Eugene Merle Shoemaker

Eugene Merle Shoemaker

Eugene Merle Shoemaker

Birth : (1928-04-28)April 28, 1928 Los Angeles, California, US

Death : July 18, 1997(1997-07-18)(aged 69) Alice Springs, Australia

Personal Information

Name Eugene Merle Shoemaker
Birth (1928-04-28)April 28, 1928 Los Angeles, California, US
Birth Place Los Angeles, California, US
Death (1997-07-18)(aged 69) Alice Springs, Australia
Died At Alice Springs, Australia
Nationality American
Alma Mater California Institute of Technology Princeton
Fields Planetary geology
Institution U. S. Geological Survey, California Institute of Technology)
Famous Research Planetary science Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9

Word Cloud

Events Occured in Scienctist Life


This comet hit Jupiter in July 1994: the impact was televised around the world.


The family moved back to Los Angeles in 1942, where Gene enrolled in Fairfax High School at the age of thirteen.


Shoemaker enrolled in the Caltech in 1944, at the age of sixteen.


Shoemaker thrived in the fast pace and earned his bachelor's degree in 1948, at age nineteen.


Although Shoemaker had already enrolled in a doctoral program at Princeton University, he returned to California to serve as best man at Richard's wedding in 1950.


Carolyn was born in Gallup, New Mexico, in 1929, but the Spellman family moved to Chico soon afterward.


Carolyn saw her work as keeping house and raising the children especially after they settled in Flagstaff in the 1960s.


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) hired Shoemaker in 1950, and he maintained an association with the organisation for the rest of his career.


Daniel Barringer, an entrepreneur and mining engineer who had discovered Meteor Crater in 1891, had postulated that it had been caused by the impact of a meteor.


For his Ph.D. degree at Princeton (1960), under the guidance of Harry Hammond Hess, Shoemaker studied the impact dynamics of Barringer Meteor Crater.


Shoemaker noted Meteor Crater had the same form and structure as two explosion craters created from atomic bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site, notably Jangle U in 1951 and Teapot Ess in 1955.


In 1960, Edward C. T. Chao and Shoemaker identified shocked quartz (coesite) at Meteor Crater, proving the crater was formed from an impact generating extremely high temperatures and pressures.


In 1960, Shoemaker directed a team at the USGS center in Menlo Park, California, to generate the first geologic map of the Moon using photographs taken by Francis G. Pease.


In 1949, Ralph Baldwin had articulated that the Moon's craters were mostly of impact origin and Gene Shoemaker revived the idea again around 1960.


He was awarded the John Price Wetherill Medal from the Franklin Institute in 1965.


Coming to Caltech in 1969, he started a systematic search for Earth orbit-crossing asteroids, which resulted in the discovery of several families of such asteroids, including the Apollo asteroids.


In 1993, he co-discovered Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 using the 18-inch Schmidt camera at Palomar Observatory.


Shoemaker–Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in July 1994.


He died on July 18, 1997 during one such expedition in a head-on car collision on the remote Tanami Track, a few hundred kilometers northwest of Alice Springs, Australia.


On July 31, 1999, some of his ashes were carried to the Moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe in a capsule designed by Carolyn Porco.


According to the obituary published by the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, these included: Doctorate of Science, Arizona State College, Flagstaff, 1965.


Shoemaker Award, Texas Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, awarded posthumously, 1997.On July 24, 1997, a memorial for Shoemaker and Jurgen Rahe was presented in the U.S. House of Representatives by California representative George E. Brown,


It arrived at asteroid 433 Eros in February 2000, and landed on the asteroid after a year of orbital study.


List of discovered minor planets Shoemaker is credited by the Minor Planet Center with the co-discovery of 183 minor planets between 1977 and 1994.


  • Doctorate of Science, Arizona State College, Flagstaff, 1965.
  • Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute, co-recipient with E.C.T. Chao, 1965.
  • Arthur S. Flemming Award, 1966. Doctorate of Science, Temple University, 1967.
  • NASA Medal for Scientific Achievement, 1967.
  • U.S. Department of the Interior Honor Award for Meritorious Service, 1973.
  • Member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1980.
  • U.S. Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Award, 1980.
  • Arthur L. Day Medal of the Geological Society of America, 1982.
  • G.K. Gilbert Award of the Geological Society of America, 1983.
  • Rieser Kulturpreis, co-recipient with E.C.T. Chao and Richard Dehm, 1983.
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science, University of Arizona, 1984.
  • Barringer Award of the Meteoritical Society, 1984.
  • Kuiper Prize of the American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences, 1984.
  • Leonard Medal of the Meteoritical Society, 1985.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award of the California Institute of Technology, 1986.
  • Rittenhouse Medal of the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, co-recipient with C.S. Shoemaker, 1988.
  • U.S. National Medal of Science, 1992.
  • Whipple Award, American Geophysical Union, 1993.
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993.
  • AIAA Space Science Award, 1996.
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, 1996.
  • Bowie Medal, American Geophysical Union, 1996.
  • Special Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1997.
  • Shoemaker Award, Texas Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, awarded posthumously, 1997.