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Harry “Hap” McSween, a UT professor who is a leading expert on the composition of Mars and meteorites, will be awarded the Whipple Award from the American Geophysical Union.

McSween is a Chancellor’s Professor and distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences.

The Whipple Award was established in 1989 to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science. It is named after Fred Whipple, a gifted astronomer most noted for his work on comets. Whipple was the first Whipple Award honoree in 1990, and passed away in 2004.

McSween will receive the award and present the Whipple Lecture at the union’s annual meeting in December in San Francisco.

“I congratulate Hap on this most recent recognition of his scientific contributions,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is not only an extraordinary and highly regarded scientist, teacher and student mentor, but also a beloved citizen of the college and university community who is passionately committed to the success of this institution.”

McSween is co-investigator for NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft mission, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the Dawn spacecraft mission.

He is the 2013 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Universities Professor of the Year, a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences J. Lawrence Smith Medal for his pioneering studies of the parent planets of meteorites and his work on the geological history of Mars, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also has an asteroid named for him by the International Astronomical Union, 5223 McSween.

A UT faculty member for thirty-six years, McSween has been named the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences’ best teacher seven times. UT awarded him the Alexander Prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching and research, and the College of Arts and Sciences College Marshal, the highest college honor bestowed upon a faculty member.

The American Geophysical Union is a professional scientific organization representing more than 62,000 members in 144 countries. It is dedicated to advancing earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. To read more about the union, visit

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,

Harry McSween (865-974-9805,