2007-03-21 | SCIENCE
John P. Grotzinger recipient of the 2007 Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal
John P. Grotzinger, Jones Professor of Geology at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), is the recipient of the 2007 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal. The Exobiology Principal Investigator is receiving an awards for contributions to biogeoscience - the study of the fundamental interactions between life and Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere and possible similar interactions between extraterrestrial life, should it prove to exist, and its environmental conditions on other planets.
The NAS awards the Walcott Medal every five years, it says. to encourage and reward individual achievement in advancing knowledge of Cambrian or Precambrian life and its history. (The pre-Cambrian and Cambrian periods in the geologic history of Earth cover the time from about 500 million to 4.5 billion years ago.) Grotzinger, who is currently Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology in the Department of Geological and Planetary Sciences at CalTech, is receiving this award (a medal and a prize of $10,000) "for the insightful elucidation of ancient carbonates and the stromatolites they contain, and for meticulous field research that has established the timing of early animal evolution." Grotzinger was awarded an exobiology research grant from NASA's Astrobiology Program in 1999, for his studies of the record of the origin and evolution of early microbial life and environmental conditions contained in pre-Cambrian carbonate sediments.
At least four previous Walcott Medal winners Hans J. Hofmann (2002), Andrew H. Knoll (1987, shared with Simon C. Morris), Preston Cloud (1977), and Elso S. Barghoorn (1972) are well known names in the history of NASA exobiology research.
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from NASA, NAS, Mar 21, 2007
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