About the Award

The J. Lawrence Smith Medal is awarded every three years for recent original and meritorious investigations of meteoric bodies. The award includes a $50,000 prize. The award was established as a gift from Sarah Julia Smith in memory of her husband and has been presented since 1888.

Edward D. Young, University of California, Los Angeles, received the 2024 J. Lawrence Smith Medal.

Young has deepened our understanding of the history of the solar system and its place in the galaxy through his extensive contributions to both experimental and theoretical meteoritics and solar system research.

2024 J. Lawrence Smith Medal, Young social

His broad and interdisciplinary work ranges from atmospheric chemistry to geochemistry and from meteoritics to astronomy to better understand the formation of the Earth-Moon system, terrestrial planets, white dwarfs, asteroids, and exoplanets. Young’s investigations have elucidated our understanding of oxygen isotopes in meteorites, evaporation and condensation in meteoritic materials, the origin of short-lived radionuclides in the solar nebula, and models for aqueous alteration processes in meteorite parent bodies.

Watch Young’s acceptance speech.

Award History

The J. Lawrence Smith Medal was established as a gift from Sarah Julia Smith in memory of her husband, an American chemist and mineralogist, whose collection of meteorites was once considered the finest in the United States. The first medal was presented in 1888 to astronomer and mathematician H. A. Newton.

Previous recipients of the J. Lawrence Smith Medal continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. Three recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science (Urey, 1964; Wetherill, 1997; Clayton, 2004), and one recipient has received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Urey, 1934).

Most Recent Recipient
Edward D. Young, 2024 J. Lawrence Smith Medal.
Edward D. Young
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Meenakshi Wadhwa
Kevin D. McKeegan
Hiroko Nagahara
Harry Y. McSween, Jr.
Robert N. Clayton
Klaus Keil