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2016/10/21

2016 McKay and Wiley Award Recipients

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The Gordon A. McKay Award

 The McKay award honors the memory of Gordon A. McKay. The award is given each year to the student who gives the best oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Society. This year’s award is given to Danielle N. Simkus (University of Alberta) for her presentation "Compound-specific carbon isotope compositions of aldehydes and ketones in the Tagish Lake meteorite".



The Wiley Award

Sponsored by the publisher of Meteoritics and Planetary Science, four Wiley Awards are given each year for outstanding oral presentations by students at the Annual Meeting. This year’s awardees are Kelly. E. Miller (University of Arizona) for the presentation "Copper sulfides in the R chondrites: evidence of hydrothermal alteration in low petrologic types", Sheryl Singerling (University of New Mexico) for the presentation "Synchrotron x-ray fluorescence analysis of trace elements in focused ion beam prepared sections of carbonaceous chondrite iron sulfides (CM and CR) and associated metal (CR)", Timo Hopp (University of Münster) for the presentation "Ruthenium isotope fractionation during crystallization of planetesimal cores" and Gavin G. Kenny (Trinity College, Dublin) for the presentation "Impact crater environments as potential sources of Hadean detrital zircons".


Wiley Award recipients (from left) Kelly. E. Miller, Sheryl Singerling, Timo Hopp and Gavin G. Kenny

15:12 | News
2016/07/14

In Memoriam

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Andrei Valerievich Ivanov
September 20, 1937 - July 7, 2016

      On July 7, 2016, Andrei Valerievich Ivanov passed away after a struggle with cancer.  Andrei was our friend and colleague, a distinguished scientist, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, member of the Meteoritical Society, and a leading researcher at the Vernadsky Institute’s Laboratory of Meteoritics.

     Andrei Valerievich graduated from the Department of Geochemistry of the Geology Faculty of Moscow State University (MGU) in 1960.  He joined the Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry at the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry (GEOKHI) in 1962, and worked there for eight years.  From 1969-75, Dr. Ivanov worked at the USSR Institute for Space Research (IKI), then returned to the Vernadsky Institute in 1975 and remained there throughout his further career.

     Andrei's scientific career focused on investigations of extraterrestrial materials.  His work on fine-grained (10+ micron) spherical deposits of probable extraterrestrial origin, found in peat and salt deposits from the region of the Tunguska explosion, were widely known.  Beginning in the late 1960s, Andrei was a major participant in the receiving and study of the first lunar samples returned to Earth by the Soviet robot moon landers.  He told wonderful stories of opening the sample-return capsules in the vacuum glove chamber, and seeing the lunar soil emerge before his eyes.

     Andrei's lunar research focused on the effects of space environmental factors on the formation conditions of the lunar regolith.  In 1971 this became the foundation of one of his major scientific reports, "Anti-oxidative properties of ultradispersed, simple materials on the surfaces of extraterrestrial bodies."

     Andrei Valerievich committed nearly 30 years to the study of the unique Kaidun meteorite.  Through his investigations, he identified new types of meteorite material and discovered a series of new mineral phases, including the new mineral florenskyite, an unusual phosphide (FeTiP) found in Kaidun.  Andrei’s colleagues later identified an even rarer isomorph (FeCrP) and named it andreyivanovite in his honor.  Andrei’s studies were the first to find traces of fluid metasomatic changes in the components of Kaidun.  Andrei defended his Doctoral dissertation in 2003 based on his work with the Kaidun meteorite.

     Dr. Ivanov was the author of over 200 scientific publications, and in 1977 was awarded the USSR's Medal "For Labor Valor."

     The asteroid 5761 Andreivanov was named in Andrei's honor.  It orbits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter with a closest approach (perihelion) of 1.8 astronomical units (AU), aphelion of 2.7 AU, eccentricity of 0.35, inclined at 9.2 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic.  It orbits the Sun every 4.5 years and has a rotation period of 11.7 hours.  Its composition is currently unknown.

     In recent years, Andrei Valerievich worked on systematizing and cataloging the Vernadsky Institute's collection of lunar samples.  He saw this as his personal duty to future generations of lunar investigators.

     Andrei's passing is an irreplaceable loss for the Laboratory of Meteoritics and the whole Vernadsky Institute.  His personality naturally combined professionalism, broad interests, highest ethics and openness to people.  All of us could always count on his kind words, advice and help!  His wisdom in life and broad knowledge were always available.  Dear Andrei, we will miss you!

     Friends and colleagues from Vernadsky Institute.


Andrei on an Antarctic meteorite expedition, 1980-1981.
16:33 | Obituary
2016/06/24

In Memoriam

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Gerald J. Wasserburg, 1927-2016

     Gerald J. Wasserburg (aka Jerry) passed away on June 13, at the age of 89. Jerry Wasserburg was an icon (better: a giant) in the meteoritics and planetary science community, a relentless figure in the Apollo Program and influential in the field of isotope geochemistry. He served as President of The Society (1987-1988) and was awarded the Society’s Leonard Medal in 1975. At the time of his death, he was the John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology.

     Jerry Wasserburg was born in New Brunswick, NJ, in 1927. He served in the army during World War II by lying about his age. After his service in the military, he earned his high school degree, and enrolled in college at Rutgers University. With Henri Bader as his advisor and mentor at Rutgers, he transferred to University of Chicago, where he earned a B.Sc. degree in Physics in 1951 and an M.Sc. in Geology, in 1952.  He got a job running a mass spectrometer in Harold Urey's lab and in 1954 earned a Ph.D. with a thesis on a new technique of potassium-argon dating under the guidance of Harold Urey and Mark Inghram, at the University of Chicago. After a year as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago, he joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology, as an Assistant Professor in Geology and Geophysics, promoted to full Professor in 1962, and appointed the John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics in 1982. He retired in 2001, but remained active, incisive, and in the forefront, until the very end, with a paper in press, at the time of his death.

     Jerry Wasserburg's research spans a wide range of topics including Earth's interior, dating Apollo lunar samples, dating the early Solar System, isotopic studies of pre-solar grains and making major contributions to developing the 40K-40Ar, U-Pb, 87Rb-87Sr, 234U-230Th, 40K-39Ar, 187Re-187Os and 147Sm-143Nd systems. He pioneered the precise isotopic measurements of ultra-small samples under strict clean room conditions with minimal contamination. He developed the first fully digital mass spectrometer with computer controlled magnetic field scanning and rapid switching, which was absolutely necessary for the work on the returned Apollo samples, both for dating and for the pioneering work on Gd, for addressing secondary neutron capture in lunar samples and the stratigraphy of the upper meters of the lunar regolith and rocks.  His work with Typhoon Lee and Dimitri Papanastassiou led to the discovery of the presence of short-lived radionuclide 26Al in the early solar system and the discovery of short-lived 107Pd with William R. Kelly. Wasserburg made major contributions to the study of refractory inclusions in the Allende CV chondrite. He actually collected some samples himself from the Allende strewn field (1969) and received some Allende stones from Al Burlingame (UCSF).  Some of his work led to discovery of refractory inclusions in Allende with unusual, correlated isotopic properties in magnesium and oxygen and in a slew of other elements (Ca, Ti, Cr, Fe, Sr, Ba, Nd, Sm) indicating a combination of isotope fractionation and unknown nuclear effects, dubbed as FUN inclusions.

     Jerry Wasserburg received numerous Awards and honors during his career. He was a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1972), the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He received the Arthur L. Day Medal in 1970, the Wollaston Medal in 1985, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1991 and the Bowie Medal in 2008. The work on Sr-Nd isotope correlations on terrestrial basalts culminated in the award of the Crafoord Prize in Geosciences, by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1986 (co-recipient with C. J. Allègre). He was the recipient of several honorary degrees. He received the J. F. Kemp Medal with Paul Gast in 1973, the Harry H. Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union in 1985,the J. Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 1985, the Arthur L. Day Prize & Lectureship of the National Academy of Science 1981, the Holmes Medal of the European Union of Geosciences in 1986 and the V. M. Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society in 1978.

     He was particularly appreciative of the awards to him of NASA Distinguished Public Service Medals in 1972 and in 1978 (with cluster), to reflect his many years of trying to introduce science (and science funding) into the Apollo Program. Along with Jim Arnold, Bob Walker and Paul Gast (The Four Horsemen) his efforts were instrumental in President Nixon reinstating two (Apollo 16 and Apollo 17) of the four Apollo J missions, which Nixon had originally canceled. Jerry was also instrumental in convincing NASA of the need to build a safer and cleaner Lunar Curatorial Facility, at JSC, to replace the LRL (the original Lunar Receiving Laboratory) and a Remote Lunar Facility (originally in San Antonio, at the Brooks Air Force Base). He was successful, despite Sen. Proxmire's Golden Fleece Award to NASA for these efforts. Jerry was also instrumental in seeking continued funding of the work on lunar samples, well past the last Apollo mission.

     He will be remembered as a key and critical contributor at the LSC and then LPSC meetings, in Houston and for pursuing science with impeccable taste and innovation. He will also be remembered as a relentless competitor in science and also as an educator and mentor of generations of scientists in geochemistry, cosmochemistry and nuclear astrophysics. 
13:56 | Obituary
2016/05/06

Pellas-Ryder Award for 2015

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     For 2015, the Committee for the Paul Pellas-Graham Ryder Award found that two of the nominated papers were of equal excellence. Thus, the Award for the Best Student Paper in Planetary Sciences for 2015 has been given to two students this year, Romy D. Hanna, a graduate student in the Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin and Tanya Harrison, a student at the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario. The award to Romy Hanna is in recognition of the paper “Impact-induced brittle deformation, porosity loss, and aqueous alteration in the Murchison CM chondrite,” which was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, volume 171, 256-282. The award to Tanya Harrison is for her paper “Global documentation of gullies with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera and implications for their Formation”, which is published in Icarus volume 252, 236-324.


  Romy D. Hanna (left) and Tanya Harrison

     The Pellas-Ryder award is jointly sponsored by the Meteoritical Society and the Planetary Geology Division of Geological Society of America.
14:17 | News
2016/04/11

In Memoriam

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Roy S. Clarke, Jr., 1925-2016

     Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Emeritus Curator in the Dept. of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution, passed away on April 1, 2016, at the age of 91.   Born January 23, 1925, Roy followed distinguished service in the Army during WWII with studies at Cornell University, earning his B.A. in 1949.   Early in his career, he was employed at the U.S. Geological Survey as an analytical chemist, while earning an M.S. at George Washington University in 1957.  He transferred to the Smithsonian in October of 1957, where he would remain through his retirement in December of 1993 and as an Emeritus Curator since retirement.   Roy began his career as an analytical chemist within weeks of the launch of Sputnik and, before long, began analyzing the chemical composition of meteorites.   Roy’s research interests centered on understanding the origin of iron meteorites, particularly coarse-structured irons rich in phosphorus.   Upon the retirement of Ed Henderson in 1965, Roy assumed the role of Curator-in-Charge of the U.S. National Meteorite Collection.  He became an active member of the Meteoritical Society, serving as Secretary of the Society from 1967-1970.    He played a pivotal role in the acquisition of the Allende meteorite in 1969, traveling to Mexico to acquire thousands of individual stones.   He returned for his PhD later in life studying at George Washington University, where he graduated in 1976.   At almost the same time as earning his PhD, Roy would be involved in the contentious legal acquisition of the Old Woman meteorite, which would become the largest single meteorite in the Smithsonian’s collection and, coincidentally, was a coarse-structured iron meteorite rich in phosphorus.  Roy played a pivotal role in the formation and management of the U.S. Antarctic Meteorite Program, a cooperation between the Smithsonian, NASA and the NSF.  Upon retirement, Roy’s interests turned to the history of meteoritics and the history of The Meteoritical Society.  This led to a series of papers about meteoritics at the Smithsonian among other topics.  Roy did an outstanding job of growing the National Collection of meteorites, and provided countless outside investigators with material for their study.  In 2014, he was awarded The Meteoritical Society’s Service Award.  Roy was preceded in death by his wife Grace and survived by three daughters and numerous grandchildren.   A memorial service is being planned by the family.


Roy Clarke at the reception held in honor of him
receiving The Meteoritical Society’s Service Award.

18:35 | Obituary
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