Press Release

AAS Division for Planetary Sciences Announces 2013 Prize Winners

By SpaceRef Editor
July 12, 2013
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The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce its 2013 prize winners.

Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science: Dr. Joseph Veverka has made outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science during a career that now spans five decades. He has to his credit a lifetime of outstanding contributions, that, in sum, represent a monumental increase in our understanding of planets and, in particular, small bodies — the moons, asteroids, and cometary nuclei in our planetary system. As a planetary scientist, he has defined the field of quantitative study of small bodies in the solar system for a generation (a generation populated by his students and many associates). Dr. Veverka is Professor Emeritus at Cornell University and the former James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences and Professor of Astronomy. He was the Deputy Team leader of the Galileo Imaging Science Team, and the Principal Science Investigator in the NEAR mission exploration of the asteroids Mathilde and Eros. He was also a member of the Voyager and Cassini imaging teams and led the exploration of comet nuclei on the Deep Impact and Stardust-NExT missions to Comet 9P/Tempel 1 and the EPOXI mission to Comet 103P/Hartley 2.

Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist: Dr. Anders Johansen’s pioneering work on planetesimal accretion and more recently on giant planet core formation has provoked paradigm shifts in a field which for years had been plagued by long-standing problems. By filling not one but two major gaps in one of the most difficult areas of solar system studies, Dr. Johansen’s findings represent one of the most significant contributions to the field. Dr. Johansen, currently Associate Senior Lecturer at the University of Lund in Sweden, obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Copenhagen University. He finished his Ph.D. in 2007 at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Leiden Observatory. Dr. Johansen obtained his docent degree from Lund University in 2013.

Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration: Dr. Ron Greeley was involved in nearly every major space probe mission flown in the solar system since the Apollo missions to the Moon, including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Magellan mission to Venus, Voyager 2 mission to Uranus and Neptune, and shuttle imaging radar studies of Earth. Passionate about Mars exploration, He was involved with several missions to the Red Planet, including Mariners 6, 7, and 9, Viking, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, and the Mars Exploration Rovers. He was a co-investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Mars Express mission. Dr. Greeley was a Regents Professor of Planetary Geology at Arizona State University until his death on Oct. 27, 2011. He received his Ph.D. in geology in 1966 from the University of Missouri at Rolla. Through service in the U.S. Army, he was assigned to NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1967, where he trained astronauts and helped prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon. After his military service ended, he remained at NASA Ames to conduct research in planetary geology. Dr. Greeley joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1977 with a joint professorship in the Department of Geology and the Center for Meteorite Studies.

Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public: Dr. Don Yeomans has been, for more than two decades, the “go to” person for reporters seeking a planetary scientist to illuminate the scientific middle ground between the sublime and the ridiculous. The inevitability of collisions between asteroids and the Earth is a topic that naturally engages public interest. Dr. Yeomans capitalized on his roles as manager of the NASA Near Earth Object Program Office at JPL and a co-investigator on the Deep Impact mission to build a lengthy resume of media appearances, outreach events, and popular press contributions. His calm demeanor and scientific rigor have helped to dampen doomsday hysteria and sound the all-clear on more serious potential risks (e.g., Apophis) when improved observations warrant. Dr. Yeomans received his Ph.D. from University of Maryland and worked as a contractor for the Goddard Space Flight Center before moving to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1976. He is a prolific author with more than 160 professional publications and numerous writings in the popular press. He has authored five books, most recently his 2012 work, “NEOs: Finding Them Before They Find Us.” In recognition of the importance of Dr. Yeomans’s role, he was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by TIME magazine.

Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award to recognize and stimulate distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences: Richard A. Kerr is a journalist who has spent his entire professional career covering Earth and planetary science news for Science magazine. Mr. Kerr studied oceanography at the College of Wooster. Following two deployments in the navy during the Vietnam War, he pursued a Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to science journalism. A testament to his unflagging effort to promote planetary sciences though Science is the 2012 article titled “Peering Inside the Moon to Read Its Earliest History.” The article focuses on the violent impact history of our Moon as observed by the GRAIL mission. For this engaging and stimulating article, the Division for Planetary Sciences is pleased to present the 2013 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award to Richard A. Kerr.

The 2013 DPS prizes will be presented at the 45th annual DPS meeting in Denver, Colorado, 6-11 October 2013.

Dr. Vishnu Reddy
DPS Press Officer
+1 808-342-8932

Dr. Rosaly Lopes
DPS Chair
+1 818-393-4584

More information about DPS prizes:

More information about the DPS annual meeting:

SpaceRef staff editor.