Kuljeet Kaur Marhas Receives 2019 Devendra Lal Memorial Medal



Kuljeet Kaur Marhas

Kuljeet is an eminent secondary mass spectrometrist who has greatly advanced the in situ, high spatial resolution mass spectrometric technique to analyze nanometer- to micrometer-scale extraterrestrial particles to understand stellar nucleosynthesis and the solar–stellar connection. She has made fundamental contributions to the study of short-lived nuclides (7Be, 10Be, 26Al, 41Ca, and 60Fe) in early forming solids as well as the study of heavy elements in presolar materials.

Kuljeet obtained her Ph.D. from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), India, in 2001. Later, she established the nano secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS) laboratory at PRL, where high spatial resolution, in situ mass spectrometric techniques are used to address questions of scientific and spatial relevance for a broad range of disciplines. She has also made important contributions in other areas of stellar nucleosynthesis and analysis of sample return missions during her postdoctoral tenures. She has worked extensively with a wide suite of the early forming solar system solids (hibonites, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions, chondrules, and samples returned from various planetary missions, viz., Apollo 15, Stardust, and Hayabusa-1) to understand the cosmochemical conditions and the chronological evolution of the early solar system.

Kuljeet’s ability to work on projects that have rarely been ventured into has led to the majority of her publications. She is an ardent speaker and has given many talks in simple language motivating and exciting young students and children with new research findings in Earth and space sciences.

I wish her success in her future research.

—Anil Bhardwaj, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India



I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Devendra Lal Memorial Medal and the recognition from AGU. I take this opportunity to convey my deep and sincere gratitude to my mentors, collaborators, colleagues, and friends for their kind contribution toward various research programs that have been recognized and appreciated by my nominator, Professor Anil Bhardwaj, and the selection committee.

Professor D. Lal has been an inspirational, mentoring figure at many institutions across continents. It is, indeed, an honor to be associated with a distinguished scientific luminary whose contributions, mentoring, and enthusiasm for novel science were enormously addictive. He worked in a number of fields/areas with the efficiency of a pro. If I could advance science by even a few percent of his contribution, that would be a source of satisfaction and pride for me.

My heartfelt thanks to Professor J. N. Goswami, my Ph.D. supervisor at the Physical Research Laboratory, India, for introducing me to the world of heavenly bodies and setting me on the exploratory path of planetary sciences. I had no idea that I could carry on and eventually fall in love with pushing myself—trying to unravel the secrets of solar system formation. I also wish to thank Professor Peter Hoppe at Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie in Mainz, Germany, who opened a panorama of a world of the largest anomalies on the smallest (nano)scales during my postdoctoral tenure by initiating studies related to heavy-element nucleosynthesis in presolar grains. Touching stars is probably a dream of every child, and Professor Ernst Zinner provided me this opportunity by involving me with analyses of a “stardust” sample (NASA’s 81P/Wild 2 cometary sample return mission) at Washington University in St. Louis. Words can never be enough to thank him for the pleasant discussions and time spent with him. Armed with the knowledge, good wishes, and caveats from the stalwarts of the field, I could set up my own laboratory in India and continue working in cosmochemistry.

Last, but not the least, I wish to thank my close-knit family for the unreserved support to help realize my ambition. I express my gratitude to the individuals who supported me and to AGU for endorsing the nomination.

Thank you, once again, for this honor.

—Kuljeet Kaur Marhas, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India

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