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European Geosciences Union

Dominique Bockelée-Morvan

The 2002 David Bates Medal is awarded to Dominique Bockelée-Morvan for her exceptional observations and interpretations of the composition of comets.

It is a great honor for me to receive the David Bates Medal, in recognition of my work on the composition of comets. For thousands of years, comets were considered bewitching objects of the Solar System because of their unpredictable apparitions and their awesome appearance when they become visible to the naked eye. Scientifically speaking, comets are fascinating bodies because they are extraordinary laboratories of chemistry and physics, and, more importantly, because they provide key informations on the early evolution of the Solar System. In the two last decades, there have been dramatic advances in cometary science, thanks to the spacecraft missions to comet Halley and important developments in observational instrumentation, specifically in the millimetre wavelength domain, which is the most suitable for compositional studies, and where I did most of my research. A new era will be opened soon with the launch of the Rosetta cometary mission of the European Spatial Agency. It is my opinion that this medal recognizes the exceptional development of cometary and planetary sciences in Europe. Speaking for my country, planetology is a very active and productive discipline in France, with many young scientists. As part of this community, I am very honored to receive this medal. Astronomy is an international science. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my collaborators in France, Germany, Sweden and the USA for their friendship and the wonderful work we did together. Finally, I am also very happy that the David Bates medal is attributed this year to a woman. The small number of women in the scientific community is worrying. So, is the tiny number of EGS medals currently awarded to women. The recognition of the role of women in Sciences is of great importance to stimulate young women to follow this career path.