Quanzhi Ye Awarded 2023 Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society

Quanzhi Ye was awarded the 2023 Harold C. Urey Prize from the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. The Urey Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding achievements in planetary science by an early-career scientist.

Quanzhi Ye headshot
Quanzhi Ye. Credit: Lisa Helfert. Click image to download hi-res version.

Ye, an assistant research scientist in the University of Maryland’s Department of Astronomy since 2019, will receive the award at the 55th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in October 2023. He was honored for his contributions to the understanding of small bodies in the inner solar system by exploring the boundary between active and inactive objects.

"We are delighted that the Urey Prize committee recognized Quanzhi's broad interest and impacts, and awarded him such a significant award," said Andrew Harris, chair of UMD's Department of Astronomy. "Quanzhi is an excellent and versatile scientist and a very positive member of our department in many ways."

Ye has contributed research-grade solar system observations to the scientific community since he was in high school. In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that many small bodies in our solar system cannot be given the binary label “comet” or “asteroid,” but instead are at different places in a continuum of formational and evolutionary processes. Ye distinguished himself via numerical modeling that ties meteor showers to specific comets and asteroids. This can reveal past activity in ways not otherwise possible.

He subsequently diversified his research to lead both imaging and spectroscopic studies, with recent high-profile results including the highest quality spectrum of 1I/‘Oumuamua and Hubble observations of the extremely close approach to Earth of (3200) Phaethon.

Ye has published first-authored 31 peer-reviewed papers. He also served as an international ambassador for astronomy through his organization of the Lulin Sky Survey in Taiwan while a student at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou in mainland China, his co-translation of astronomy books into Chinese, and maintaining an active media and outreach presence in both English and Chinese.

Ye received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in astronomy from the University of Western Ontario in 2016 and 2013, respectively, and his bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences at Sun Yat-sen University in 2010.

Adapted from text provided by the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences.

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