Washington, DC—Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and his long-time colleague Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University received The Europlanet Society’s 2019 Paolo Farinella Prize for “outstanding collaborative work for the observational characterization of the Kuiper belt and the Neptune-trojan population.” 

The prize was established in 2010 in honor of Italian scientist whose name it bears and the winners must be excellent investigators who are no older than 47, which was Farinella’s age when he died, and who have achieved important results in one of his research areas. Each year the Prize focuses on a different one of these topics and in 2019 it was devoted to trans-Neptunian objects, including the Kuiper belt.

“I'm very honored to be awarded the Paolo Farinella Prize in planetary research,” Sheppard said.  “Paolo was an inspiration and it is great his memory lives on with this prize.”     

He and Trujillo have discovered a significant number of these distant objects, unveiling the Kuiper belt’s structure and pointing out, for the first time, the directionally dependent distribution of their orbits. Their work has opened new hypotheses on the formation and evolution of the Solar System, including that there might be a very distant undiscovered giant planet on its fringes.

Trujillo concluded, “I know that our research is well-known, but there are so many excellent scientists studying the outer Solar System that I was astonished and humbled that the committee chose us to receive this prestigious award”.


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