Harry McSween

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Harry "Hap" Younger McSween
Born (1945-09-29) September 29, 1945 (age 71)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Fields Meteoritics
Institutions University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Alma mater University of Georgia, Harvard
Thesis Petrologic and chemical studies of the (C3) carbonaceous meteorites (1977)
Doctoral advisor John A. Wood
Known for Meteoritics
Notable awards Leonard Medal, Leconte medal, Fellow medal, J. Lawrence Smith Medal

Harry "Hap" Y. McSween is a Professor of Planetary Geoscience and Distinguished Professor of Science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has published papers and books about meteorites, particularly chondrites, and their cosmochemistry, mineralogy, and petrology.


Harry Y. McSween was born September 29, 1945 in North Carolina.[1] After finishing school he attended the military undergraduate public Citadel College. He then pursued his M.S. at the University of Georgia, where he graduated in 1969. The title of his thesis was "Petrological and geochemical studies in the Coronaca area, Greenwood County, South Carolina". He then joined the Air Force where he was in charge of flying cargo, mail and sometimes troops around the world.[2]

After his military service he went on to Harvard, where he became John A. Wood's first graduate student. It was here that Edward Stolper and he came up with the idea that some meteorites might originate from mars.[2][3] He became involved with the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997 as a member of the science team, then on the team for Mars Global Surveyor. Since then McSween has been a co-investigator on the Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers and Dawn asteroid orbiter missions.[4]

McSween has been President of the Meteoritical Society, Chair of the Planetary Division of the Geological Society of America, and Councilor and President of the Geological Society of America. He also is a member on several advisory committees for NASA and the National Research Council.[4]

He has received the Leonard Medal from the Meteoritical Society, the Leconte Medal from the South Carolina Science Council, the J. Lawrence Smith Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[2] and the Whipple Award of the Planetary Science Division of the American Geophysical Union. In 2013 he was named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Universities Professor of the Year.

McSween also has an asteroid named for him: 5223 McSween (1981 EX6).[4] "Harry Y. McSween at UTK". UTK. 



  • McSween, Harry Y. (1993). Stardust to planets : a geological tour of the solar system (1st ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312093945. 
  • McSween, Harry Y. (1997). Fanfare for Earth: The Origin of Our Planet and Life (1st ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312146016. 
  • McSween, Harry Y. (1999). Meteorites and their parent planets (2nd ed.). Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521583039. 
  • Uhle, Harry Y. McSween, Jr., Steven M. Richardson, Maria E. (2003). Geochemistry : pathways and processes (2nd ed.). New York, NY [u.a.]: Columbia Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0231124409. 
  • D. S. Lauretta; H. Y. McSween, Jr., eds. (2006). Meteorites and the early solar system II. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0816525621. 
  • Huss, Harry Y. McSween, Jr., Gary R. (2010). Cosmochemistry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521878623. 

Peer-reviewed journal articles[edit]

He is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, of which the most cited are:

  • What we have learned about Mars from SNC meteorites by McSween Jr, H.Y. Meteoritics Volume 29, Issue 6, 1994, Pages 757-779 ( cited 282 times)
  • The chemical composition of martian soil and rocks returned by the mobile alpha proton x-ray spectrometer: Preliminary results from the x-ray mode" by Rieder, R.a, Economou, T., Wänke, H., Turkevich, A., Crisp, J.c, Brückner, J., Dreibus, G., McSween Jr., H.Y. Science Volume 278, Issue 5344, 5 December 1997, Pages 1771-1774. (cited 227 times)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c Drake, Michael J. (1 January 2002). "2001 Leonard Medal Citation for Harry Y. McSween, Jr.". Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 37 (1): 5–6. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2002.tb00792.x. 
  3. ^ McSween, H.Y., Jr.; E.M. Stolper (1980). "Basaltic meteorites and their parent planets". Scientific American. 242: 54–63. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0680-54. 
  4. ^ a b c "Harry Y. McSween at UTK". UTK.