The Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal is an annual award given by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of lunar and/or asteroid science throughout the course of their scientific career. The prize is presented and an invited lecture is given at the annual NASA Exploration Science Forum held each year. The award includes a framed certificate and a medal with the Shakespearian quote “And he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night.”
Dr. Eugene Shoemaker (1928-1997), a pioneer of lunar and planetary geoscience, inspired a generation of researchers studying the Solar System. During a long, highly productive, career with the U.S. Geological Survey in California and Arizona, he maintained close associations with NASA and Caltech. His earliest work was at Meteor Crater, where he analyzed in detail the formation process for impact craters. From there it was a logical step to lunar research, and to a senior science advisory position with the Apollo program. Gene used the extensive lunar data obtained by Apollo as a stepping-stone to illuminate broader issues in planetary science. He was especially interested in using cratering rates to develop consistent chronologies for the Moon, the Earth, and the inner planets. To obtain critical data on contemporary impact rates, he retrained himself in observational astronomy and devoted many years to asteroid and comet hunting, becoming an expert on the Near Earth Asteroids. Gene also played a lead role in identifying and quantifying the hazard to Earth from impacts by comets and asteroids. As a member of the Imaging Science Teams on the Voyager and Galileo missions, he extended this work to the numerous moons of the outer planets. Gene never forgot his roots in field geology, and in the last years of his life he devoted energy and enthusiasm to discovering and characterizing impact craters on Earth. He is a shining example for the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, whose teams study not only the Moon, the Moons of Mars, and near-Earth asteroids, but also collaborate across exploration and scientific disciplines to understand the nature and history of the planetary system in which we live.
Nominations for the Shoemaker medal should summarize the contributions of the nominee and succinctly state the qualifications and rationale for their selection (2000 characters). Shoemaker Medal nominees should be relatively senior scientists who have significantly contributed to advancements in scientific research that relates to the Moon and small bodies of the Solar System throughout their career.
Previous Awardees of the Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal
|Donald E. Wilhelms
|G. Jeffrey Taylor
|Stuart Ross Taylor
|William K. Hartmann
|M. Darby Dyar
|Paul G. Lucey
|Lisa R. Gaddis