A singular honor has been bestowed on Eugenie Scott, former executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). This new item at their website tells the tale: Asteroid named for NCSE’s Scott. They say:
Asteroid 249530 Eugeniescott was named in honor of NCSE’s founding executive director Eugenie C. Scott, according to the Minor Planet Circulars for July 12, 2014 (PDF, p. 324). She is described there as “an American physical anthropologist who served as the executive director of the National Center for Science Education for more than 25 years. She improved the teaching of science-based curricula for students throughout the United States.”
You can check out the orbital details of Eugeniescott at the: JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NCSE tells us:
Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator on the project that discovered the asteroid, explained, “Discovering asteroids is science. Since Eugenie Scott has done so much to help people understand how science works, it seemed only fitting to name one after her! I’m very pleased to honor her contributions to science education in this lasting fashion.”
We are also pleased. The honor is well deserved. Let’s read on:
Mainzer provided the following information about the discovery of Asteroid Eugeniescott.
Genie Scott’s asteroid was discovered by the near-Earth object hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope (WISE), which orbits the Earth and senses asteroids using infrared light. With our infrared telescope, we can sense the heat coming off asteroids as they are warmed by the Sun, which lets us measure size and reflectivity. Asteroid Eugeniescott orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter every 5.3 years. It is about 2.9 kilometers across, and its surface is covered with a dark material suggesting that it was formed in the cooler, outer parts of our solar system.
NCSE’s article has more information, but you’ll want to click over there to read it for yourself.
It is splendid indeed to have an asteroid named after oneself. When they get around to honoring your Curmudgeon, however, nothing less than a galaxy will be sufficient (he modestly said). But this raises the question of naming an astronomical feature after the Discoveroids. It’s not unthinkable. There must be a crater on some insignificant moon of Uranus that can be named for them.
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