Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Darby Dyar has received the Geological Society of America’s prestigious G.K. Gilbert Award for her outstanding contributions to the solution of fundamental problems in planetary geology.

Dyar received the award at the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver.

“I am humbled to receive this award, and grateful to be recognized for doing the fundamental research I love,” Dyar said. “Much of planetary science rests on a foundation of understanding mineralogy through spectroscopy, so as a laboratory scientist studying those data, it is a special honor to receive this award.”

Dyar is a mineralogist and spectroscopist interested in a wide range of problems relating to the evolution of the Solar System. She uses Mössbauer, Raman, LIBS, X-ray absorption, FTIR, and optical spectroscopies to understand the relationships between mineral structures and spectral/geochemical signatures. Her research focuses on the signatures of hydrogen and oxygen throughout our Solar System, particularly in terrestrial bodies such as the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and the parent bodies of meteorites. She studies rocks from diverse localities on Earth from the deep oceans to Antarctica, as well as lunar rocks and meteorite samples.

Dyar has written more than 225 papers in scientific journals and has been awarded more than $5 million in more than 35 diverse grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation. These include support for her participation on the Mars Science Laboratory science team. She also serves on three of the eight NASA Solar System Exploration Virtual Institutes. In her current work, she is pioneering development of novel machine learning techniques for interpretation of spectroscopic data. She is a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and has served as Associate Editor of The American Mineralogist for the past 20 years.

The award is named for G.K. Gilbert, who 100 years ago clearly recognized the importance of a planetary perspective in solving terrestrial geologic problems. The G.K. Gilbert Award is presented annually for outstanding contributions to the solution of fundamental problems in planetary geology in the broadest sense, which includes geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, geophysics, geologic mapping, and remote sensing. Such contributions may consist either of a single outstanding publication or a series of publications that have had great influence in the field.

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The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to solar system exploration. It is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, where it was founded in 1972.

PSI scientists are involved in numerous NASA and international missions, the study of Mars and other planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, impact physics, the origin of the solar system, extra-solar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other areas of research. They conduct fieldwork on all continents around the world. They also are actively involved in science education and public outreach through school programs, children’s books, popular science books and art.

PSI scientists are based in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and work from various locations around the world.