Washington, D.C.—Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) staff member Larry Nittler has been elected a fellow of the Meteoritical Society. Society fellows are “members who have distinguished themselves in meteoritics or allied sciences.” Just one percent of the membership can be elected by the society’s council on even-numbered years.

Nittler’s research focuses on extraterrestrial materials, particularly meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. He examines presolar grains in meteorites and develops new techniques to analyze and map small samples. Nittler is also studying cometary samples returned by NASA’s Stardust mission and solar wind samples returned by the Genesis mission. He works on X-ray and Gamma-ray spectrometers for planetary missions and is a participating scientist on the MESSENGER mission, which will orbit the planet Mercury starting in March 2011.

“The breadth of areas in which Larry has had a major impact is exceptional,” offers DTM director Sean Solomon. “He has pioneered methodologies for identifying and characterizing presolar grains within interplanetary dust particles and meteorites, he has made novel and far-reaching inferences about the progenitor stars of such grains and the chemical evolution of our galaxy, and through a broad range of spacecraft missions he has been able to advance our understanding of the chemical and isotopic composition of a diverse suite of solar system objects.”

Nittler received his B.A. in physics from Cornell University and his Ph. D. in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He was awarded the Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society in 2001, a NASA Group Achievement Award as part of the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) team in 2002, and the Antarctic Service Medal in 2005. Nittler has been a staff scientist at Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism since 2001. From 1999 to 2001 he was an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.

Richard A. Meserve, president of the Carnegie Institution, stated, “We are extremely pleased that Larry has received this great honor. His work brings luster the institution.”

News Topic: 
Earth/Planetary Science