Joseph Veverka, Cornell's James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences, has received the Whipple Award for his "outstanding contribution to the field of planetary science."
A Cornell faculty member since 1970, Veverka's main scientific interests have spanned solar system research, including high-resolution imaging and photometry of planetary, satellite, asteroid and cometary surfaces. He served as chair of the Department of Astronomy 1999-2007.
Veverka has participated in many NASA planetary missions, including Mariner 9, Viking, Voyager Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor. He served as deputy imaging team leader on the Galileo mission to Jupiter, was the team leader of both the imaging and spectral mapping experiments on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission to asteroid Y33 Eros, the principal investigator on NASA's Discovery mission CONTOUR, and a co-investigator of the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 in 2005.
While he was at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D., Veverka was a protégé of Fred Whipple, for whom the award was established in 1989 by the Planetary Sciences Section. Whipple was an astronomer noted for his work on comets.