The Meteoritical Society Newsletter

(November 1999)

A report of the business carried out by the Society over the past year, compiled by Edward R.D. Scott, Secretary.

  • President's Editorial
  • New Council
  • Meteoritics & Planetary Science
  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
  • Society Awards and Honors
  • Annual Meetings
  • Finances
  • Other committees and activities.


    Michael J. Drake

    It's been a great year for the Meteoritical Society! Uwe Reimold and colleagues did a wonderful job of organizing and running the Johannesburg meeting and associated functions. The Vredefort field trip was terrific, and I have heard similar laudatory comments about the Barbeton trip. On a personal note, I found South Africa fascinating. The flora and fauna are spectacular, as was the scenery, especially in the Cape Town area. And I think we all found the South African cultural scene both inspiring and daunting as the country enters the 21st century.

    As always, there are special people and families who provide generous help to the Society. The Barringer family has continued its support of graduate student travel and the Barringer Medal, and this year supported the inaugural Barringer lecture which was given by Clark Chapman. And Anna Southgate who provided student travel support as well. The Society is extremely grateful for this generous support. Speaking of medals, this year's medallists were Grenville Turner (Leonard Medal), H. Jay Melosh (Barringer Medal), and Byeon-Gak Choi (Nier Prize). Congratulations to Grenville, Jay, and Byeon-Gak! In Chicago, the awardees are Günter Lugmair (Leonard Medal), Ralph Baldwin (Barringer Medal), and Mini Wadhwa (Nier Prize), again well-deserved recipients of our prestigious awards.

    There has been a change in Officers of the Society. It is my great pleasure to announce that Greg Herzog has been appointed by the Council as Treasurer of the Meteoritical Society, to fill out the unexpired term of Larry Grossman. Roger Hewins has graciously agreed to serve as Deputy Treasurer. Larry resigned because of deeply felt convictions which were not shared by the majority of the Council. Larry did an outstanding job during his short tenure. Non-paying members were cut from the membership list, tardy members were encouraged to pay dues, and the Society's finances were managed with great skill. The Society owes him many thanks.

    A word or two about Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. With the first issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta in the new millennium, our journal and the Geochemical and Meteoritical Societies enter a new era. Karl Turekian is retiring as Editor. Karl assumed the editorship with a clear mandate from the Meteoritical and Geochemical Societies to maintain and strengthen the journal. He set high standards for the journal with the goal of improving its already high quality. I believe that he has achieved that goal. The Meteoritical and Geochemical Societies both owe a debt of gratitude to Karl.

    The two Societies have been fortunate to have attracted outstanding editors to the helm of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and the next Editor is no exception. We are most fortunate that Frank Podosek has agreed to serve. Frank is a broad and deep scholar with significant contributions in low temperature, high temperature, and planetary geochemistry, and is unusually well placed to edit a journal of such breadth. He intends to return to the system of Associate Editors used by Denis Shaw and Gunter Faure, and has a capable international group of scholars to assist him. I welcome Frank to his new role, and wish him the success that I am sure he will achieve in maintaining and improving Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta as one of the world's pre-eminent earth and planetary science journals.

    Let me turn to our own journal, Meteoritics & Planetary Science. Almost all first rate papers in meteoritics now appear in Meteoritics & Planetary Science, a tribute to the outstanding leadership of Derek Sears, who built on the strong foundations laid by John Wasson and, before him, Carleton Moore. Many other planetary sciences papers are now also published there. Hence the journal has grown in stature and size. It is probable that the journal will go to monthly issues in the next few years, as the volume of scholarship dictates. But there is a price. Meteoritics & Planetary Science is a no-page-charge journal. More pages cost the Society more money. Hence membership fees and library subscriptions must rise. But I'll put my money where my mouth is -- for me, Meteoritics & Planetary Science is a bargain! The challenge will be to ensure that the value of Meteoritics & Planetary Science increases faster than its cost.

    So let's look forward to a great year and I hope to see most old friends and colleagues and meet new ones at the first meeting of the new millennium in Chicago.


    A new Council will take office in January 2001 when Gero Kurat becomes President. A Nominating Committee was appointed this year to propose a slate of Officers and Councilors: Tammy Dickinson (chair), Monica Grady, Laurie Leshin, Hap McSween, and Ross Taylor. Their nominees are:

    Vice President     Thomas J. Bernatowicz  (U.S.)
    Secretary          Ed Scott               (U.S.)          2nd term
    Treasurer          Timothy Swindle        (U.S.)
    Councilors         Adrian Brearley        (U.S.)
                       Pat Cassen             (U.S.)
                       Christian Koeberl      (Austria)
                       Timothy McCoy          (U.S.)          2nd term
                       Marc Norman            (Australia)
                       Uwe Reimold            (South Africa)  2nd term
                       Sara Russell           (United Kingdom)
                       Meenakshi Wadhwa       (U.S.)

    According to the Constitution of the Society, nominations for other candidates require a petition signed by at least 3% of the Society's members and should be submitted to the Secretary by 15 February, 2000. Brief biographies of the nominated officers and councilors are listed below.


    Thomas J. Bernatowicz is Professor of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. His current research involves detailed laboratory observations of presolar grains from meteorites to draw inferences about physical conditions in circumstellar environments, using mass spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy.

    Ed Scott is a planetary scientist in the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai'i. He is an associate editor of Meteoritics & Planetary Science and his research interests include the origins of meteorites, asteroids and the terrestrial planets.

    Timothy Swindle is an Associate Professor of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. His research involves noble gas mass spectrometry of meteorites and lunar samples. He served as a member of the Meteoritical Society Council from 1991 through 1994.

    Adrian Brearley is Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico. His research is directed towards understanding the formation and alteration histories of chondritic meteorites using a variety of mineralogical and petrological techniques.

    Pat Cassen is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. His current research focuses on star and planet formation, the physics of circumstellar disks, and the application of astrophysical models to the formation of the Solar System.

    Christian Koeberl is Associate Professor of geo- and cosmochemistry at the University of Vienna. His research interests include all aspects of impact structures, as well as tektites, impact glasses, lunar meteorites, and general analytical geochemistry. He is also chairman of the "Impact" programme of the European Science Foundation.

    Timothy McCoy is currently the Curator-in-Charge of the U.S. National Meteorite Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. His research interests center on understanding the melting of small bodies in the early history of the solar system.

    Marc Norman is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Ore Deposit Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart. His research focuses primarily on using geochemistry and petrology to investigate the composition and origin of the Moon, Earth, and Mars.

    Wolf Uwe Reimold is Associate Professor of Mineralogy at the Department of Geology of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Besides various economic and regional geological research interests in southern and northeastern Africa, he is the Head of the Impact Cratering Research Group at Wits, which is dedicated to multidisciplinary studies of natural and experimental impact-induced deformation and geology of large impact structures.

    Sara Russell is the Cosmic Mineralogist at the Natural History Museum in London. Her main field of study is the petrology and isotope geochemistry of chondrites, with the aim of shedding light on (a) the nature of the presolar materials from which the solar system formed, (b) conditions within the solar nebula and (c) timescales involved in planetary accretion and differentiation.

    Meenakshi Wadhwa is Associate Curator at the Field Museum of Natural History. Her research interests include isotopic and trace element studies of various (primarily differentiated) meteorite types to constrain their timing and processes of formation.


    Meteoritics & Planetary Science
    Derek Sears (Editor)

    Council made two decisions in Johannesburg that signaled major steps in the growth of Meteoritics & Science. First, it was decided that the journal should be published electronically, in addition to the print copy mailed to subscribers, starting with the January 2000 issue. Second, the journal will go to publishing monthly issues when it has operated without a deficit for two years. (In 1998 and 1999, we incurred substantial losses due to our growth.)

    As a result, the journal is again at a critical stage as it continues to grow and mature. In 1990, the journal cost the libraries $60/year and was relatively small; now it is a major international journal worth far more and costing far more to produce. Compare it with its competitors:

    Journal     -- ISI Impact Ranking ------  Circulation   Pages   Cost to libraries
                 Score  Geoscience  Astronomy              in 1998
    MAPS         4.206     1st         (3rd)       1231      1368         $360
    GCA          2.696     3rd         (6th)      ~3750      3886        $1410
    Icarus       2.385    (6th)        8th          643      2493        $2070
    EPSL         2.654     4th         (8th)        NA       3818        $2490
    JGR-Planets  2.416     5th         (7th)        NA       ~950         $551
    Data from ISI and post office statements.
    Rankings for JGR-Planets are not available, those of JGR given. Its page number is an estimate.
    Rankings in parenthesis are interpolations.
    NA = information not available.

    We must make the journal operation viable financially. In order to do this and also give it the resources to grow in the way Council has decided, we are raising the library rates to $550/year (domestic) and $575 (overseas) for the year 2000. Unfortunately, this is a 53% increase that will alarm the libraries even though the journal remains a bargain. Many librarians watch cost increases more than they watch costs. Some pay careful attention to ISI ratings, some do not. Some take note of where their colleagues publish. Most base their subscriptions entirely on reader input. So, we are greatly dependent on our colleagues to help us maintain our library subscriptions as we weather these increases.

    There is another factor besides cost that distinguishes Meteoritics & Planetary Science from its competitors. All but one are run by commercial publishers and that exception is run by a huge professional society with the resources of a commercial publisher. Meteoritics & Planetary Science is produced by a small learned society and has always been a non-profit operation. Some commercial society journals charge individual subscribers a prohibitively high rate, which is not included in the annual dues, so they will persuade their institutional libraries to subscribe at the very much higher library rates. The Meteoritical Society has never subscribed to this policy, thinking that first and foremost the journal serves its members, even at the cost of the considerably more lucrative library subscriptions.

    Journals are not cheap to produce. True, electronic publication costs about one-tenth as much as print publication, and it could be argued that we should go entirely over to electronic publication. However, this misses two major points. First, the main function of a "journal" is not really to produce the hard copy that drops on our desk or the electronic copy that resides on the internet. Rather, it is to take the manuscripts submitted, and through the efforts of reviewers, scientific editors, and production editors, to turn them into publications of the highest quality our community can manage, or screen them out if necessary. This process is very labor-intensive, especially if it is to be done well and promptly. Most of us have learned how to post our work on the internet. Most of us could set our work in Times Roman, two column format, and make it look like a traditional printed page. But this is not "publication", this is "internet babble". Much harm has already been done by cavalier publication of scientific discussions on the internet. To be of value and to serve the traditional function required by the scientific method, our papers must pass through the peer review and revision process in the hands of competent colleagues. Our articles must have the imprimatur of a respected journal. Second, the internet is ephemeral. Individual web pages disappear as people retire, move on, or just change interests. Worse, individual web pages evolve imperceptibly, so no one knows what was actually cited when an article was written or when the individual web pages are subsequently consulted. Even more problematical, technology is evolving so rapidly that journals on the internet, especially the smaller journals or those run by profit-driven publishers, may not be converted to new technologies. (In addition, many of us will always prefer handling printed copy to sitting at the computer terminal.) The only way to reliably ensure that our work is properly archived is to place several hundred hard copies in libraries around the world.

    So, we will always require editorial and production facilities adequate for the purpose of producing our journal, and we must continue to pay a printer to print and mail hard copies. The journal is much larger than it was in 1990, the quality of the papers is much higher and the breadth of topics is much greater; growth is costly, and the growth has not ended. So we are reluctantly increasing the price of the journal to more realistic levels in order to cover the present costs and prepare the journal for its next few years of growth. I hope that all members of the Society will do all they can to ensure that the subscribing libraries continue to purchase Meteoritics & Planetary Science and that new libraries are persuaded to subscribe.

    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Frank Podosek

    Karl K. Turekian, Executive Editor of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, will retire from the editorship at the completion of his term at the end of 1999. He will be succeeded by Frank A. Podosek. Although the formal change of editorship will occur on January 1, 2000, there will be an overlapping transition period. Turekian will complete the processing of all manuscripts submitted through September 30, 1999, but new manuscripts submitted on or after October 1, 1999, should be sent to Podosek.

    Podosek will reinstitute use of the Associate Editor system for manuscript evaluation and advice to the Editor. The team of Associate Editors is in place and ready to begin work in October.

    Beginning October 1, new submissions should be sent to Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA. Although traditional hardcopy (paper) submissions will be accepted, electronic submission of either pdf-format or word-processor files will be encouraged. Authors should consult website for detailed information concerning manuscript preparation and submission procedures.

    Elsevier has now made abstracts and full text articles from Geochimica et Cosmochimica Actaavailable online. Interested investigators may visit the Elsevier homepage at or proceed directly to GCA at This service is available to anyone through December; beginning in January it will be accessible only to those at institutions that have a library subscription to GCA. The full-text articles require use of the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free from Adobe (those who have used the recent LPSC abstract CD's already have it).


    The Meteoritical Society has three awards:

    The Leonard Medal honors outstanding contributions to the science of meteoritics and closely allied fields. It was established to honor the first President of the Society, Frederick C. Leonard.

    The Barringer Medal and Award recognize outstanding work in the field of impact cratering and/or work that has led to a better understanding of impact phenomena. The Barringer Medal and Award honor the memory of D. Moreau Barringer Sr. and his son D. Moreau Barringer Jr. and are sponsored by the Barringer Crater Company.

    The Nier Prize recognizes outstanding research in meteoritics and closely allied fields by young scientists. Recipients must be under 35 years old at the end of the calendar year in which the Council selects them. The award honors the memory of Alfred O. C. Nier, and is supported by an endowment given by Mrs. Ardis H. Nier.

    The Leonard Medal

    The 1999 Leonard Medal was awarded to Grenville Turner for his pioneering development of the 39Ar/40Ar dating technique and for his outstanding research in noble gas isotope geochemistry. The citation for Turner that was delivered in Johannesburg by Robert M. Walker will appear shortly in Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

    The Leonard Medal for the year 2000 will be awarded to Günter Lugmair for his extensive and fundamental contributions to meteoritic, lunar, and terrestrial isotope geochemistry and the chronology of the early solar system.

    The Barringer Medal

    The 1999 Barringer Medal was awarded to H. Jay Melosh for his impressive theoretical studies of impact processes and crater formation on the Earth and other planets. The citation for Melosh was delivered in Johannesburg by Clark Chapman and will be published shortly in for Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

    The Barringer Medal for the year 2000 will be awarded to Ralph Baldwin. His pioneering work on hypervelocity impact craters and recognition of their importance in the geologic evolution of the Moon helped to establish the scientific study of meteorite impact phenomena as a new discipline in planetary science.

    The Nier Prize

    The 1999 Nier Prize was awarded to Byeon-Gak Choi for his studies on the oxygen isotopic composition of minerals in primitive chondritic meteorites. The citation for Choi by John Wasson appeared in this year's Supplement for Meteoritics & Planetary Science on page A8. Next year, the Nier Prize will be awarded in Chicago to Meenakshi Wadhwa for using studies of trace elements and isotopes to further our understanding of the Martian meteorites

    Award Committees

    The members of the Barringer Medal Selection Committee for 1999 are Richard Grieve (Chair), Alexander Deutsch, Tom Ahrens, and Friedrich Hörz. Next year David Kring will replace Richard Grieve and Alexander Deutsch will be the new Chair.

    The members of the 1999 Leonard Medal Committee, which nominates awardees for the Leonard Medal and the Nier Prize, are Jim Papike (chair), John Wasson, Elmar Jessberger, Urs Krähenbühl, and Ghislaine Crozaz. Next year Jim Papike will be replaced by Klaus Keil, and John Wasson will be the new Chair.


    Members are strongly urged to nominate candidates for the Society's awards and Fellows. Lists of previous award winners are available at the Society's website. Society members including members of the Council may submit nominations to the Chair of the appropriate Medal Committee or to the Secretary by January 15, 2000. Members of the Council and the Medal Committees are ineligible for consideration for the awards during their terms of office.

    Nominations for the Leonard Medal, and the Nier Prize should be sent to John Wasson, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; fax 1-310-206-3051.

    Nominations for the Barringer Medal should be sent to Alexander Deutsch, Institut für Planetologie, Westfallische Wilhelms University, Wilhelm-Klemm Str. 10, D-48149 Münster, Germany; fax: 49-2-51-83-39083.

    Nominating letters for the awards should include (a) a biographical sketch of the candidate; (b) a summary and evaluation of the accomplishments of the candidate and the importance of the candidate's work, (c) a list of publications covering the work to be considered for the award. One or more seconding letters in support of the nomination are required for the Leonard and Barringer Medals and strongly encouraged for the Nier Prize.

    Nominations for the Nier Prize should also include the candidate's birth date, and five reprints or copies of the relevant publications that must have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. If the research was performed and published with a research advisor or with multiple authors, a statement must be included that describes the nominee's leading role in the research.


    Members who have distinguished themselves in meteoritics or closely allied fields may be elected Fellows by the Council. Fellows are elected in even-numbered years. Nominations for Fellows should include a summary of the candidate's accomplishments and a list of 5-10 of the candidate's most significant publications including titles. They should be submitted to John T. Wasson, the Chair of the Leonard Medal Committee, by January 15, 2000. His address is Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; fax 1-310-206-3051. A list of Fellows was included in the 1998 Newsletter, which is available at the Society's website.


    1999, Johannesburg
    W. Uwe Reimold

    The 62nd Annual Meeting of the Society was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 11 to 16 July 1999. The meeting was hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand and organized by staff of the Department of Geology, with able assistance from members of the National Cultural History Museum and the Council of Geoscience in Pretoria, and the Astronomical Association of South Africa. Total conference participation was 262, comprising 121 members, 35 guests/spouses, 67 non-members, 21 student members, and 18 student non-members. A record number of 40 student and travel grants were awarded, largely due to the generous support from the Barringer Crater Company, the Meteoritical Society who made a special grant available to attract young participants from Africa and other southern hemisphere countries, and some sponsorships obtained by the local Organizing Committee. The scientific program consisted of 235 published abstracts, which were presented as 132 oral, 82 posters, and 21 print only presentations. A number of invited lectures were offered, including the inaugural Barringer Invited Lecture presented by Clark Chapman, two lectures on impact and igneous diamonds, respectively, by Iain Gilmour and Fanus Viljon, and two keynote lectures sponsored by the International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry given by Ed Scott and Jiba Ganguly.

    The highlights of the conference, however, were undoubtedly the public lecture by Carolyn Shoemaker at Rand Afrikaans University, where she presented an inspired account of her life and achievements with Gene Shoemaker, and the lecture by world-renowned paleo-anthropologist Phillip Tobias, who addressed a packed Great Hall at Wits on "Catastrophism and History of Life". Carolyn's attendance of the conference was made possible by comprehensive sponsorship from the Planetary Society, the Mineralogical Association of South Africa, and a grant from Anglogold. On the Wednesday, 14 July 1999, the conference embarked on a full-day outing to the Tswaing (Pretoria Saltpan) Meteorite Crater, where a commemorative plaque in honor of Gene Shoemaker was unveiled by Carolyn after a heartwarming dedication speech by Robin Brett. A crater hike and traditional African entertainment and food completed this outing, which was comprehensively sponsored by the Council for Geoscience and the Metropolitan Council of Pretoria. Other social functions included the Welcome Reception with an ethnic flavor provided by Tribal Dancers. Monday evening, a buffet dinner was hosted by the Mayor of the Western Metropolitan Council of Johannesburg. The banquet was held in the ballroom of the Wanderers' Club in Johannesburg - and, by a hair, wiped out the organizers' red wine supplies for that evening.....leaving just a bit for the Farewell party on the Friday afternoon....

    Several volunteer members of the Society - Alex Bevan, Monica Grady, Christian Koeberl, and Sandro Montanari - took part in a national lecture tour, which involved public lectures on meteorite and impact cratering themes in Johannesburg (AB, MG), Pietersburg and Thohouyandou (SM), Mafikeng and Gaberone (in Botswana; CK), Parow and Port Elisabeth (MG), and Durban and Richards Bay (AB), where audiences of up to 120 were lectured to and highly appreciated the efforts of these intrepid four. Carolyn Shoemaker, after the conference, travelled to Cape Town and presented another public lecture and a lecture at the university organized by the SAWISE - South African Women in Science and Engineering.

    A host of field excursions preceeded (Bushveld Complex, Namibia, Vredefort, ca. 60 participants) and followed (Vredefort, Barberton, Zimbabwe, ca. 81 participants) the conference, and gave a few examples of the outstanding geology, scenery, and wildlife the African subcontinent has to offer. Throughout the conference, daily tours into the surroundings of Johannesburg provided insight into the complex cultural and ethnic situation of this region, as well as some interesting wildlife and shopping experiences. Many conference participants had tailored their travels to South Africa by including personalized trips to various parts of the country (diving in the Indian Ocean, game safaris in Mpumalanga or in Botswana's famous Chobe and Okavango Swamp reserves, or the Natal Drakensberg Escarpment) ....incidentally, sometimes meeting up in the winelands of the Cape.... This apparently quite successful conference would not have been made possible without the extensive and highly professional support of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and many sponsorships received from Johannesburg's universities and many corporate supporters. As Chairman of the Organizing Committee, I would like to thank publicly all those individuals and organisations that supported this conference, not forgetting the members of the Society who dared to venture into the Dark Continent, and the Organizing Committee who for more than a year worked so hard!

    2000, Chicago
    Meenakshi Wadhwa, Andrew Davis

    The 63rd Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society will be held in Chicago from August 28 to September 1, 2000. The meeting is being jointly hosted by the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago. The meeting will be held at the Inter-Continental Hotel, which is located at 505 North Michigan Avenue in the heart of the "Magnificent Mile" in downtown Chicago. Chicago is a large cosmopolitan city and a popular tourist destination during the late summer and fall season. Hotel rates are high (particularly at this time of year), but we have negotiated an excellent rate for meeting participants. Rooms will be available for single or double occupancy at the US Government per diem rate for 2000 (the rate is currently $109 per night per room, not including taxes). This rate is substantially lower than those of other hotels in the center of Chicago and will be available for three days prior to and after the meeting for visitors who wish to stay a little longer. Additionally, for students and other meeting participants who may be interested in sharing the cost of a hotel room, we will provide assistance in arranging for roommates. The hotel is just north of the Chicago Loop and is within a short walk of several museums, many fine restaurants and lots of shops. The hotel itself has an interesting history. It was built as the Medinah Athletic Club in 1929 and has many interesting architectural details inside and out. You can learn more about the hotel at

    We will hold the opening reception for the meeting in Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum. This is a palatial space with several dinosaur and elephant mounts and is a popular spot for receptions for visiting dignitaries. On Tuesday evening, an outdoor barbeque will precede the poster session on the University of Chicago campus (which is about 8 miles south of the Loop). Several excursions are planned for Wednesday afternoon. Possibilities include: tours of Argonne National Laboratory or Fermilab; a geological tour of building stones in the center of Chicago; an architectural boat tour of Chicago; a trip to see the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries in Oak Park, just a few miles west of the Loop. On Wednesday evening, the banquet will be held at the Adler Planetarium. The Planetarium has recently been renovated and has a large dining area with a great view looking over the Monroe Street yacht harbor and the spectacular Chicago skyline.


    : Dr. Andrew M. Davis Department of the Geophysical Sciences The University of Chicago 5640 S. Ellis Ave. Chicago, IL 60637 phone: (773) 702-8164; fax: (773) 702-9505 email:

    Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa
    Dept. of Geology 
    The Field Museum
    1400 South Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605-2496
    phone: (312) 665-7639; fax: (312) 665-7641

    2001, Rome
    Guy Consolmagno

    The Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory) is delighted to invite the Meteoritical Society to hold its 64th annual meeting at Vatican's Gregorian Pontifical University on September 10-14, 2001. Though holding Vatican extraterritorial status, the University meeting site is in fact in the heart of Rome's historic city center, just two blocks from the Trevi Fountain and a short walk from the Forum, Colosseum, and Pantheon.

    As I write this (summer 1999) all of Rome seems to be under re-construction, as the city and all its monuments spruce themselves up for the large influx of visitors expected here in 2000 (which the Pope has declared as a "Holy Year".) Thankfully, that'll all be over by the time of our meeting... at least, most of the construction work should be done by then! As a result we'll be able to see Rome in better shape than it's been in a long, long time.

    Field trips: In addition to Rome's obvious historical and cultural attractions, we are also planning science oriented pre- and post-meeting field trips. One possible trip would take in Siena (site of the historic Siena fall and repository of the European Antarctic meteorite collection), Florence with its History of Science Museum and Galileo home, the famous K-T boundary section in Gubbio, and the Massignano Impact Structure. Another trip might encompass Mt. Vesuvius and its associated volcanic and historic sites. Wednesday day trips could include a choice of trips to the Vatican Museum, Vatican Gardens, the archeological excavations under St. Peter's, Tivoli, Ostia Antica, or the Vatican Observatory's headquarters (and meteorite collection) in Castel Gandolfo. We also hope to arrange for seats at the Wednesday Papal audience.

    Housing and travel: Rome lives on tourists, and has a large number of delightful small hotels. Rather than having one large hotel serve as our center for housing, we have arranged with Gastaldi Global Travel to be our agents for finding whatever level of housing suits your needs and budgets. Our web site will link directly with them, and they will be happy to answer all your travel questions.

    For further information contact: Guy Consolmagno SJ, Specola Vaticana, V-00120 Vatican City State, email: gjc@, or Vatican Observatory Research Group, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, email:

    Other Meetings

    Invitations have been accepted from the following:

    2002 Universities in Southern California
    2003 Institute for Planetology at the University in Münster, Germany
    2004 Brazilian Center for Physics Research, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Barringer Invitational Lecture

    This year the Barringer Crater Company established the Barringer Invitational Lecture to be given at Annual Meetings of the Meteoritical Society. Clark Chapman gave the first Barringer Invitational Lecture in Johannesburg. The following guidelines have been established for the future selection of Barringer Invitational Lecturers.

    The Barringer Crater Company has generously agreed to sponsor the Lecture by providing a $2,000 honorarium, and reimbursement of travel and lodging costs for the Lecturer to attend the meeting. Unless otherwise requested, this support will be given directly to the Lecturer by the Company, rather than through a Society Officer.

    The selection of the Barringer Lecturer will be made by the organizing committee of the Annual Meeting upon consultation with and consent of the President of the Barringer Crater Company. It is the intention that any candidate selected will be a speaker of unusually broad scope with outstanding speaking skills, who may or may not be affiliated with the field of meteoritics. It is further intended that the Barringer Invitational Lecture offer the opportunity for members of the Meteoritical Society to hear from a speaker whose comments may be provocative and challenging to the field. The topic of any Lecture will be on a subject of interest to all members of the Society, and should not be limited to technical discussions on meteoritics or related fields.

    While it is anticipated that the Barringer Invitational Lecture will be given annually, it is understood by the sponsor and the Society that in some years a qualified speaker may not be identified or available. In those years, the Barringer Invitational Lecture will not be held.

    Please send suggestions for possible speakers to the meeting organisers with a copy to Drew N. Barringer, Barringer Crater Company, P. O. Box 698, Decatur, Georgia 30031-0698. Tel: 404-378-9641, Fax: 404-378-7035; email:


    There are currently 953 members including 93 student members and 56 retired members.

    We are very grateful to the many members who have generously given gifts to the Society's Endowment Fund. The following members gave major gifts of $100 or more: Evans H. Burn, William A. Cassidy, Roy S. Clarke Jr., Bevan M. French, William Greenberg, Dorrit Hoffleit, Calvin Leroy Shipbaugh, Anna F. Southgate, John T. Wasson and William W. Welbon. The following members also gave donations: David J. Barber, Milton Blander, Giuseppe Bonino, H. W. Bottcher, Alfredo Brogioni, Marcela Bukovanska, Hans W. Bultemann, M. Christophe Michel-Lévy, Joan M. Coller, Ghislaine Crozaz, Herbert Csadek, Paul S. DeCarli, Donald Keith Dickson, Edmond Diemar, Robert T. Dodd, Takaaki Fukuoka, Michael J. Gaffey, Billy P. Glass, Joseph I. Goldstein, Ian Halliday, R. B. Hargraves, George E. Harlow, Robert M. Housley, Robert Hutchison, Eugene Jarosewich, Anthony John Jeffries, Lindsay P. Keller, Truman P. Kohman, Guenter W. Lugmair, Charles A. Lundquist, Harry Y. McSween, Daniel J. Milton, John W. Morgan, Barbara L. Narenda, John D. Obradovich, Minoru Ozima, Robert O. Pepin, Andrew W. Phelps, Leigh F. Phillips, George W. Reed Jr., Robert C. Reedy, John Reynolds, Linda Rowan, Gerald L. Rowland, John A. Russell, Jack Satkoski, Edward R. D. Scott, Carolyn Shoemaker, Lawrence A. Taylor, Stanislav Vrana, George Wetherill.

    Special gifts were given by William A. Cassidy in memory of J. Paul Barringer and Robert S. Dietz and to the Paul Pellas Memorial Fund. Mr. & Mrs Don Garland are thanked for their donation in the name of John O. Williams to the Endowment Fund. In addition we are most grateful to the Barringer Crater Company and G. Wasserburg for their continued and invaluable support in financing library subscriptions to Meteoritics & Planetary Science for former Eastern-bloc countries.

    Although the reserves of the Society are quite substantial there will be a budget deficit in 1999 because of the increased costs of producing our Society's journal, Meteoritics & Planetary Science. Because of this deficit, the Council voted for a substantial increase in the library rates for the journal in 2000 and a smaller increase in the annual dues. For the year 2000, full members will pay $90 and student members $45. The dues for 2000 include a subscription to Meteoritics & Planetary Science plus access to the electronic version. Passwords and identification codes will be included on the annual dues statements.

    The new Treasurer, Greg Herzog, will send out the dues statement for the year 2000 in early November. Please check carefully the address, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses on the dues statement, as this information will be used for the next edition of the Directory of Members, which will be prepared in March 2000. The MAPS office will assume that any information provided by a member on the dues statement is authorized for publication in the Directory.

    The Treasurer would appreciate your prompt response; late payment of dues may result in temporary suspension of your subscription to Meteoritics & Planetary Science and in some cases, GCA. Greg Herzog can be reached via email ( ) or at Department of Chemistry, Rutgers University, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, US; phone: 1 732 445 3955; fax: 1 732 445 5312).

    Investments Committee
    Hap McSween

    The Meteoritical Society's endowment continues to grow. As of May 1999, the value of the endowment fund was $173,379. This amount represents an increase of 28% over the amount which was originally invested during the second half of 1998. This total does not include the Nier Prize account, which is invested separately. Because the income from the Nier Prize endowment has increased signficantly, the Council, at the Committee's recommendation, has increased the award amount to $2,000. The Council also approved an expenditure of $4,000 from endowment funds to support the participation of students from African countries in the 1999 Johannesburg meeting.

    The Committee was approached by the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America to consider the establishment of a joint award. We have recommended, and the Council has approved, a jointly sponsored best paper award for students, covering all the fields of research identified on the cover of MAPS. An ad hoc committee representing the two societies will work out ground rules for the award, to be approved by the respective Councils.

    We greatly appreciate the generous contributions made to the endowment by many members and friends of the Society, and we urge others to consider including the Meteoritical Society Endowment Fund in their benevolences. The Committee solicits ideas for use of these funds from the Society's members. Please send your proposals and suggestions to Hap McSween (email:


    Nomenclature Committee
    Tim McCoy, Chair

    The Nomenclature Committee has had a very active year. Members for 1999 are Tim McCoy (Chair), Marina Ivanova, Brigitte Zanda, Adrian Brearley, Jörn Koblitz, Mini Wadhwa, Dietmar Weber, Dave Kring, Makoto Kimura, Monica Grady (Catalogue Editor), Jeff Grossman (Meteoritical Bulletin Editor) and Gero Kurat (Society Vice President). The discovery of new meteorites continues to be extremely active. Meteoritical Bulletin No. 83, which was published in the MAPS Supplement in July, announced 898 new meteorites, including 473 from Antarctica and 341 from the Sahara.

    Jeff Grossman has recently updated the Meteoritical Bulletin section on the Meteoritical Society's homepage to include an index for all meteorites announced from 1959 to the present. In addition, he has added back issues of the Bulletin to 1969 via links to NASA's Astrophysics Data System. This should make finding information about a specific meteorite much easier for everyone.

    Changes have also been made to the structure of the committee. The most notable of these is expanding from 9 "at-large" members to 12. This should allow us to have better geographic representation to cover the expanding collection of meteorites and make information about their recovery, classification and depositories available more quickly. We believe these new members will allow us to keep pace with an ever increasing recovery rate.

    Society Web site

    Paul Benoit who maintains the Society's web site at has been improving the site. It is rapidly becoming a highly valuable resource for members, other scientists, and the general public.