Not everyone gets an asteroid named in his honor (99905 Jeffgrossman). But then again not everyone is on a career path in which each stage is success followed by a new stage with even greater successes. Perhaps the explanation lies in his family. Grossman’s parents, Eddie and Selma, were brilliant teachers. His love of learning may have been born in his home on Black Birch Late. His sister reports that as a boy he memorized the northern hemisphere of stars in the sky by putting them on a series of index cards.
After Scarsdale, Grossman earned his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Brown University and then a Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C.L..A. The title of his dissertation was A chemical and petrographic study of chondrules from the Chainpur (LL3.4) and Semarkona (LL 3.0) chondrites.
It must have been quite a dissertation. For after his post-doctoral fellowship, Grossman has served as a Research Chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1984 to the present. He has been the president of the Geological Society of Washington, the Editor of the Meteoritical Bulletin and since 1995 the Principal Investigator of the NASA Cosmochemistry Program.
Grossman’s honors are many. The Secretary of the Interior cited Grossman for Meritorious Service in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the U.S. Geological Survey in the field of meteorite research and cosmochemistry.
His sister wrote, “Jeff’s love of the natural world, love of learning, and eagerness to understand the world around him has made him an innovative thinker. His research is not job; rather it is who he is, how he thinks, and how he makes sense of the planet himself and for everyone around him”