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SwRI researcher awarded Urey Prize

Boulder, Colorado - December 5, 2002 - The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded its Urey Prize in Planetary Sciences to Dr. Robin M. Canup, assistant director of the Space Studies Department at Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®). Canup was selected as the 2003 recipient of the award, named in honor of the late Nobel laureate Harold C. Urey, who made significant advances in the fields of physical chemistry, geochemistry, lunar science, and astrochemistry.

The Urey Prize recognizes outstanding achievements in planetary science by a young scientist. Canup was recognized for her groundbreaking research contributions on the moon's origin and dynamical evolution. She has published numerous technical articles on the origin of the moon, planetary and satellite formation, and the physics of planetary rings. She has also given many commentaries on television and the popular science journals, particularly on the formation of the moon.

"The Urey Prize is the world's premier peer recognition award for accomplishment by an outstanding young planetary scientist, and we are proud of the fact that SwRI nurtures young scientists and engineers to achieve great things," says Dr. S. Alan Stern, director of the SwRI Space Studies Department. "Robin is extremely hard-working, highly creative, and just plain smart. She provides a tremendous role model for what an outstanding young scientist can achieve."

"Her significant contributions at this age leave us hopeful for the many achievements yet to come," says J. Dan Bates, SwRI president. "SwRI will continue to support Robin and our other space scientists and engineers as they take humankind's understanding ever deeper into the solar system."

Canup holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Duke University and a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder; she joined SwRI in 1998. She will receive the Urey Prize and a cash award from the AAS at the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences in Monterey, California, in September 2003.

Editors: A photo to accompany this story is available at

For more information, contact Maria Stothoff, Communications, (210) 522-3305, Fax (210) 522-3547, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510.

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