5th "Paolo Farinella" Prize, 2015

To honor the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, a prize has been established in recognition of significant contributions given in the fields of interest of Paolo, which span from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularization, security in space, weapons control and disarmament.

The prize has been proposed during the "International Workshop on Paolo Farinella the scientist and the man", held in Pisa in 2010, and is supported by the following Italian institutions: University of Pisa, ASI, INAF and IFAC-CNR.

Previous recipients of the “Paolo Farinella Prize” were:

  • 2011: William F. Bottke, for his contribution to the field of " physics and dynamics of small solar system bodies"
  • 2012: John Chambers, for his contribution to the field of "formation and early evolution of the solar system"
  • 2013: Patrick Michel, for his contribution to the field of "collisional processes in the Solar System”
  • 2014: David Vokrouhlicky, for his contribution to the field of "non gravitational forces in the Solar System”

The fifth Paolo Farinella Prize is devoted to planetary sciences and specifically to studies on the Dynamics and physics of Comets. The award ceremony will be hosted by the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) meeting in Nantes, France (27 September to 02 October 2015).

Farinella Prize 2015

Title: Dynamics and Physics of Comets

Jurgen Blum
Dominique Bockelee-Morvan
Julio Fernandez
Marco Fulle (Chair)
Horst Uwe Keller
Paolo Paolicchi
Paul Weissman

Nicolas Biver, for his studies of the molecular and isotopic composition of cometary volatiles by means of submillimeter and millimiter ground and space observations. His persistent observations of comet Hale-Bopp clearly established the importance of super volatiles for the activity of comets. His observational skills and knowledge of molecular physics led to major results concerning the activity of comets and the chemistry and photo processes within the coma. Biver has published most of his papers within an international team of researchers, in a good number of them as first author. The steady effort of Biver and collaborators has led to very impressive results, as for instance the determination of the D/H ratio in 103P/Hartley 2 and the setting of an upper limit for 45P/Honda-MrkosPajdusakova, and the detection of complex organic molecules in the comae of C/2012 F6 and C/2013 R1, topics of fundamental importance to learn about the origin of the terrestrial water and life itself.