2017 Farinella Prize Awarded to Simone Marchi
September 18, 2017

Dr Simone Marchi, an Italian scientist working at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the seventh Paolo Farinella Prize in 2017 for his contributions to understanding the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System. The award ceremony was hosted today at the 12th European Planetary Science Congress in Riga, Latvia. The ceremony included a lecture by Dr. Marchi on recent developments in our understanding of the early solar system.

The annual prize was established in 2010 to honour the memory of the Italian scientist Paolo Farinella (1953-2000) and, each year, it acknowledges an outstanding researcher not older than 47 years (the age of Farinella when he passed away) who has achieved important results in one of Farinella’s fields of work. Each year the Prize focuses on a different research area and in 2017, the seventh edition was devoted to planetary science and specifically to the physics and dynamics of the inner planets of the solar system and their satellites.

Dr Marchi has made significant contributions to understanding the complex problems related to the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System, including the Moon. He has investigated the origin and consequences of Late Heavy Bombardment, including the surface properties and evolution of Ceres and Vesta. His research has always been interdisciplinary and he has successfully exploited knowledge coming from meteorite geology and geochemistry.

“Simone Marchi’s outstanding publication record shows that he has mastered the different techniques of image processing and analysis, spectroscopy and numerical simulations.” said Alberto Cellino, Member of the Organizing Committee of the Farinella Prize. “Considering his young age and his record of scientific publications and involvement in space missions, he has demonstrated the wide impact of his research on the many domains of the modern planetology, and is well deserving the 2017 Farinella Prize.”

Dr. Marchi, has received a Master’s Degree in Physics and a PhD in Applied Physics at Pisa University, in Italy. He has worked at Padua University, Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, German Aerospace Agency, and NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. He currently holds a position of Senior Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Before receiving the Prize, Dr. Marchi commented: “I feel particularly honored for receiving this prize as I personally knew Paolo Farinella. I met him during my last year at Pisa University and he was one of my Master’s thesis advisors. I have fond memories of our meetings in his office. In particular, I recall his insight about physical phenomena, which appeared to me, as a young student, really astonishing. On the personal side, he was very friendly and always ready to help. I also appreciated his informal character that helped overcome the barrier between a professor and a student. Today, one of the pivotal points of my work is the synergy among theoretical models, remote sensing from space missions, and sample analysis. This approach characterizes my research and certainly also was a distinctive mark of Paolo’s research. Perhaps I have inherited this from him.”

Further Information

The Paolo Farinella prize (http://www.europlanet-eu.org/paolo-farinella-prize) was established to honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, in recognition of significant contributions given in the fields of interest of Farinella, which span from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularization, and security in space, weapons control and disarmament. The winner of the prize is selected each year on the basis of his/her overall research results in a chosen field, among candidates with international and interdisciplinary collaborations, not older than 47 years, the age of Farinella when he passed away, at the date of 25 March 2000. The prize has first been proposed during the “International Workshop on Paolo Farinella the scientist and the man,” held in Pisa in 2010, supported by the University of Pisa, ISTI/CNR and by IAPS-INAF (Rome). The first “Paolo Farinella prize” was awarded in 2011 to William Bottke, for his contribution to the field of “physics and dynamics of small solar system bodies.” In 2012 the prize went to John Chambers, for his contribution to the field of “formation and early evolution of the solar system.” In 2013, to Patrick Michel, for his work in the field of “collisional processes in the solar system,”. In 2014, to David Vokrouhlicky for his contributions to “our understanding of the dynamics and physics of solar system, including how pressure from solar radiation affects the orbits of both asteroids and artificial satellites”, in 2015 to Nicolas Biver for his studies of “the molecular and isotopic composition of cometary volatiles by means of submillimeter and millimeter ground and space observations,” and in 2016 to Dr. Kleomenis Tsiganis for “his studies of the applications of celestial mechanics to the dynamics of planetary systems, including the development of the Nice model”


Dr. Simone Marchi, winner of the Farinella Prize 2017. Credit: S.Marchi

Science Contacts

Dr Simone Marchi
Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO
+1 720 325 0316

Media Contacts

Anita Heward
EPSC 2017 Press Officer
+44 07756 034243

Livia Giacomini
EPSC 2017 Press Officer

Notes for Editors

EPSC 2017

The European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 (www.epsc2017.eu) is taking place at the Radisson Blu Latvija in Riga, from Sunday 17 to Friday 22 September 2017.  EPSC is the major European annual meeting on planetary science and in 2017 is hosted for the first time in the Baltic States. Around 800 scientists from Europe and around the world will attend the meeting and will give around 1,000 oral and poster presentations about the latest results on our own Solar System and planets orbiting other stars.

EPSC 2017 is organised by Europlanet and Copernicus Meetings. The Local Organising Committee is led by Baltics in Space, a not-for-profit organisation that is supporting 25 members centred around nine Baltic space facilities for the conference. The meeting is sponsored by Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, Finnish Meteorological Institute, The Estonia-Latvia programme, The Representation of the European Commission in Latvia, the Planetary Science Institute, Latvijas Universitate and The Division for Planetary Sciences of the AAS.

Details of the Congress and a full schedule of EPSC 2017 scientific sessions and events can be found at the official website:



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