The George Brown Lecture Award, presented annually to an exceptional clay mineralogist in recognition of their research achievements, was bestowed upon Dr. Janice Bishop. Bishop is a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute and chair of its Science Council’s astrobiology group. The Clay Minerals Group (CMG) of the Mineralogical Society of the UK and Ireland honored Bishop at its award ceremony on July 24 at the Euroclay Conference in Bari, Italy.
During the event, Bishop, known for her work on identifying and characterizing clay minerals on Mars, delivered her talk, “Characterizing Phyllosilicates on Mars and What They Reveal About Ancient Geochemical Environments.” The presentation highlighted her extensive research in this field, which significantly advanced our understanding of the Martian environment’s past conditions.
Dr. Anke Neumann, the Chair of the CMG, presented the award to Bishop, recognizing her contributions to the study of clay minerals. Bishop studied the spectral properties of phyllosilicates and associated minerals in the lab for nearly two decades before the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) arrived at Mars in 2006 and began sending back data. Bishop was a Co-Investigator on the CRISM instrument and spent years preparing for this mission that revolutionized our understanding of phyllosilicates on Mars.
“Through characterizing the types of phyllosilicates and associated minerals at specific locations, we have been able to identify changes in the aqueous geochemical environment on early Mars,” said Bishop. Mapping clay minerals on Mars with CRISM has revealed countless habitable sites. CRISM collected hyperspectral visible/near-infrared images at ~18 m/pixel surface resolution from orbit at Mars from 2006 to 2023; CRISM data has been the driver for selecting rover landing sites at Gale and Jezero craters.
“I am honored to join the prestigious list of clay scientists awarded with the George Brown Lecture since 2000, and I am thrilled to be the 3rd woman selected for this distinguished award,” said Bishop. A summary of Bishop's work enabling the detection of clay minerals on Mars is available in the August issue of Phyllosilicate News at https://www.minersoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/CMG-newsletter-Summer-2023.pdf
Link to George Brown Lecture recipients: