David C. Jewitt, PhD '83, Wins 2012 Shaw Prize

The Shaw Prize Foundation on Tuesday announced this year's laureates in three fields: astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences. Each prize comes with an award of US$1 million.

David C. Jewitt shared the 2012 Shaw Prize in astronomy for his groundbreaking research on the early stages of planet formation.

David C. Jewitt and Jane Luu were honored "for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets," the selection committee said.

"We are all interested in how the solar system came into being," said Kenneth Young, a professor of physics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who serves as a member of the Shaw Prize council. Through the work of the two astronomers, "we get a glimpse of what the early stage of the solar system was like."

Dr. Jewitt, who was born in England in 1958, is professor of astronomy and director of the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Luu, who was born in Vietnam in 1963, is a member of the technical staff of Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.