Zuber Honored for Lunar Science Research

Helen Hill | EAPS News
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics Maria Zuber receives the 2017 Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal.

Maria Zuber’s research focuses on the structure and tectonics of solid solar system objects. She specializes in using gravity and laser altimetry measurements to determine interior structure and evolution and has been involved in more than half a dozen NASA planetary missions aimed at mapping the Moon, Mars, Mercury, as well as several asteroids. She was principal investigator for the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) and as such became the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission. Zuber currently serves as MIT's Vice President of Research.

The Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist medal, named after American geologist and one of the founders of planetary science, Eugene Shoemaker, recognizes outstanding achievement in exploration science. Zuber receives it "for her significant scientific contributions throughout the course of her career." 

The award is given by the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute SSERVI (formerly the NASA Lunar Science Institute) and will be presented at the 2017 Exploration Science Forum taking place July 18-20 at the NASA Research Park at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif at which time Zuber will give an invited lecture.



Maria Zuber received her BA in astronomy and geology from the University of Pennsylvania. She also earned ScM and PhD degrees, both in geophysics, from Brown University. Zuber later worked at Johns Hopkins University and served as a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. She joined the faculty of MIT in 1995 where, as chair of the Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences between 2003 to 2012, she became the first woman to lead a science department at MIT. 

Award Announcement

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