Specimen Gives Science a Glimpse 4.6 Billion Years Back in Time. The Field Museum will receive a high-quality meteorite from a fireball that exploded over California and Nevada last month. The 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite, donated by private collector Terry Boudreaux, is extremely rare and valuable to science. It weighs about one-third of an ounce (10 grams) and has been tentatively classified as carbonaceous chondrite. The Field Museum’s curator of meteorites, Dr. Philipp R. Heck, will study the specimen at the Museum’s Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies.
Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Philipp Heck and co-authors from the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry in Germany had their paper on the first isotopic analysis of sulfur-rich comet dust published in the April issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science. The dust was captured during a flyby of Comet Wild 2 by NASA’s Stardust Mission and returned to Earth.
Collections and Research Committee Member Terry Boudreaux and fellow meteorite collector Greg Hupé donated a beautifully polished 4.9-gram-slice of a rare, ungrouped achondritic meteorite (NWA 6704) to The Field Museum. The meteorite fell in the Sahara desert in northwestern Africa and did not experience much weathering. The interior is a beautiful yellowish green (see photo) and is composed of the mineral plagioclase, pyroxene, olivine, chromite, and of metal, and does not show signs of shock due to the impact.
The Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies is proud to announce the newest addition to the meteorite collection. The newly named meteorite Thika, recently classified as a L6 ordinary chondrite, was donated to the Center by Collections and Research Committee member Terry Boudreaux in mid-September. Falling on the morning of July 16, this bright fireball was observed traveling from southern Kenya to the northwest. Residents in the Thika District in Kiambu County reported loud explosions and screaming noises.
We mourn the loss of Robert A. Pritzker who passed away on October 27th, 2011. His generosity and passion for science supported research programs at the Field Museum. He joined The Board of Trustees in 1983 and served as Chairman from 1988 to 1991 and was elected Life Trustee in 2008. In 2009 his son, Col. James N. Pritzker founded the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum to honor his father's dedication to the study of the natural world. Robert A. Pritzker's legacy lives on in the Field Museum's quest for understanding our natural history.