The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the application opportunity for the 2015 Nininger Meteorite Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences.
The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.  The 2015 Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is January 31, 2016. Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must be studying at an educational institution in the United States.  The Nininger Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.
The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the 2015 application opportunity for the Nininger Meteorite Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences.
As a part of your application, we require a letter of support from your advisor. Please have your advisor email the letter to nininger [at] When both your application and letter of support are on file, we will inform you that your application is complete.  All application materials are due by midnight (MST), January 31, 2016.
History of the Award
In 1965, Dr. H.H. Nininger and Mrs. Addie D. Nininger endowed the Nininger Science of Meteoritics Fund to the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University in order to promote interest in meteorite-related topics among young scientists. The Fund supports the Nininger Meteorite Award, which recognizes outstanding student achievement in the “Science of Meteoritics” as embodied by an original research paper. Past recipients include Harry Y. McSween (University of Tennessee), Edward Stolper (California Institute of Technology) and the recipients of the 2010 Barringer Award (William K. Hartmann, Planetary Science Institute), 2002 Nier Prize (Dante Lauretta, University of Arizona), and 2005 Leonard Medal (Joseph Goldstein, University of Massachusetts, Amherst).
Download a list of the past recipients.
Permitted Topics
The original text of the Nininger endowment states that the "Science of Meteoritics embraces all aspects of the study of inert natural matter existing in space, passing through the atmosphere, or having come to Earth from space, together with any or all of the phenomena occasioned by its fall and its effect upon the Earth or upon any other member of the Solar System. Such science shall also be considered to include theoretical consideration as to the origin of such matter and special relationships". Research topics covered under this description include, but are not limited to, physical and chemical properties of meteorites, origin of meteoritic material and cratering. Observational, experimental, statistical or theoretical investigations are allowed.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at a United States college or university.
  • The student must be first author of the paper, but does not have to be the sole author.
  • Paper must cover original research conducted by the student, and have been written, submitted or published between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

2014 Nininger Meteorite Award Recipient

The ASU Center for Meteorite Studies is pleased to announce that Roger Fu, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the 2014 Nininger Meteorite Award, and Adam Sarafian, a graduate student at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution received an Honorable Mention for the award.

Roger FuRoger’s paper “Nebular magnetic fields recorded by the Semarkona meteorite”, describes how a recently developed paleomagnetic technique known as SQUID Microscopy was used to measure the magnetic remanence (the magnetization remaining after removal of an external magnetic field) of eight dusty olivine-bearing chondrules from the Semarkona LL3.0 chondrite. Because these dusty olivine crystals contain sub-micron sized Fe metal particles and cooled in the solar nebula, their remanent magnetization can be used to infer the intensity of nebular magnetic fields.

Theoretical studies of protoplanetary disk environments suggest that magnetic fields exerted a strong control on the nebular accretion rate, lifetime, and dynamical state.  Furthermore, some proposed theories of chondrule formation and planetesimal accretion invoke the participation of nebular magnetic fields. 

The recovered paleofield intensity, 54+/-21 µT, suggests that magnetic mechanisms of mass and angular momentum redistribution played an important role in driving the net inward accretion of the solar nebula.  Furthermore, these magnetic field strengths are most consistent with chondrule formation theories such as planetesimal impacts and nebular shocks that predict little to no amplification of background nebular fields.  Future paleomagnetic studies using similar techniques on other groups of meteorites promise to provide a more complete picture of how magnetic fields varied with time and space in the solar nebula.

Roger’s research was performed under the advisement of Dr. Ben Weiss.

You can read the entire paper, published in the journal Science, here!

Adam SarafianAdam’s paper, entitled “Early accretion of water in the inner solar system from a carbonaceous-like source” attempts to answer fundamental questions such as: When could water and other volatile elements incorporate into planets? Where did these elements come from, comets or asteroid-like bodies?

Through measurement of the hydrogen isotope composition of the mineral apatite in ancient eucrite meteorites, he and his co-authors provide the earliest evidence that hydrogen, the key component in water, accreted to an early-forming body in the inner Solar System.

Based on this hydrogen isotopic data, the paper provides evidence that the water accreting in the very early inner Solar System had the same source-signature as carbonaceous chondrite meteorites and modern-day Earth, and concludes that carbonaceous chondrites were likely the dominant source of water for the inner Solar System during the accretion of terrestrial planets. 

Adam’s research was performed under the advisement of Dr. Sune Nielsen.

You can read the entire paper, published in the journal Science, here!

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