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Kathleen Burton                                                                                              July 7, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-1731 or 604-9000

E-mail: Kathleen.M.Burton@nasa.gov

Dr. Ellis D. Miner

Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), Washington, D.C.

Phone: 818/354-4450

E-mail:  ellis.d.miner@jpl.nasa.gov


RELEASE: 04-65AR

NASA'S DAVID MORRISON WINS PRESTIGIOUS SAGAN MEDAL FOR 2004

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) has awarded its 2004 Carl Sagan Medal to NASA scientist Dr. David Morrison. 

The Sagan Medal is awarded annually by the DPS, the world's largest organization of planetary scientists, to an active member researcher for long-term excellence in communicating planetary science to the public. Morrison will receive the award at the organization's annual meeting to be held Nov. 8-12, 2004, in Louisville, Ky.

"We are honored by David's award," said G. Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "A doctoral student of Carl Sagan, David is that rare breed of scientist who combines research depth with the ability to popularize technical topics to non-scientists." 

Morrison is the senior scientist for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), an international research consortium with central offices located at NASA Ames in the heart of California's Silicon Valley.

Throughout his distinguished science career - as an expert on solar system small bodies and an as investigator for numerous spacecraft missions, including Voyager and Galileo - Morrison has enthusiastically dedicated himself to sharing the excitement of planetary exploration with the public. For two decades, he generated a highly praised, widely used series of educational slide and information sets, featuring the best planetary images available. He also authored popular books about the Voyager flybys of Jupiter and Saturn.

Morrison has given hundreds of public lectures and appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, explaining planetary science in everyday language. As president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) in the early 1980s, Morrison devoted himself to encouraging and supporting its educational work. He also chaired the ASP Long-Term Aims Committee, which conceived goals and activities for public outreach that are still followed today. 

Morrison is a co-author of one of the first textbooks in planetary science, 'The Planetary System.'  He and several co-authors also are successors in the continuation and revision of the original George Abell series of astronomy textbooks. These books still reach students worldwide. For many college students, these texts have provided the basis for their only college science course. 

In addition, Morrison has been instrumental in illuminating the scientific basis for potential hazards due to asteroid and comet impacts, through refereed papers and popular articles and books. He is responsible for creating NEO News, an e-mail newsletter with about 800 subscribers.  He created

and implemented the impact hazard Website, http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/.  In his role as NAI senior scientist, Morrison coordinates educational activities for the institute, paying special attention to the content of undergraduate astrobiology courses in this emerging, interdisciplinary field.

The DPS, a division of the American Astronomical Society based in Washington, is the largest organization of professional planetary scientists in the world. More information about the annual DPS meeting and this year's prizewinners, including a photographic image of Morrison, can be found on the DPS Web site at:

http://www.aas.org/~dps/dps.html

For more information about the NAI, please visit:

http://nai.arc.nasa.gov

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