Clayton adds Smith Medal to his honorsBy Steve Koppes
The accolades to Robert Clayton’s career continue to mount. The National Academy of Sciences will award the J. Lawrence Smith Medal for investigations of meteoric bodies to Clayton, the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, Geophysical Sciences and the College, at the academy’s annual meeting on Sunday, April 26 in Washington, D.C.
Clayton has pioneered the use of oxygen isotopes—chemical fingerprints found in meteorites and lunar rocks—in understanding the processes that formed the planets and asteroids early in the history of the solar system.
His studies have provided surprising evidence supporting the theory that the moon was part of the Earth until a collision with another planet-sized object blasted them apart, and have helped identify the first lunar meteorite.
Clayton previously received the 2004 National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor. Now he joins three former Chicago faculty members and four alumni who have received the Smith Medal since 1957: