LPL Newsletter for November 2022

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

As usual, this month’s newsletter reports on the many wonderful goings-on at LPL. However I want to first take a moment to reflect on the tragic loss of Dr. Thomas Meixner of the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences on October 5. I knew Dr. Meixner as a fellow department head in the College of Science. He was a kind, thoughtful, and caring individual and all those who had the opportunity to work with him mourn his loss. Just back in August at the College of Science retreat, we discussed how to further nurture the natural connections between our two departments. Working towards this vision is one small way those of us in LPL can celebrate his inspirational life and memory.

If you would like to support the Meixner family, a GoFundMe effort to benefit Tom’s wife and their sons has been created. Funds will help create a foundation for moving forward with living and educational expenses. To honor his memory at the University of Arizona, the Dr. Thomas Meixner Memorial Fund has been created with a  crowdfunding page where donors can also share words of condolence. The Meixner family will direct these funds to a University of Arizona cause meaningful to them.

In the body of this month’s newsletter you can read about the work by LPL graduate student Adam Battle to connect a near-Earth asteroid with a particular class of “shock darkened” meteorites and find a link to a wonderful interview from the Planetary Society’s Planetary Radio podcast with LPL’s Melissa Brucker and Eric Christensen. There are also articles reporting on special recognitions for two of our amazing assistant professors, Dani DellaGiustina and Kris Klein. Finally, US News has ranked UA’s space sciences programs (primarily LPL and Steward Observatory together) as the #2 program among public Universities in the US and #10 in the world. I always advise taking such rankings with a healthy grain of salt, but we certainly appreciate the recognition of our collective efforts.

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Director and Department Head
Smoke trail in morning sky

Study led by LPL graduate student Adam Battle identifies a near-Earth asteroid as a potential source of `shock-darkened' meteorites

On the morning of Feb. 15, 2013, a meteor fell to Earth over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The resulting meteorites were of a certain type that until now didn't have an obvious near-Earth asteroid source.

UArizona space science ranking shines in latest US News Best Global Universities ranking

Led by research and publications from LPL and Steward Observatory, UArizona  earned its best placement in the space science category, placing No. 10 overall, No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 2 among public universities. 

Photo of Dani DellaGiustina lecturing

DellaGiustina named to Popular Science Brilliant 10

LPL Assistant Professor Dani DellaGiustina was chosen because of her work to understand the past and future of the solar system by studying asteroids. Her work also includes exploring the mysterious interiors of other worlds.

Photo of Kris Klein

Klein wins 2022 Landau-Spitzer Award

Dr. Kristopher Klein was recognized as part of a team for the theoretical development of the field-particle correlation technique and its application to spacecraft measurements directly showing that Landau damping heats electrons in turbulent plasmas that comprise Earth's magnetosheath.

Photo of Catalina Sky Survey 60" dome

Eyes on the Sky: Spacewatch and the Catalina Sky Survey

LPL is home to two of the most successful asteroid searches on our planet. Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan talks with the leaders of Spacewatch (Melissa Brucker) and Catalina Sky Survey (Eric Christensen).