Scholars Digest

Yale professor, Juan Lora Bags Harold C. Urey Prize In Planetary Science

Methane is more concentrated in Titan’s atmosphere than it is in the ground, which corresponds to more water molecules being concentrated in the atmosphere than in the ocean on Earth.

Juan Lora

Juan Lora, an assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, will receive the Harold C. Urey Prize in Planetary Science in 2022 for his research on these types of atmospheric dynamics. The American Astronomical Society gave Lora the honor this month. It honors leadership and “exceptional achievements” by a young scientist. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has been a focus of Lora’s research.

This is a pretty lovely surprise, said Juan Lora. “I recall the first time I attended the Urey Prize talk… So it’s kind of great to be in a position to give this lecture now.

In his research, Juan Lora, who joined Yale’s faculty in January 2019, has focused on Titan’s atmosphere and Earth’s ancient temperatures. His lab has studied a range of weather-related phenomena occurring in terrestrial bodies all throughout the solar system using numerical climate models.

J. Michael Battalio, a postdoctoral researcher in Lora’s lab, remarked “Yale is fortunate to have Juan.”

Juan Lora focuses on the phenomenon of atmospheric rivers, which are frequently responsible for significant precipitation occurrences. Atmospheric rivers are long, thin columns of air that carry moisture from the tropics. Serena Scholz, a first-year postdoctoral student in Lora’s lab, highlighted that his research on these water dynamics has aided in tracking historical changes in Earth’s hydroclimate.

While some of Juan Lora’s research has benefited the earth sciences community, his explorations into space have also been part of his research. Lora initially intended to study astronomy in college, but as he advanced in his studies, he narrowed his concentration to Titan in particular. During that period, he wrote and coded the Titan Atmospheric Model, which, in the words of Battalio, is one of the “most developed, most trustworthy climate models that we have for Titan.”

CTA on Juan Lora’s Story 

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