Professor Melosh selected as Purdue's 2014 McCoy Award winner
Jay Melosh, a distinguished professor internationally known for his work on impact cratering, planetary tectonics, and the physics of earthquakes and landslides, is the 2014 recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award, the most prestigious research honor in the natural sciences given by Purdue University.
Melosh, a distinguished professor in the College of Science's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, will be formally recognized this fall during the McCoy Distinguished Lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 19. Melosh also has professorship appointments with the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
"Although professor Melosh has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his stellar career, we highlight several recent outstanding contributions to planetary research that typify the depth and breadth of what we value in our Herbert Newby McCoy Award winners," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in announcing this year's winner. "His work has been instrumental in discovering vital information - from the global effects of meteorite impacts on Earth to the possibility that life could have hopped from Mars to Earth or vice versa."
Melosh's research focuses on numerical modeling of the physics and chemistry of impacts at scales ranging from the Deep Impact event on comet Tempel 1 to the Mars-size object that impacted the Earth 4.5 billion years ago and created our moon. He also studies the exchange of microorganisms between the planets and the origin of life. His recent research includes studies of the K/T impact that extinguished the dinosaurs and the ejection of rocks from their parent bodies.
"I'm certainly honored and humbled to join the fraternity of past McCoy Award winners at Purdue University who share a love of research and celebrate those days in the laboratory with our students when we realize we might be onto something that will provide a deeper understanding of our universe," Melosh said.