Dr. Audrey Bouvier has a great start to her assistant professorship in the Earth Sciences Department at Western University. She is the latest recipient of the Nier Prize by the Meteoritical Society which recognizes outstanding research in studying meteorites by scientists under 35 years old. She said that the field of planetary studies “has been going on for quite a long time, even between geology and astronomy, but it looks like over the past 25 years things have been growing exponentially.” As a member of the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), housing the largest number of Planetary Scientists in Canada, she plans to fuel that growth.
Bouvier studies how isotopes decay when trapped within planetary materials, like meteorites, to determine the age of the solar system’s earliest solids.
In a series of papers published between 2005 and 2009 she introduced findings that set limits on the cooling histories of the parent bodies of meteorites. The debates resulting from her work on Martian meteorites have raised questions about the history of Mars and have spurred further studies by other research groups.
In other work, Bouvier’s studies on a group of isotopes altered the way researchers view the composition and evolution of crustal and mantle reservoirs on Earth. The resulting paper on this work is the most cited in the five-year history of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The fact that Bouvier has won the Nier prize for this work that has such world-wide impact adds another layer of research depth to CPSX and Western Science.