Lunar and Planetary Institute
Lunar and Planetary Institute



Stuart Ross Taylor Receives 2012 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award

July 11, 2012
Source: NLSI

Stuart Ross Taylor The NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) is pleased to announce that Stuart Ross Taylor of the Australian National University will receive the Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award for 2012. Taylor is one of the pioneers of lunar science, having studied lunar samples since the first Apollo sample return in July 1969. His books, such as Lunar Science: A Post-Apollo View, have greatly influenced a generation of lunar and planetary scientists. As a member of the Preliminary Examination Team at the NASA Johnson Space Center, he carried out the first analysis of the first lunar sample returned to Earth. Subsequently, as a NASA principal investigator for 20 years, he worked on models for lunar composition, evolution, and origin.

The Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Medal 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 Gene Shoemaker and presented to his wife Carolyn. The award was subsequently named after 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." Previous Shoemaker medalists include Don E. Wilhelms (2010) and G. Jeffrey Taylor (2011). The prize is presented at the annual Lunar Science Forum held each July, sponsored by the NLSI.

Taylor grew up on a farm in New Zealand and earned both M.S. and B.S. degrees in chemistry and geology at the University of New Zealand before completing his Ph.D. in geochemistry at Indiana University under advisor Brian Mason. He lectured at the Universities of Oxford and Cape Town before moving to the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, where he is currently an emeritus professor. He has also had many appointments at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston as a visiting scientist, and in 2005 was the LPI's first Heritage Fellow.

His research involves studies of the composition and evolution of the Moon, Earth's continental crust, tektites and impact glasses, island arc rocks, and many other topics involving trace-element geochemistry. He has published 240 scientific papers and nine books, including Lunar Science: A Post-Apollo View, Planetary Science: A Lunar Perspective, Solar System Evolution: A New Perspective, Destiny or Chance, The Continental Crust (with Scott McLennan), and Planetary Crusts (with Scott McLennan).

Taylor has been awarded the Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society, the Leonard Medal of the Meteoritical Society, the Bucher Medal and the Bowen Award of the American Geophysical Union, and the Gilbert Award of the Geological Society of America. Asteroid 5670 is named Rosstaylor. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; and holds honorary fellowships of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Geological Society (London), and the Geological Society of India. He is a former president of the Meteoritical Society, holds a doctor of science degree from Oxford, and is a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

For more information, visit

Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Medal

Ross Taylor Joins Order of Australia



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Last updated July 11, 2012