Donald D. Clayton, professor of physics and astronomy at Clemson University, S.C., will receive the 1991 Leonard Medal from the Meteoritical Society, an international society for the scientific study of meteorites. The award will be presented in July at the society's annual meeting in Monterey, Calif. Clayton is being honored for his contributions to nucleosynthesis--the formation of chemical elements in the explosions of stars.

"We're doing archaeology on a cosmic scale," says Clayton, describing his current work, which focuses on "isotopic anomalies" found in meteorites. According to Clayton, the rare isotopic composition of these minerals shows that they predate the solar system, and were incorporated into matter when it formed. "This is exciting because it gives us `cosmic chemical memory'--a chemical memory of things that happened in our galaxy before our solar system was born."

Clayton, 55, was among the first proponents of the theory that the chemical elements are...

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