Sachiko Amari, research professor of physics, is the recipient of the 2021 Urey Award. She has made groundbreaking and fundamental contributions to cosmochemistry, especially to the study of carbonaceous presolar grains and noble gases in meteorites. Her work has provided key new insights into the stellar nuclear processes responsible for the synthesis of the chemical elements and into the still mysterious nature of the primary carrier of noble gases in the earliest building blocks of planets.
Presolar grains are dust grains formed in the stellar outflow or ejecta and remain largely intact in meteorites and other extra-terrestrial materials. The study of these presolar grains has opened up a new field of astronomy. By examining these grains using various instruments, we have learned more about nucleosynthesis in stars, mixing in stellar ejecta, temporal variation of isotopes and elements in the Galaxy, and grain condensation in stellar ejecta.
The H. C. Urey Award is bestowed annually by the European Association of Geochemistry for outstanding contributions advancing geochemistry over a career. The award is based on scientific excellence as well as the broader impacts candidates have made in their careers to date. Such contributions to the broader geochemical community may include but are not limited to mentorship of young scientists, outreach, encouragement of diversity and inclusion in science or exceptional editorial contributions. The award is presented at the V. M. Goldschmidt Conference and consists of an engraved medal, an honorarium, a certificate and inclusion as a Geochemistry Fellow. It is named in honor of Harold Clayton Urey, an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 and later led him to theories of planetary evolution.