Ewine F. van Dishoeck receives 2018 James Craig Watson Medal
With her studies, van Dishoeck elucidated the interplay between chemical processes and the thermal structure of star- and planet-forming regions. Her studies have also tackled the chemistry, growth and photoprocessing of interstellar ices, a key step in the eventual establishment of the composition of protoplanetary disks, comets and then planetary bodies. This includes linking observations and experiments on the formation of complex prebiotic molecules under very cold conditions. She and her colleagues have also quantified the cold and hot water reservoirs in disks, from young to old, relevant for understanding our own origins.
The James Craig Watson Medal is presented every two years for outstanding contributions to the science of astronomy and carries with it a gold-plated bronze medal, a $25,000 prize, and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research. The Watson Medal was established by the Canadian-American astronomer, James Craig Watson. Watson is credited with discovering twenty-two asteroids in his lifetime. He published many articles and wrote A Popular Treatise on Comets (1861) and Theoretical Astronomy (1868).