Raymond Arvidson, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has been awarded the prestigious Lester W. Strock Award for his work in the field of earth and planetary sciences. Lester Strock, who introduced many of the techniques still in use in geochemistry today, endowed the award on his retirement from Sylvania in 1971.
The New England Section of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy gives the Lester W. Strock Award once a year to a candidate for his or her research in or application of analytical atomic spectrochemistry in the fields of earth science, life sciences, or stellar and cosmic sciences.
Spectrochemistry, or the study of light emitted or absorbed by a substance to determine its chemical composition, is particularly useful in planetary science, where it often practical to look but not to touch. Arvidson has helped develop and implement spectral instruments for both orbiters and landers, including the Magellan Radar Orbiter Mission to Venus, the Viking Lander Imagine System on Mars, the Mars Global Surveyor, the hyper-spectral mappers OMEGA, carried by the Mars Express orbiter, and CRISM, carried by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.