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Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference (LPLC) 2012


By Catherine Elder

In August, the grad students organized the 15th annual Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference. The first day of the conference featured a panel discussion entitled "Funding in Planetary Science: The present and future of our field".  The panel included LPL professors Alfred McEwen and Bill Hubbard, recent LPL graduate Kathryn Gardner-Vandy, and PSI scientists Mark Sykes and David O'Brien. The panelists shared their perspectives on topics ranging from mission budget overruns to job prospects for young scientists. The discussion was well received by the audience, who participated with many comments and questions, making for an excellent discussion on an important current topic that affects all those who work in or care about planetary science.


This year, for the first time, LPLC featured an award for the best presentation by a graduate student. The competition for this award was held on the morning of the second day of the conference, and featured 11 graduate students presenting their research. Three LPL professors judged the talks and presented Kat Volk with the award, for her presentation on "The origin of resonant Kuiper belt objects."  The quality of the graduate student presentations was such that the judges decided to add an award for the second best talk. This award went to Ingrid Daubar for her talk on "The Current Martian Cratering Rate and Possible Seasonal Variations."


Finally the conference came to a close with an exciting keynote presentation by Caitlin Griffith, about her recent discovery of equatorial lakes on Titan.


Overall, the 2012 LPLC was a complete success.  We hope to see everybody again next year.

FALL 2012

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