John Spencer will receive the 2016 Whipple Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of planetary science.
Citation—Sarah T. Stewart, University of California, Davis
I’m delighted (and amazed) to receive this honor, all the more so given the list of past recipients, which includes so many of my heroes. Like previous winner Steve Squyres, I wanted to be Larry Soderblom when I grew up—maybe this is a common condition among planetary scientists. Many others have made my career possible through their mentoring and inspiration. Pete Schultz in particular stands out for taking the chance of inviting a Lancashire lad to join the summer intern program at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in 1978, and showing me how much fun the process of discovery could be. Alan Stern also deserves special mention—my attempts to keep up with him have led me on an exhilarating and truly spectacular ride to Pluto and beyond. I will also always be grateful to Lowell Observatory and Southwest Research Institute for providing such congenial environments for my explorations.
The exploration of the solar system is one of humanity’s greatest adventures, revealing the beauty and wonder and interconnectedness of so many worlds, and showing what is special and precious about our own planet. It has been a great privilege to have been part of this enterprise during a time that will arguably be seen as its golden age.