McKeegan, Kevin 2018 J. Lawrence Smith Medal

McKeegan, Kevin 2018 J. Lawrence Smith Medal

Kevin D. McKeegan, University of California, Los Angeles, received the 2018 J. Lawrence Smith Medal.

McKeegan is a world-recognized leader in the application of micro-analytical techniques to study meteoritic materials — incredibly precise research which has improved our understanding of the processes and chronology of the early solar system.

Among his accomplishments, McKeegan’s team discovered that the oxygen isotopic composition of the Sun is about 5 percent different from that of all rocky solar system bodies previously sampled, including the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and asteroidal parent bodies of meteorites. McKeegan and his colleagues accomplished this major discovery by analyzing samples from the Genesis space-probe mission, which collected particles from the solar wind. The task — the highest priority research goal of the Genesis mission — required the development of a new type of hybrid instrument, the MegaSIMS, which combined a secondary ion mass spectrometer with an accelerator mass spectrometer. The work built upon McKeegan’s earlier development of reliable methods for measuring isotope abundances in refractory phases of meteorites and in microscopic interplanetary dust particles using an ion probe.

McKeegan also led the Isotopes Team of the Preliminary Science Investigation of the Stardust mission that analyzed dust particles captured by flying through the tail of comet Wild2.

The J. Lawrence Smith Medal recognizes recent original and meritorious investigation of meteoric bodies. The award is presented with a medal and a $50,000 prize.


Watch McKeegan's Acceptance Speech »

Press Release »

J. Lawrence Smith Medal »

2018 NAS Award Recipients »

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software