Baruch Blumberg Memorial Citizen Science Postdoctoral Fellowship
The following is a guest blog post from Greg K. Schmidt, Deputy Director and Director of International Partnerships for the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
To Followers and Fans of MoonZoo:
It was my great honor and privilege today, at the opening session of the annual Lunar Science Forum, to announce the creation of the Baruch Blumberg Memorial Citizen Science Postdoctoral Fellowship. Baruch, whom his many friends knew as Barry, was the recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the hepatitis-B virus and subsequent development of its vaccine. As Jonathan Chernoff, scientific director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center where Barry spent most of his career, said, “I think it’s fair to say that Barry prevented more cancer deaths than any person who ever lived.”
Barry was the founding director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, where he created a vision that’s still being followed today. In his early 80s, Barry returned to NASA Ames as the distinguished scientist for both the NASA Lunar Science Institute and NASA Astrobiology Institute, where he focused a large part of his efforts on citizen science. He was very interested in Moon Zoo as a tool for getting lunar science into the hands of the public.
Barry also was president of the American Philosophical Society, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin. Another past president was Thomas Jefferson. One can only imagine the conversations Barry and these two founding fathers might have had on citizens (Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark all come to mind) and their contributions to scientific knowledge.
Barry passed away at Ames this past April, after giving an eloquent talk on a future human presence on the Moon. He often talked of multi-generational quests, and he saw expanding the human sphere to include our nearest neighbor as a quest worth striving for.
It was my great pleasure to also announce this morning that Dr. Stuart Robbins, your Science lead for Moon Zoo, is the first recipient of the Blumberg fellowship. I can’t think of anyone more fitting for this honor. His work under this fellowship will be all about taking the data assembled by your community, analyzing it, and creating meaningful scientific papers that will show the enormous value of what you do.
Thank you for your continuing work on MoonZoo. We at the NASA Lunar Science Institute support it strongly, just as Barry did. As someone who was close to Barry, I know he would be very pleased with this, and cheering Stuart on in this pursuit.
Deputy Director and Director of International Partnerships
NASA Lunar Science Institute