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PSI’s Henry Throop Honored for International Planetary Science Outreach Efforts



PSI’S Henry Throop has been recognized by the U.S. State Department for sharing his love of planetary science with people around the world.

Throop has been awarded the Avis Bohlen Award for a Foreign Service Family Member for his volunteer efforts, which include organizing outreach and talks on his own that inspired tens of thousands of students across Mexico, India and South Africa over the last eight years through more than 200 animated talks on topics including NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto, astrobiology, the formation of the Solar System and preventing asteroid impacts on Earth. 

The award, which is given annually by the American Foreign Service Association, honors the accomplishments of a family member of a Foreign Service employee whose relations with the American and foreign communities at post have done the most to advance the interests of the United States.

Throop, his wife Heidi Hattenbach, and their three children currently live in Mumbai, India, where she is a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate. Their earlier postings include Mexico City, Pretoria, South Africa, and Washington, D.C.

The State Department American Foreign Services Association’s citation noted that Throop volunteers about 20 percent of his time to conduct unpaid science outreach to underserved students in his host countries. Using dry ice and basic ingredients, he has taught hundreds of children about how comets are formed, and with his own telescopes, he has shared the night sky with entire rural villages. He is grateful for the opportunities that living abroad have given him to work with students and the public, and hopes that everyone can get the chance to see Saturn's rings.

Above, Henry Throop shows students how to make a come out of dry ice, ammonia and dust – the same ingredients used in space – at Madikweng Secondary School in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Credit: Ephraim Manamela

Below, Throop shows students how to use a telescope to observe sunspots during the day, at Dendron Secondary School in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Credit: Dendron Secondary 


June 5, 2017
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