UH scientist honored for teaching expertise
G. Jeffrey Taylor, planetary scientist in the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Communication in Planetary Science.
He is the ninth scientist to receive the Sagan Medal and the first from the University of Hawaii.
The American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Scientists awards the medal to honor outstanding contributions by planetary scientists to public understanding and enthusiasm for the field. The medal will be presented to Taylor at a Division of Planetary Sciences meeting Oct. 10-15 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was a famed planetary scientist who helped to explain planetary science to the public through lectures, television and books.
"Taylor's achievements in scientific discoveries and publications are matched by his career-long, deep dedication to education and engaging the public in the excitement of science through workshops, public talks and writing," the UH said in a news release.
Taylor co-authored a novel, "Impact!" with R.V. Fodor in 1979 and received the Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children award in 1980 for his first book for children, "A Close Look at the Moon."
"Volcanoes in Our Solar System" was his second award-winning book for children in 1983.
His popular science writing has appeared in such publications as Scientific American, Natural History, the Planetary Report and Elements, among other publications.
His educational works include NASA classroom activities, a teacher's guide on exploring the moon, and an online educational science journal Planetary Science Research Discoveries (www.psrd.hawaii. edu) co-founded with Linda Martel of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
Institute Director Peter Mouginis Mark said Taylor's clear language and humor make him "one of the most enthusiastic and articulate voices in science today, very much in the tradition of Carl Sagan himself."
An faculty member since 1990, Taylor is engaged in planning missions to the moon and Mars, using robotics for field geological studies, remote sensing and mapping of planetary composition and evolution, and developing methods to prospect for resources on the moon and Mars.