50th Anniversary Celebration

The Gerard Kuiper Space Sciences Building

In 1960, Gerard P. Kuiper founded the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) in a tiny corner of the top floor of the University of Arizona’s Atmospheric Sciences Building, staffing the new laboratory with young scientists, many of whom became prominent in the field in the coming decades.

Fifty years later, many of LPL’s original founders are still active in the field of planetary science, and LPL has remained at the forefront of planetary studies, conducting research through astronomical observations, theoretical studies, spacecraft, and the studies of samples from space.

During this 50th anniversary year, we plan to hold a series of events, including special public events, lectures by some of the alumni, and an anniversary weekend for those who have passed through LPL.

Information on these special events will be posted here. This site already features interviews with many people who were a part of LPL’s first 50 years. We encourage you to join us in the celebration by contributing your own memories of LPL using the submission form on this Web site.

Timothy D. Swindle
Professor of Planetary Sciences
Department Head


LPL Anniversary Symposium Lectures (PDF)

Anniversary Banquet Speech: Dale Cruikshank (MP4, 20 min., 40MB)

Anniversary Weekend Snapshots

Share Your Memories

John Spencer, graduate student at LPL from 1980 - 1987, has shared these pictures of his time here.

Clark Chapman writes: I flew out to Tucson in late June 1962, stayed in the old Pioneer Hotel downtown, then put on my suit, and walked to campus, all the way to Steward Observatory on the far east side of campus, past all the empty fields... (More)

Stephen J. Shawl writes: My association with LPL is a peripheral one, but one that tells of an organization, and a person, who made a significant difference in the life of a graduate student... (More)