2017 Farinella Prize Awarded To SwRI’s Simone Marchi

Dr Simone Marchi, a Senior Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the seventh Paolo Farinella Prize in 2017 for his contributions to understanding the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System. Image Credit: S.Marchi

September 18, 2017 – Dr. Simone Marchi, an Italian scientist working at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the seventh Paolo Farinella Prize in 2017 for his contributions to understanding the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System. The award ceremony was hosted today at the 12th European Planetary Science Congress in Riga, Latvia. The ceremony included a lecture by Dr. Marchi on recent developments in our understanding of the early solar system.

The annual prize was established in 2010 to honour the memory of the Italian scientist Paolo Farinella (1953-2000) and, each year, it acknowledges an outstanding researcher not older than 47 years (the age of Farinella when he passed away) who has achieved important results in one of Farinella’s fields of work. Each year the Prize focuses on a different research area and in 2017, the seventh edition was devoted to planetary science and specifically to the physics and dynamics of the inner planets of the solar system and their satellites.

Dr. Marchi has made significant contributions to understanding the complex problems related to the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System, including the Moon. He has investigated the origin and consequences of Late Heavy Bombardment, including the surface properties and evolution of Ceres and Vesta. His research has always been interdisciplinary and he has successfully exploited knowledge coming from meteorite geology and geochemistry.

“Simone Marchi’s outstanding publication record shows that he has mastered the different techniques of image processing and analysis, spectroscopy and numerical simulations.” said Alberto Cellino, Member of the Organizing Committee of the Farinella Prize. “Considering his young age and his record of scientific publications and involvement in space missions, he has demonstrated the wide impact of his research on the many domains of the modern planetology, and is well deserving the 2017 Farinella Prize.”

Dr. Marchi received a Master’s Degree in Physics and a PhD in Applied Physics at Pisa University, in Italy. He has worked at Padua University, Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, German Aerospace Agency, and NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. He currently holds the position of Senior Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Before receiving the Prize, Dr. Marchi said: “I feel particularly honored for receiving this prize as I personally knew Paolo Farinella. I met him during my last year at Pisa University and he was one of my Master’s thesis advisors. I have fond memories of our meetings in his office. In particular, I recall his insight about physical phenomena, which appeared to me, as a young student, really astonishing. On the personal side, he was very friendly and always ready to help. I also appreciated his informal character that helped overcome the barrier between a professor and a student. Today, one of the pivotal points of my work is the synergy among theoretical models, remote sensing from space missions, and sample analysis. This approach characterizes my research and certainly also was a distinctive mark of Paolo’s research. Perhaps I have inherited this from him.”

The Paolo Farinella prize was established to honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), in recognition of significant contributions given in the fields of interest of Farinella, which span from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularization, and security in space, weapons control and disarmament. The winner of the prize is selected each year on the basis of his/her overall research results in a chosen field, among candidates with international and interdisciplinary collaborations, not older than 47 years, the age of Farinella when he passed away, on March 25, 2000.