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Mathieu Lapôtre receives early career award from AGU

The planetary geologist has been recognized for his efforts to advance the field of Earth and planetary surface processes.

Photo credit NASA

Assistant professor of geological sciences Mathieu Lapôtre has been named the 2021 recipient of the Luna B. Leopold Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The annual award “recognizes an outstanding contribution that advances the field of Earth and planetary surface processes from an honoree within ten years of receiving their PhD.”

Profile image for Mathieu Lapôtre
Mathieu Lapôtre

Lapôtre’s research explores the physics behind sedimentary and geomorphic processes that shape planetary surfaces in order to untangle what landforms and rocks tell us about the past hydrology, climate and habitability of planets. He leads the Earth and Planetary Processes lab, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding planetary surfaces with conceptual, experimental and numerical modeling in addition to field and lab work, spectroscopy, remote sensing and in situ robotic mission data analysis.

His recent work has shown that rivers in unvegetated landscapes migrate much faster than their vegetated counterparts – findings that contributed to further research showing that Jezero crater’s river delta on Mars could have preserved organic molecules associated with life. Jezero crater is the location of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to explore the Red Planet with the Perseverance rover.

As the Luna B. Leopold Early Career Award recipient, Lapôtre was also invited to present the Robert Sharp Lecture at the AGU Fall Meeting, which is being held in New Orleans Dec, 13-17. He will also be presented the award during the Fall Meeting.

Lapôtre is also an assistant professor of geophysics, by courtesy.

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