2021 Banners JLSmith

2021 Banners JLSmith

Meenakshi Wadhwa, Arizona State University, received the 2021 J. Lawrence Smith Medal.

Wadhwa has deepened the world’s understanding of the evolutionary history of the solar system through her significant contributions to the sciences of cosmochemistry, solar system chronology, meteoritics, and trace element geochemistry. 

Her work has elevated the science and knowledge of the evolutionary history of the solar system, and she has advanced scientific understanding of the geologic history of Mars.

Among her many groundbreaking accomplishments, Wadhwa used long-lived radioisotopes to refine the age of the solar system, in the process correcting the commonly used ratio for decay. In addition, her studies of the trace elements and stable isotopes (especially hydrogen) in meteoritic minerals have allowed her to develop new ways to interpret that data and reveal planetary secrets, particularly those of Mars.

Wadhwa currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council and chairs its Science Committee. She is also serving on the joint NASA-ESA Mars Sample Planning Group. She was President of the Meteoritical Society for the past two years, and recently also served on the Mars Sample Return Independent Review Board and the National Academies Space Studies Board.

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.


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