Eugene Merle Shoemaker
Eugene Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), also known as Gene Shoemaker, was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. He is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife Carolyn S. Shoemaker and David H. Levy. This comet hit Jupiter in July 1994: the impact was televised around the world.
Eugene Merle Shoemaker
|Died||July 18, 1997 (aged 69)|
|Alma mater||California Institute of Technology|
|Known for||Planetary science|
Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9
|Spouse(s)||Carolyn S. Shoemaker 1951–1997 (his death)|
|Awards||G. K. Gilbert Award (1983)|
Barringer Medal (1984)
National Medal of Science (1992)
William Bowie Medal (1996)
James Craig Watson Medal (1998)
|Institutions||U. S. Geological Survey, California Institute of Technology|
Shoemaker was also well known for his studies of terrestrial craters, such as Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona. Shoemaker was the first scientist to conclude that these craters were caused by meteor impact. Shoemaker was also the first director of the United States Geological Survey's Astrogeology Research Program.
Early life and formal educationEdit
Shoemaker was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Muriel May (née Scott), a teacher, and George Estel Shoemaker, who worked in farming, business, teaching, and motion pictures. His parents were natives of Nebraska. During Gene's childhood they moved between Los Angeles, New York City, Buffalo, New York and Wyoming, as George worked on a variety of jobs. George hated living in big cities, and was quite satisfied to take a job as director of education for a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Wyoming. His wife soon found life in a remote cabin quite unsatisfactory.[a] They compromised, when Muriel got a teaching job in Buffalo. She could teach in the Buffalo School of Practice of the State Teachers College at Buffalo during the school year while keeping Gene with her, then both would return to Wyoming during the summers. Gene's passion for studying rocks was ignited by the science education courses offered by the Buffalo Museum of Education.[b] He enrolled in the School of Practice in the fourth grade, and began collecting samples of minerals. Within a year, he was also taking high-school-level evening courses. The family moved back to Los Angeles in 1942, where Gene enrolled in Fairfax High School at the age of thirteen. He completed high school in three years. During that time he also played violin in the school orchestra, excelled in gymnastics, and got a summer job as an apprentice lapidary.
Gene enrolled in the Caltech in 1944, at the age of sixteen.[c] His classmates were older, more mature and on a fast track to graduate before serving in World War II. Gene thrived in the fast pace and earned his bachelor's degree in 1948, at age nineteen. He immediately undertook the study of Precambrian metamorphic rocks in northern New Mexico, earning his M. Sc. degree from Caltech in 1949.
While Shoemaker was attending Caltech, his roommate was Richard Spellman, a young man from Chico, California. Although Shoemaker had already enrolled in a doctoral program at Princeton University, Gene returned to California, to serve as best man at Richard's wedding in 1950. He met Richard's sister, Carolyn, for the first time on that occasion. Carolyn had been born in Gallup, New Mexico in 1929, but the Spellman family had moved to Chico soon afterward. Carolyn had earned degrees from Chico State College in history and political science. She had never exhibited any interest in scientific subjects while growing up, and had taken one geology course in college, which she had found quite boring. Nevertheless, the couple formed a "pen pal" relationship while Gene spent the next year in Princeton, followed by a two-week vacation touring the Colorado Plateau. She reportedly told others that,"listening to Gene explaining geology made what she had thought was a boring subject into an exciting and interesting pursuit of knowledge." The couple married on August 17, 1951.
The Shoemakers had three children: two daughters and one son. Carolyn saw her work as keeping house and raising the children especially after they settled in Flagstaff in the 1960s. She had tried teaching school before they married, but found the work unsatisfying. She also traveled sometimes with Gene, but stopped after she noticed that her absence affected the children. After their children were grown, Carolyn wanted something meaningful to combat the "empty nest" feeling. By then, Gene Shoemaker suggested that she take up astronomy and join his team looking for asteroids approaching Earth. A student working at Lowell Observatory commenced teaching her astronomy. She showed great potential and launched her career as a planetary astronomer at age 51. She continues the work to the present.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) hired Shoemaker in 1950.[d] His first assignment was to search for uranium deposits in Utah and Colorado. His next mission was to study volcanic processes, since other investigators had already noticed that uranium deposits were often located in the vents of ancient volcanoes. This study led him to explore the Hopi Buttes of Northern Arizona, which happened to be near Meteor Crater.
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. About the same time, G. K. Gilbert, the chief geologist of the USGS, examined the crater and announced that it had been created by an explosive venting of volcanic steam. A majority of scientists accepted Gilbert's explanation of the cause of the crater, This theory remained as conventional wisdom until Shoemaker's investigations a half century later.
Astrogeology and ApolloEdit
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. They followed this discovery with the identification of coesite within suevite at Nördlinger Ries, proving its impact origin.
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. Shoemaker also helped pioneer the field of astrogeology by founding the Astrogeology Research Program. He was prominently involved in the Lunar Ranger missions to the Moon, joining the television imaging team of Harold Urey and Gerard Kuiper, which turned into a preparatory mission for the future manned landing. Shoemaker was then chosen to be the principal investigator for the Surveyor program's television experiment, and then the lunar geology principal investigator for Apollo 11, Apollo 12, and Apollo 13.:85-86,92-97,101,119,136
Shoemaker was also involved in the training of the American astronauts. He himself was a possible candidate for an Apollo Moon flight and was set to be the first geologist to walk on the Moon but was disqualified due to being diagnosed with Addison's disease, a disorder of the adrenal gland. Shoemaker would train astronauts during field trips to Meteor Crater and Sunset Crater near Flagstaff. He was a CBS News television commentator on the early Apollo missions, especially the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions, appearing with Walter Cronkite during live coverage of those flights.
According to David H. Levy, just before the manned Moon landings,
"With humanity about to set forth upon this new world, geologists and astronomers were divided as to whether the lunar surface was a result of volcanic forces from beneath, or cosmic forces from above. 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 saw craters on the Moon as logical impact sites that were formed not gradually, in eons, but explosively, in seconds.":58-59
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. Shoemaker advanced the idea that sudden geologic changes can arise from asteroid strikes and that asteroid strikes are common over geologic time periods. Previously, astroblemes were thought to be remnants of extinct volcanoes — even on the Moon.
Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9Edit
In 1993, he co-discovered Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 using the 18-inch Schmidt camera at Palomar Observatory. This comet was unique in that it provided the first opportunity to observe the planetary impact of a comet. Shoemaker–Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in July 1994. The resulting impact caused a massive "scar" on the face of Jupiter.
Shoemaker spent much of his later years searching for and finding several previously unnoticed or undiscovered impact craters around the world.
Shoemaker 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. Shoemaker's wife Carolyn was severely injured in the crash.
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. He is the only person whose ashes have been buried on any celestial body outside Earth.
The brass foil wrapping of Shoemaker's memorial capsule is inscribed with images of Comet Hale–Bopp ("the last comet that the Shoemakers observed together"), the Barringer Meteor Crater, and a quotation from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet reading
The fatal crash had happened when Hale-Bopp was still visible to the naked eye, having passed perihelion and having moved into the southern celestial hemisphere.
Awards and tributesEdit
- 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.
On July 24, 1997, a memorial for Dr. Eugene Shoemaker and Dr. Jurgen Rahe was presented in the U.S. House of Representatives by California representative George E. Brown, Jr. The memorial was published in the Congressional Record. The memorial credited Shoemaker with being either the discoverer or co-discoverer of 820 asteroids and comets during his career.[e] 
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous space probe was renamed "NEAR Shoemaker" in his honor. It arrived at asteroid 433 Eros in February 2000, and landed on the asteroid after a year of orbital study. He was previously honored with the asteroid 2074 Shoemaker, discovered and named by his colleague, Eleanor F. Helin.
List of discovered minor planetsEdit
|2430 Bruce Helin||8 November 1977||list [A]|
|3025 Higson||20 August 1982||list [B]|
|3199 Nefertiti||13 September 1982||list [B]|
|3225 Hoag||20 August 1982||list [B]|
|3317 Paris||26 May 1984||list [B]|
|3484 Neugebauer||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|3554 Amun||4 March 1986||list [B]|
|3671 Dionysus||27 May 1984||list [B]|
|3700 Geowilliams||23 October 1984||list [B]|
|3880 Kaiserman||21 November 1984||list [B]|
|3927 Feliciaplatt||5 May 1981||list [B]|
|4151 Alanhale||24 April 1985||list [B]|
|4197 Morpheus||11 October 1982||list [A]|
|4379 Snelling||13 August 1988||list [B]|
|4450 Pan||25 September 1987||list [B]|
|4525 Johnbauer||15 May 1982||list [A][C]|
|4899 Candace||9 May 1988||list [B]|
|4946 Askalaphus||21 January 1988||list [B]|
|5023 Agapenor||11 October 1985||list [B]|
|5029 Ireland||24 January 1988||list [B]|
|5052 Nancyruth||23 October 1984||list [B]|
|5167 Joeharms||11 April 1985||list [B]|
|5168 Jenner||6 March 1986||list [B]|
|5175 Ables||4 November 1988||list [B]|
|5211 Stevenson||8 July 1989||list [B]|
|5259 Epeigeus||30 January 1989||list [B]|
|5264 Telephus||17 May 1991||list [B]|
|5284 Orsilocus||1 February 1989||list [B]|
|5285 Krethon||9 March 1989||list [B]|
|5430 Luu||12 May 1988||list [B]|
|5436 Eumelos||20 February 1990||list [B]|
|5511 Cloanthus||8 October 1988||list [B]|
|5551 Glikson||24 January 1982||list [B]|
|5579 Uhlherr||11 May 1988||list [B]|
|5632 Ingelehmann||15 April 1993||list [B]|
|5637 Gyas||10 September 1988||list [B]|
|5638 Deikoon||10 October 1988||list [B]|
|5652 Amphimachus||24 April 1992||list [B]|
|5670 Rosstaylor||7 November 1985||list [B]|
|5720 Halweaver||29 March 1984||list [B]|
|5725 Nördlingen||23 January 1988||list [B]|
|5726 Rubin||24 January 1988||list [B]|
|5731 Zeus||4 November 1988||list [B]|
|5765 Izett||4 April 1986||list [B]|
|5863 Tara||7 September 1983||list [B]|
|5899 Jedicke||9 January 1986||list [B]|
|5947 Bonnie||21 March 1985||list [B]|
|5953 Shelton||25 April 1987||list [B]|
|5957 Irina||11 May 1988||list [B]|
|5999 Plescia||23 April 1987||list [B]|
|6063 Jason||27 May 1984||list [B]|
|6084 Bascom||12 February 1985||list [B]|
|6087 Lupo||19 March 1988||list [B]|
|6179 Brett||3 March 1986||list [B]|
|6239 Minos||31 August 1989||list [B]|
|6372 Walker||13 May 1985||list [B]|
|6376 Schamp||29 May 1987||list [B]|
|6398 Timhunter||10 February 1991||list [B][D]|
|6401 Roentgen||15 April 1991||list [B][D]|
|6436 Coco||13 May 1985||list [B]|
|6478 Gault||12 May 1988||list [B]|
|6485 Wendeesther||25 October 1990||list [B][D]|
|6510 Tarry||23 February 1987||list [B]|
|6543 Senna||11 October 1985||list [B]|
|6585 O'Keefe||26 September 1984||list [B]|
|6635 Zuber||26 September 1987||list [B]|
|6740 Goff||14 April 1993||list [B]|
|6901 Roybishop||2 August 1989||list [B]|
|6909 Levison||19 January 1991||list [B]|
|7051 Sean||13 May 1985||list [B]|
|7086 Bopp||5 October 1991||list [B]|
|7088 Ishtar||1 January 1992||list [B]|
|7092 Cadmus||4 June 1992||list [B]|
|7112 Ghislaine||3 April 1986||list [B]|
|7119 Hiera||11 January 1989||list [B]|
|7167 Laupheim||12 October 1985||list [B]|
|7173 Sepkoski||15 August 1988||list [B]|
|7480 Norwan||1 August 1994||list [B]|
|7549 Woodard||9 October 1980||list [B]|
|7560 Spudis||10 January 1986||list [B]|
|7749 Jackschmitt||12 May 1988||list [B]|
|7750 McEwen||18 August 1988||list [B]|
|7756 Scientia||27 March 1990||list [B]|
|7778 Markrobinson||17 April 1993||list [B]|
|7958 Leakey||5 June 1994||list [B]|
|8034 Akka||3 June 1992||list [B]|
|8149 Ruff||11 May 1985||list [B]|
|8326 Paulkling||6 May 1981||list [B]|
|8327 Weihenmayer||6 May 1981||list [B]|
|8347 Lallaward||21 April 1987||list [B]|
|8356 Wadhwa||3 September 1989||list [B]|
|8373 Stephengould||1 January 1992||list [B]|
|8709 Kadlu||14 May 1994||list [B]|
|8804 Eliason||5 May 1981||list [B]|
|8810 Johnmcfarland||15 May 1982||list [A]|
|8817 Roytraver||13 May 1985||list [B]|
|9016 Henrymoore||10 January 1986||list [B]|
|9022 Drake||14 August 1988||list [B]|
|9023 Mnesthus||10 September 1988||list [B]|
|9082 Leonardmartin||4 November 1994||list [B]|
|9165 Raup||27 September 1987||list [B]|
|9172 Abhramu||29 July 1989||list [B]|
|9277 Togashi||9 October 1980||list [B]|
|9299 Vinceteri||13 May 1985||list [B]|
|9564 Jeffwynn||26 September 1987||list [B]|
|9744 Nielsen||9 May 1988||list [B]|
|9768 Stephenmaran||5 April 1992||list [B]|
|10041 Parkinson||24 April 1985||list [B]|
|10044 Squyres||15 September 1985||list [B]|
|10060 Amymilne||12 April 1988||list [B]|
|10108 Tomlinson||26 April 1992||list [B]|
|10295 Hippolyta||12 April 1988||list [B]|
|10487 Danpeterson||14 April 1985||list [B]|
|10563 Izhdubar||19 November 1993||list [B]|
|10683 Carter||10 June 1980||list [B]|
|10739 Lowman||12 May 1988||list [B]|
|(10995) 1978 NS||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|11006 Gilson||9 October 1980||list [B]|
|11066 Sigurd||9 February 1992||list [B]|
|11277 Ballard||8 October 1988||list [B]|
|11311 Peleus||10 December 1993||list [B]|
|11836 Eileen||5 February 1986||list [B]|
|12227 Penney||11 October 1985||list [B]|
|12237 Coughlin||23 April 1987||list [B]|
|12242 Koon||18 August 1988||list [B]|
|12675 Chabot||9 October 1980||list [B]|
|12714 Alkimos||15 April 1991||list [B]|
|12753 Povenmire||18 April 1993||list [B]|
|(12977) 1978 NC||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|13062 Podarkes||19 April 1991||list [B]|
|13937 Roberthargraves||2 August 1989||list [B]|
|14827 Hypnos||5 May 1986||list [B]|
|14835 Holdridge||26 November 1987||list [B]|
|15228 Ronmiller||23 February 1987||list [B]|
|15304 Wikberg||21 October 1992||list [B]|
|(16397) 1982 JS2||15 May 1982||list [A]|
|16452 Goldfinger||28 September 1989||list [B]|
|16641 Esteban||16 August 1993||list [B]|
|(17355) 1978 NK||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|17399 Andysanto||6 September 1983||list [B]|
|17408 McAdams||19 October 1987||list [B]|
|19140 Jansmit||2 September 1989||list [B]|
|19173 Virginiaterése||15 April 1991||list [B]|
|19243 Bunting||10 February 1994||list [B]|
|(19920) 1978 NF||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|20007 Marybrown||7 June 1991||list [B]|
|20037 Duke||20 October 1992||list [B]|
|21062 Iasky||13 May 1991||list [B]|
|21148 Billramsey||16 April 1993||list [B]|
|21149 Kenmitchell||19 April 1993||list [B]|
|22294 Simmons||28 September 1989||list [B]|
|23452 Drew||18 August 1988||list [B]|
|24626 Astrowizard||9 October 1980||list [B]|
|24643 MacCready||28 September 1984||list [B]|
|24654 Fossett||29 May 1987||list [B]|
|24761 Ahau||28 January 1993||list [B]|
|26879 Haines||9 July 1994||list [B]|
|27706 Strogen||11 October 1985||list [B]|
|27711 Kirschvink||4 November 1988||list [B]|
|29133 Vargas||29 May 1987||list [B]|
|29137 Alanboss||18 October 1987||list [B]|
|29146 McHone||17 March 1988||list [B]|
|30767 Chriskraft||6 November 1983||list [B]|
|30779 Sankt-Stephan||17 October 1987||list [B]|
|30785 Greeley||13 August 1988||list [B]|
|30786 Karkoschka||18 August 1988||list [B]|
|30844 Hukeller||17 May 1991||list [B]|
|32776 Nriag||29 May 1987||list [B]|
|35056 Cullers||28 September 1984||list [B]|
|37609 LaVelle||25 November 1992||list [B]|
|37655 Illapa||1 August 1994||list [B]|
|43763 Russert||30 May 1987||list [B]|
|48416 Carmelita||24 January 1988||list [B]|
|(52229) 1978 NN||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|(52230) 1978 NR||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|52266 Van Flandern||10 January 1986||list [B]|
|65672 Merrick||16 August 1988||list [B]|
|73670 Kurthopf||19 August 1982||list [B]|
|79117 Brydonejack||16 August 1988||list [B]|
|(99954) 1978 NH||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|(129437) 1978 NG||10 July 1978||list [A]|
|(136564) 1977 VA||7 November 1977||list [A]|
|(408751) 1987 SF3||26 September 1987||list [B]|
|Co-discovery made with:|
A E. F. Helin
B C. S. Shoemaker
C P. D. Wilder
D D. H. Levy
- Undoubtedly, she knew that the rural schools could not properly develop her son's intellectual prowess.
- Buffalo Museum of Education likely refers to the institution now known as the Buffalo Museum of Science.
- Astronomer and co-discoverer of the Shoemaker-Levy comet, David H. Levy, reportedly, said that Shoemaker had never considered going to any other university than Caltech.
- Gene would maintain some association with the USGS for the rest of his active life.
- Dr. Rahe was a German-American astronomer and project leader at NASA who was killed in an auto accident near Washington D. C. on June 18, 1997.
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- Farley, K. A.; Montanari, A.; Shoemaker, E. M.; Shoemaker, C. S. (1998), "Geochemical evidence for a comet shower in the late Eocene", Science (published May 22, 1998), 280 (5367), pp. 1250–1253, Bibcode:1998Sci...280.1250F, doi:10.1126/science.280.5367.1250, PMID 9596575
- Nozette, S. D.; Lichtenberg, C. L.; Spudis, P. D.; Bonner, R.; Ort, W.; Malaret, E.; Robinson, M. S.; Shoemaker, E. M. (1996), "The Clementine bistatic radar experiment", Science (published Nov 29, 1996), 274 (5292), pp. 1495–1498, Bibcode:1996Sci...274.1495N, doi:10.1126/science.274.5292.1495, PMID 8929403
- Shoemaker, E. M.; Robinson, M. S.; Eliason, E. M. (1994), "The South Pole Region of the Moon as Seen by Clementine", Science (published Dec 16, 1994), 266 (5192), pp. 1851–1854, Bibcode:1994Sci...266.1851S, doi:10.1126/science.266.5192.1851, PMID 17737080
- Nozette, S. D.; Rustan, P. L.; Pleasance, L. D.; Kordas, J. F.; Lewis, I. T.; Park, H. S.; Priest, R. E.; Horan, D. M.; et al. (1994), "The Clementine Mission to the Moon: Scientific Overview", Science (published Dec 16, 1994), 266 (5192), pp. 1835–1839, Bibcode:1994Sci...266.1835N, doi:10.1126/science.266.5192.1835, PMID 17737076CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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