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Faculty Research Award

Distinguished Professor H. J. Melosh
Earth and Atmospheric Science

Dr. H. J. Melosh received an AB degree in Physics from Princeton University in 1969 and a PhD in Physics and Geology from Caltech in 1973.  His principal research interests are impact cratering, planetary tectonics, and the physics of earthquakes and landslides.  His recent research includes studies of the giant impact origin of the moon, the K/T impact that extinguished the dinosaurs, the ejection of rocks from their parent bodies and the origin and transfer of life between the planets.  He is a science team member of NASA’s Deep Impact mission that successfully cratered comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, and will encounter comet Hartley 2 this coming November 4, the NExT mission that is returning to Tempel 1 on Feb. 14, 2011 and is also involved with the GRAIL mission that will obtain precision data on the lunar gravity field in 2012.

Professor Melosh is a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, the Geological Society of America the American Geophysical Union and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was awarded the Barringer Medal of the Meteoritical Society in 1999, the Gilbert prize of the Geological Society of America in 2001 and the Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union in 2008. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1996-1997 and a Humboldt Fellow at the Bavarian Geological Institute in Bayreuth, Germany, in 2005-2006. Asteroid #8216 was named “Melosh” in his honor. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2003.

He has published approximately 170 technical papers, edited two books and is the author of a major monograph, Impact Cratering: A Geologic Process. He is currently preparing a new book “Planetary Surface Processes” under contract to Cambridge University Press.
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