Bylaws concerning the Pellas-Ryder Award

Rules governing operation and nominations of the committee

Guidelines for the Pellas-Ryder Award for Best Student Paper Posted January 12, 2014

  1. Introduction: In 2000, the Meteoritical Society and the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America jointly instituted an award entitled "The Planetary Science Best Student Paper". In 2004, both societies agreed to change the name to "The Paul Pellas-Graham Ryder Award for the Best Student Paper in Planetary Sciences." This was done not only to honor two respected planetary scientists, but also in an effort to increase the prestige of the award and attract more nominations. The Award is now often referred to simply as "The Pellas-Ryder Award." The award may be granted annually at the discretion of the Council of the Meteoritical Society and the Officers of the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America on the recommendation of a selection committee of authorities in the field of Planetary Science. Topics included under this award are asteroids, comets, craters, interplanetary dust, interstellar medium, lunar samples, meteors, meteorites, natural satellites, planets, tektites, origin and history of the Solar System.

  2. Eligibility: The Award is limited to undergraduate and graduate students who are first authors of papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals during a specific calendar year. The first author must have been a registered student at a degree awarding institution at the time the paper was submitted to the publishing journal. Planetary science papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals published in English only will be considered for this award.

  3. Nomination Process: Papers will be considered for selection by nomination to the Committee. Members of the Committee, the Geological Society of America and its associated societies, and the Meteoritical Society, may make nominations. Two letters of certification are required: (1) From the student's department head attesting that the individual was a student at the time of paper submission to the publishing journal; (2) from the student's advisor detailing the portion of the work done by the student and contributed by others including the advisor. The nomination may be addressed to the Secretary of either the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America or the Meteoritical Society (, who will forward the nominations to the Chair of the Selection Committee, or directly to the Chair of the Committee. The Chair will forward the nominations to all members of the committee for their evaluation. The Geological Society of America and the Meteoritical Society will make periodic announcements concerning the availability of the Award and the eligibility requirements in order to inform members and students.

  4. Selection: The Committee shall discuss among the members and decide how best to evaluate the nomination and prepare a short list and a final selection. Although this is envisioned to be an annual award, an option for the Committee is to recommend that no award be given if, in the Committee's opinion, the nominated papers were not of a high enough quality. The Committee must still report their opinion that no award should be given following the guidelines for the presentation of a final candidate(s), section 5.

  5. Time Frame and Schedule: The time frame for this award is the calendar year. The deadline for nominations is 31 January each year. The Selection Committee will review nominees who published their nominated paper the previous calendar year and create a short list by the time the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference of the current calendar year is held. The Committee will meet at LPSC and settle on their final recommendations. The Committee Chair will send a report of the recommendation to the Secretaries of the two Societies by April 1. Included in the report will be the abstract of the paper and an explanation of why the paper is being recommended for the Award. No further action is required by the Selection Committee until after the Council of the Meteoritical Society has approved the ranking of the Selection Committee, which will occur no later than May 1st of the same year. After Council approval, the time frame for Presentation of the Award (section 8) is to be followed.

  6. Selection Committee: A committee made up of members of the Geological Society of America, the Meteoritical Society, and their associated societies will review papers, rank papers, and make recommendations for the Award. A broad range of interests within planetary science is essential. The composition of the Committee should reflect the fact that much planetary science is done outside North America, and should include members that represent those communities and thus should also have an international representation, if possible. Committee members will be appointed to three-year terms by the Chair of the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America and the President of the Meteoritical Society. Three members of the Committee will be appointed by the Geological Society of America and three by the Meteoritical Society. Terms will be staggered so that there are always four veteran members on the Committee. Terms will begin/end at the beginning and end of each calendar year. Members of the Committee will elect the Committee Chair from those members with at least one year's experience on the Committee. If possible the Chair should be selected so that they rotate from one Society to the other from year to year. The Chair will report to the Societies the conscientious decision of the Committee for their review and approval.

  7. Conflicts of Interest: Students of Committee members are not eligible for the Award. Co-authors of papers under consideration that are not advisors should excuse themselves from all discussion of that paper. Committee members who are from the same institution as a student under consideration should excuse themselves from all discussion of that paper.

  8. Presentation of the Award: By no later than May 1st of the same year, upon approval of the ranking by the Council of the Meteoritical Society, the Meteoritical Society will send a written notice, along with a check for $500 awarded from the General Endowment Fund, to the winner. The Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America will provide the recipient with a framed certificate. If the recipient attends the Annual Geological Society of America Meeting in the year of the Award, the certificate can be presented there. Otherwise, the Geological Society of America mails the certificate to the recipient. A brief citation, written by the Committee Chair, is posted on the Meteoritical Society's website and included in the Geological Society of America, Planetary Geology Division newsletter.

Document from Britt dated Oct. 6, 2000; selection committee paragraph updated Nov., 2003. New deadline and schedule and minor changes: May, 2004. Modified by Michael S. Kelley in Sept., 2005, to reflect the new name and deadline of the award, and to clarify wording. Modified by Harold C. Connolly Jr. in Nov., 2006, to reflect changes in the schedule for selection, notice and presentation of award, and to more closely match what has been the actual practices of the Selection Committee in the last three years. Complete rewrite approved by Council March, 2007. Minor update to item #8 that the citation is posted to the Meteoritical Society website rather than published in MAPS, approved by Council in April 2024.