons, and the spin-orbit behaviors of several planets and satellites. Toward the end of his career, Dr. Peale turned his attention towards the search for and dynamical characteristics of extrasolar planets. Before his death on May 14, 2015, Dr. Peale was an emeritus professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009, and he was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Geophysical Union. He holds a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and asteroid 3612 Peale was named after him in recognitions of his achievements. He received his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1965.. 

 

 

 

Leigh Fletcher – 2016 Harold C. Urey Prize

Leigh Fletcher

Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist goes to Dr. Leigh Fletcher (University of Leicester) in recognition of his ground-breaking research in understanding physical and chemical processes in the atmospheres of the outer planets. His research uniquely combines the acquisition and interpretation of both spacecraft and ground-based observations of thermal emission, coupled with theoretical models, which translate the data into physical properties, providing new insight into dynamics of these atmospheres and constraints on their origins. His work has resulted in insights to such phenomena as the distribution of temperatures, chemicals, and clouds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot; the chemical make-up of Saturn’s atmosphere which reveals clues about its origin; the identification of the cloud levels responsible for the brightening of a planetary-scale region in Jupiter; the discovery of a major hot vortex in the stratosphere of Saturn; the implications of changes of Saturn’s temperatures and gaseous constituents for variability in its dynamics; and the distribution of stratospheric temperatures and minor constituents in Neptune.  Dr. Fletcher is currently a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Leicester. He received his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2007. 

 

 

 

 

Mark Sykes – 2016 Harold Masursky Award

Mark Sykes

Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration goes to Dr. Mark V. Sykes (Planetary Science Institute) for his significant contributions to fostering a positive research environment for planetary scientists.  Examples of his advocacy for planetary sciences include authorship of NASA’s first spacecraft data rights policy; providing groundwork for the first decadal survey for Solar System studies and organizing, editing and publishing the first collection of community white papers on all aspects of planetary science, which is now a standard practice; establishing and for nine years editing the weekly Planetary Exploration Newsletter (PEN), which now has over 3000 subscribers; and successfully rallying astronomers around the world against an effort to build a development near Mt. Hopkins in Arizona that would have led to substantial light pollution near major telescope facilities. He was a founding member of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group and served both on the steering committee and as chair. He has been a tireless advocate of planetary research and data analysis programs, fairness and integrity in the peer-review process, and NASA budget transparency.  He has been an advocate in Congress for competed planetary missions and research. Dr. Sykes served the DPS in many capacities, including a term as Chair. He established the Division’s Federal Relations subcommittee, began annual meetings between DPS leadership and NASA officials, and established regular outreach between DPS leadership and early career planetary scientists.  Finally, over the past twelve years he greatly expanded the Planetary Science Institute, where he is the Director, to be the largest non-government employer of planetary scientists today. Dr. Sykes received his PhD from the University of Arizona in Planetary Sciences in 1986.  He holds a Juris Doctor from the same institution and is a member of the Arizona Bar.  He is also a professional opera chorister.

 

 

Yong-Chun Zheng – 2016 Carl Sagan Medal

Yong-Chun Zheng

Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public goes to Dr. Yong-Chun Zheng (National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for his tireless promotion of planetary sciences to the Chinese public and for his explanations of Chinese science to the western world.  As an investigator on Chang’E-1 and Chang’E-2 with expertise in lunar geochemistry and geology, he has delivered scores of talks at planetariums and science museums. He is a columnist for the Xinhua News Agency, and he is a frequent contributor to print and online publications such as China Science and Technology Daily that have millions of readers. Dr. Zheng blogs several times each day on the sites of the China Science Daily and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, with an emphasis in his writings about why the average person should care about topics in planetary science or astronomy in general. His blog at www.sciencenet.cn has been visited over 340,000 times, and he has written several books and book chapters for the general audience. His more than 100 popular articles have been published in The People’s Daily, Space Exploration, Military Digest, Newton Science World, and other publications. He often posts about NASA’s missions, including most recently about New Horizons and the recurrent seasonal gullies on Mars.  Dr. Zheng earned his doctoral degree in Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry from the Institute of Geochemistry, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2005. He currently serves as an associate professor in the Academy’s National Astronomical Observatories. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology in Macau, China. 

 

 

 

Nadia Drake – 2016 Jonathan Eberhart Award

Nadia Drake

Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award to recognizes and stimulates distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences. This year’s recipient is Nadia Drake, a freelance science journalist and contributing writer for National Geographic’s Phenomena website. She has a PhD in genetics from Cornell University on the topic of genomic imprinting, which was gained while simultaneously being principal dancer for the Ithaca Ballet. Since studying science communication at the University of California at Santa Cruz, she has been an intern at Nature, an astronomy reporter for Science News, and a reporter for Wired Science covering life sciences. Dr. Drake has written about rogue planets, human ancestors and giant spiders. She has a particular fondness for Iapetus, exomoons, words, and champagne. In her winning entry, titled “Scientists in Flying Telescope Race to Intercept Pluto’s Shadow”, Dr. Drake gives a highly engaging personal account of how astronomers are keeping tabs on Pluto’s puzzling atmosphere by chasing the planet’s shadow with a plane, the SOFIA Observatory. The article can be found at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150702-pluto-occultation-shad…