Scripps Scientist Honored with International Geochemistry Distinction


The European Association of Geochemistry has bestowed an early career award on James Day of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Day, a geologist-geochemist in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps, will receive the organization’s 2013 Houtermans Award in August during the Goldschmidt2013 science conference in Florence, Italy.

The Houtermans Award is presented yearly to scientists 35 years of age or younger, or within six years of receiving their Ph.D. The award, named after Friedrich Georg Houtermans, a Dutch-Austrian-German physicist, recognizes exceptional contributions to geochemistry.

Day, who joined Scripps in 2010, studies the early stages of planet formation, the solar system and evolution, magmatic processes, and rock formation. His studies involve isotope analysis, trace element geochemistry, and field observations.

He recently published a study with colleagues in which the chemical signatures in moon rocks, obtained during four lunar missions, and meteorites collected from the Antarctic, were used to show that a massive collision may have depleted key elements from the moon. The data led the scientists to new findings about elements known as volatiles, which offer key information about how planets may have formed and evolved.

In a separate study published in 2012, Day led research revealing how gold, palladium, and other precious metals may have arrived on Earth. The study describes how asteroids and other planetary objects were responsible for delivering these elements through planetary collisions that occurred 2 to 3 million years after the formation of the solar system.

Prior to joining Scripps, Day was a research scientist at the University of Maryland. He completed his Ph.D. and bachelor’s degrees at Durham University in England and a postdoctoral position at the University of Tennessee. He is originally from Kent, England.

-- Mario C. Aguilera
January 23, 2013

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