• Bethany Ehlmann
    Credit: Caltech

Bethany Ehlmann to Receive Urey Prize

American Astronomical Society to recognize Ehlmann for outstanding achievement in planetary research by an early-career scientist

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society has announced that Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann will receive the 2017 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievements in planetary research by an early-career scientist.

Ehlmann, professor of planetary science and Jet Propulsion Laboratory research scientist, received the award in recognition of her work using spectroscopy to determine the mineralogy of Mars's surface and the extent of its previous habitability. In particular, she has discovered minerals in the ancient rocks of Mars that indicate that hospitable environments once existed on the Red Planet, including groundwater-fed environments that have not yet been visited by rovers.

"Her inspiring work has motivated the development of Mars exploration strategies and methods, has been applied to other solar system bodies, and will continue to drive planetary science forward," notes Ehlmann's award citation.

An alumna of Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Oxford in England, and Brown University, Ehlmann joined Caltech as an assistant professor in 2011. DPS chair Lucy McFadden will present Ehlmann with the award in October at the 49th annual meeting of the DPS in Provo, Utah.

Established in 1899 and based in Washington, DC, the American Astronomical Society is an organization of professional astronomers in North America whose mission is to "enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the Universe." Its membership of 7,000 also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others.

Written by Robert Perkins