Shoemaker Award


The Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal is an annual award given by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of lunar and/or asteroid science throughout the course of their scientific career. The prize is presented and an invited lecture is given at the annual Exploration Science Forum held each July at NASA Ames Research Center. The first Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal was given posthumously to Eugene Shoemaker in 2009. The medal was presented to Eugene’s wife and scientific collaborator, Carolyn Shoemaker. The award includes a framed certificate and 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.”

Past Winners

Eugene Shoemaker 2009
Donald E. Wilhelms 2010
G. Jeffrey Taylor 2011
Stuart Ross Taylor 2012
William K. Hartmann 2013
Paul Spudis 2014
Carle Pieters 2015
James Head 2016
Maria Zuber 2017
M. Darby Dyar 2018
Harrison Schmitt 2019
Brad Jolliff 2020
Paul G. Lucey 2021

About Eugene Shoemaker

Dr. Eugene Shoemaker (1928-1997), a pioneer of lunar and planetary geoscience, inspired a generation of researchers studying the Solar System. During a long, highly productive, career with the U.S. Geological Survey in California and Arizona, he maintained close associations with NASA and Caltech. His earliest work was at Meteor Crater, where he analyzed in detail the formation process for impact craters. From there it was a logical step to lunar research, and to a senior science advisory position with the Apollo program. Gene used the extensive lunar data obtained by Apollo as a stepping-stone to illuminate broader issues in planetary science. He was especially interested in using cratering rates to develop consistent chronologies for the Moon, the Earth, and the inner planets. To obtain critical data on contemporary impact rates, he retrained himself in observational astronomy and devoted many years to asteroid and comet hunting, becoming an expert on the Near Earth Asteroids. Gene also played a lead role in identifying and quantifying the hazard to Earth from impacts by comets and asteroids. As a member of the Imaging Science Teams on the Voyager and Galileo missions, he extended this work to the numerous moons of the outer planets. Gene never forgot his roots in field geology, and in the last years of his life he devoted energy and enthusiasm to discovering and characterizing impact craters on Earth. He is a shining example for the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, whose teams study not only the Moon, the Moons of Mars, and near-Earth asteroids, but also collaborate across exploration and scientific disciplines to understand the nature and history of the planetary system in which we live.

Call for Nominations

The Director of SSERVI is responsible for selecting the recipients of the Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal. Recommendations from the community are strongly encouraged. The prize is open to the entire science community, including SSERVI team members and Principal Investigators. Nominations for the medal are welcome from anyone at any time, but should be submitted no later than March 7 for consideration in that calendar year. The nomination should summarize the contributions of the nominee and clearly state the qualifications and rationale for their selection (2000 characters; weblinks may amend the nomination). Nominees should be relatively senior scientists who have significantly contributed to advancements in lunar and/or asteroid studies, including research that relates the Moon, the Moons of Mars, or near-Earth asteroids. Advancements in our understanding of relevant comparative planetology issues can also be submitted to strengthen a nomination. The recipients do not need to reside in the U.S. or be a U.S. citizen. Nominees who are not selected will automatically become candidates for future consideration.