Resident Ph.D. Student Jennika Greer (Univ. of Chicago/Geophysical Sciences) has been selected to receive the McKay Award,* which honors the best student oral presentation at the Meteoritical Society Annual Meeting. This is particularly impressive, since this was her first oral presentation at a major scientific meeting. Jennika’s project focused on the analysis of a lunar sample to study the effects of space weathering, which affects airless bodies such as the Moon and asteroids.
You’ll recall the big news about the Museum’s acquisition of rare fossil meteorites a few years ago. These rocks from space fell into an ancient sea about 470 million years ago, and after three years at the Museum, continue to yield new information at the hands of Pritzker Associate Curator Philipp Heck and colleagues.
A bit more than 14 years ago, a 2-6 ton space rock entered the Earth's atmosphere. It broke up above Chicagoland, and up to 100 kg of fragments fell into southern suburb of Park Forest, which now lends its name to the meteorite. The new study published by Matthias Meier, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a former graduate student of Robert A.
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago opened a brand new exhibit on meteorites in February 2017. The exhibit features an exclusive display of four rare fossil meteorites that fell to Earth into an ocean 466 million years ago. In the Americas this is the only place which has fossil meteorites on exhibit. These rare specimens were loaned from private collector Mario Tassinari from Sweden.
On Monday, February 6, 2017 around 1:30 AM local time many inhabitants of the Midwest saw a bright fireball shooting across the night sky. Some even heard a sonic boom. The Field Museum's Invertebrate Collections Manager Paul Mayer woke up from the sonic boom: "I was staying in Fredonia, Wisconsin and was woken up by a large boom that shook the whole house. It sounded like thunder and I thought maybe it was a train hitting something. I got up and looked out the window, but did not see anything.
Four hundred and sixty-six million years ago, there was a giant collision in outer space. Something hit an asteroid and broke it apart, sending chunks of rock falling to Earth as meteorites since before the time of the dinosaurs. But what kinds of meteorites were making their way to Earth before that collision?
University of Chicago postdoctoral scientist Levke Kööp, Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator Philipp Heck, and colleagues from the Universities of Chicago, Wisconsin, and Hawaii, recently published two articles in the journal Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta. The focus of their work was on some of the first materials that formed in the Solar System, i.e., inclusions in meteorites rich in the mineral hibonite.
Philipp Heck (Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies), Surya Rout (Postdoctoral Research Scientist), Krysten Villalon (Univ. of Chicago Graduate Student) and Lund University’s Professor Birger Schmitz (also a Field Museum Research Associate) with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin published a new paper on 470-million-year-old fossil micrometeorites recovered from marine sediments in Sweden and Russia.
University of Chicago graduate student François Tissot, along with his advisor Professor Nicolas Dauphas and Professor Emeritus Larry Grossman (both FMNH Research Associates), have discovered evidence that a rare element, curium, was present during the formation of the Solar System. The finding ends a 35-year-old debate on its possible presence in the early Solar System, and plays a crucial role in reassessing models of stellar evolution and synthesis of elements in stars.
University of Chicago Graduate Student Levke Kööp, her co-advisor Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator Philipp Heck and colleagues from Germany are authors on an article on 4.6-billion-year old metal nuggets in the journal Geochimica and Cosmochimica Acta. These micro-nuggets made of rare metals like iridium and tungsten are found inside the oldest minerals (hibonites and spinels) that formed in the Solar System.