Alumni News

Dave O'Brien Cycles Across U.S.

LPL alum David O'Brien (2004) took his cycling to an extreme this summer, riding across the country, from San Francisco to Portsmouth, Vermont, and covering 4750 miles in 75 days. Dave's blog, with lots of photos and details about his trip, is available at http://www.cyclosaurus.net. When Dave is not on his bike, he's a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

fall 2013 Alumni News

Dave O'Brien Cycles Across U.S.

LPL alum David O'Brien (2004) took his cycling to an extreme this summer, riding across the country, from San Francisco to Portsmouth, Vermont, and covering 4750 miles in 75 days. Dave's blog, with lots of photos and details about his trip, is available at http://www.cyclosaurus.net. When Dave is not on his bike, he's a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

And...here's Dave at the end of his ride. Congratulations, Dave!

Blast from the Past courtesy Cliff Stoll

Just in time for the fall LPL newsletter—thanks for the wayback machine, Cliff Stoll (LPL class of 1980)!

fall 2013 Alumni News

Blast from the Past courtesy Cliff Stoll

Just in time for the fall LPL newsletter—thanks for the wayback machine, Cliff Stoll (LPL class of 1980)!


It's retro rocket time inside my attic. I came across a couple photos of the first graduate students from the Dept. of Planetary Sciences. Just scanned 'em in. These were all the grad students in 1976. Gerard Kuiper admitted the first grad students in 1973, so none of us had yet finished grad school. The crazies included Chris Benner, Bob West, Bob Howell, Bruce Cordell, Martha Leake, Guy Consolmagno, Cliff Stoll, Jon Gradie, Kevin Housen, Wayne Slattery, and Carl Allen.

Warm cheers to all,

-Cliff Stoll (on a balmy Monday afternoon in Berkeley)

Ann Sprague Retires

Senior Research Associate Ann L. Sprague retired on August 31, 2013, after a long career at LPL, where she began her work in 1984 as a Graduate Research Assistant. Ann is an LPL alumna, having earned her Ph.D. from LPL in 1990.

fall 2013 Alumni News

Ann Sprague Retires

Senior Research Associate Ann L. Sprague retired on August 31, 2013, after a long career at LPL, where she began her work in 1984 as a Graduate Research Assistant. Ann is an LPL alumna, having earned her Ph.D. from LPL in 1990. Her dissertation topic was,  "An Observational Comparison of Mercury and the Moon." In 1990, she received the department's Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award. A major focus of Ann's research was theoretical and observational studies concerning Mercury, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Comet SL-9. She also worked in the areas of visible and mid-infrared spectroscopy, thermal modeling of rough planetary surfaces, and modeling aspects of planetary atmospheres.  In 2003, Ann and Robert Strom published Exploring Mercury: The Iron Planet.

The LPL community extends best wishes for many happy adventures!

Faith Vilas Soars over Lake Michigan

On July 1, 2013, LPL alumna (1984) Faith Vilas flew across Lake Michigan in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first Lake Michigan crossing, made by her grandfather, Logan A. (Jack) Vilas, on July 1, 1913.

fall 2013 Alumni News

Faith Vilas Soars over Lake Michigan

On July 1, 2013, LPL alumna (1984) Faith Vilas flew across Lake Michigan in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first Lake Michigan crossing, made by her grandfather, Logan A. (Jack) Vilas, on July 1, 1913.

Faith's family, friends, and colleagues from the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) were there to greet her when she landed near Chicago's Navy Pier. Photos of the day are available from PSI: http://www.psi.edu/news/vilasflight.html and more detail about the flight and the history behind it is in a PSI press release.

2013 Shoemaker Award to Bill Hartmann

Congratulations to LPL alumnus (1966) William K. Hartmann, recipient of the 2013 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award. Bill is Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. The press release for the Shoemaker award describes some of Bill's many distinguished accomplishments:

fall 2013 Alumni News

2013 Shoemaker Award to Bill Hartmann

Congratulations to LPL alumnus (1966) William K. Hartmann, recipient of the 2013 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award. Bill is Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. The press release for the Shoemaker award describes some of Bill's many distinguished accomplishments:


Bill Hartmann Receives 2013 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award

The new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI)—formerly the NASA Lunar Science Institute—presented Bill Hartmann with the annual Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award at the 2013 virtual Lunar Science Forum, held July 16-18, 2013 from NASA Ames Research Center.

The Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award is an annual award given to a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of Lunar Science throughout the course of their scientific career. The first Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award was given posthumously to Dr. Gene Shoemaker and presented to his wife Carolyn for his many contributions to the lunar geological sciences. The award was subsequently named after Dr. Shoemaker and includes 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.” Last year’s Shoemaker award was presented to Stuart Ross Taylor.

“In view of his many fundamental and far-reaching breakthroughs in lunar science such as his discovery of multi-ring impact basins—including Orientale basin—Dr. Hartmann is exceptionally deserving of this medal,” said Yvonne Pendleton, director of the Institute. “We are proud to present him with this honor.”

Bill Hartmann is an internationally known scientist, painter, and writer, and winner of the first Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society. A former graduate student of Gerard Kuiper, he holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy and M.S. in Geology, both from the University of Arizona, and a B.S. in Physics from Pennsylvania State University. Bill discovered multi-ring impact basins with concentric and radial structure on the Moon, including the Orientale basin on the east limb of the Moon. In 1965 he used crater counts on the Moon and Earth to successfully predict the age of lunar lava plains at 3.6 x 109 years; the date was confirmed five years later with Apollo samples from the Moon. He was lead author, with D. R. Davis, of what has become the most widely accepted theory of the origin of the moon, by impact of giant planetesimal at the end of the planet-forming era. Bill has researched Mars extensively as well. He served as a Co-Investigator on the Mariner 9 mission, which first mapped Mars in detail. With Bruce Murray, Carl Sagan, and others on the imaging team, he discovered Mars' dry river channels, volcanoes, and other features. He currently serves on the Mars Global Surveyor imaging team.

Bill worked with Dale Cruikshank, David Tholen, and others to recognize that comets have similar black surface materials (4% reflectivity) to those on outer solar system asteroids. This research also yielded proof that Trojan asteroid 624 Hektor was one of the largest highly elongated bodies in the solar system, and the discovery that "asteroid" 2060 Chiron had erupted and turned into a comet. This work recognized that comets and asteroids could no longer be considered as independently as had been previously thought. Asteroid 3341 was named after him.

Bill is an internationally recognized painter of space art. Arthur C. Clarke wrote "I consider him to be the direct successor of the late, great Chesley Bonestell," the father of space art. Hartmann’s astronomical paintings have been published in magazines ranging from Natural History, Smithsonian, and Astronomy in the U.S. to the London Economist and other magazines in Japan, Russia, France, Germany, England, and Italy. They have also been shown in exhibitions in New York City, Berkeley, Pasadena, Hawaii, and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, as well as internationally in Moscow, Montreux, Yalta, and elsewhere, and are in collections the U.S., Paris, and Moscow. They have also been used to illustrate books by Carl Sagan and other authors, as well as his own books on astronomical and space themes. Bill was commissioned twice to create paintings for the NASA Fine Arts Program (Galileo space probe launch and Mars Observer Mission), and had two paintings flown on the Russian Space Station, Mir, in 1992.

A prolific writer, he has authored three widely-used textbooks on astronomy, and also co-authored and co-illustrated five pictoral books of space art. He has written two novels and published two books sharing his love of western deserts. His immensely successful “A Traveler’s Guide to Mars” sold out its first 30,000 copies and went into a second printing within two months. In 1992-95 he headed an effort for the Planetary Society and National Science Teachers Association to incorporate planetary science materials into the grade 6-12 curriculum. His book of lessons, "Craters!" was published in 1995 by the NSTA.

For more information visit: sservi.nasa.gov/shoemaker

Alumnus Update: Allen Hatheway

Allen Hatheway

spring 2013 Alumni News

Alumnus Update: Allen Hatheway

Allen Hatheway

Allen Hatheway (Ph.D., 1971) was the fortunate Kuiper/Strom candidate (1967-1969) selected to work out the terrestrial analogs for the lunar collapse depressions of the mare. His dissertation (Lava Tubes & Collapse Depressions, 335p., University Microfilms no. 71-26,297) was the result (along with two papers in LPL Communications).

Allen then went into regular geotechnical engineering consulting firms (California and Massachusetts) and was an adjunct instructor at USC and Boston University before joining the University of Missouri as a tenured full professor of Geological Engineering (1981-2000). His second "tome" (2012) is Remediation of Former Manufactured Gas Plants & Other Coal-Tar Sites (1400p). He lives in Rolla, Missouri, and remains forever thankful for his LPL association, with the best of good science.

Allen Hatheway

Pierazzo International Student Travel Award

Mark Sykes, CEO and Director of the Planetary Science Institute, has announced the establishment of the Pierazzo International Student Travel Award, which will be supported by Betty Pierazzo Memorial Fund.

spring 2013 Alumni News

Pierazzo International Student Travel Award

Mark Sykes, CEO and Director of the Planetary Science Institute, has announced the establishment of the Pierazzo International Student Travel Award, which will be supported by Betty Pierazzo Memorial Fund.

Mark forwards the following information about the travel award: "This award is established by the Planetary Science Institute in memory of Senior Scientist Betty Pierazzo to support and encourage graduate students to build international collaborations and relationships in planetary science. Two awards will be made each year, contingent upon there being meritorious applications. One will be awarded to a graduate student working on his or her Ph.D. at an institution within the U.S. This is to support travel to a planetary science related meeting (conferences and workshops) outside of the U.S. The second award will be to a graduate student working on his or her Ph.D. at an institution outside of the U.S. This is to support travel to a planetary science related meeting within the U.S. These include general meetings that have planetary-focused sessions such as the AGU, GSA, EGU and IAG. Additional information about this award is available athttp://www.psi.edu/pista. "

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