Every year, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) recognizes individuals through our renowned honors program for their exceptional achievements, outstanding contributions and service to the scientific community, and attainment of eminence in Earth or space science fields. This distinguished group of honorees—scientists, leaders, educators, and communicators—has explored new frontiers in geophysical or space research through their creativity, original thinking, and groundbreaking advances. On behalf of AGU’s Honors and Recognition Committee, our Union selection committees, and our organization’s leadership and staff, we are very pleased to present the recipients of AGU’s 2017 Union medals, awards, and prizes.

Fulfilling AGU’s Mission

Our 2017 honorees’ work and scientific achievements embody AGU’s mission of promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of society. Their discoveries or other contributions have helped improve the lives and prosperity of people and communities around the world. Their passion for scientific excellence and their dedication continues to enhance our understanding of Earth and space science.

We thank all who have given their support and commitment to AGU’s honors program, including the volunteers who serve on the medal, award, and prize selection committees that have chosen this year’s Union honors recipients. We also are grateful for the commitment and engagement of all of the nominators and supporters who make our honors program possible through their dedicated efforts to recognize and commend their colleagues.

Celebrate at Fall Meeting

We look forward to celebrating these 29 exceptional recipients of our Union medals, awards, and prizes and their contributions and achievements at this year’s Honors Tribute to be held on Wednesday, 13 December 2017, at the Fall Meeting in New Orleans.

Please join us in congratulating our esteemed class of 2017 Union honorees listed below.


William Bowie Medal
*Thomas H. Jordan, Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California
*Editor’s note: The 2017 Bowie Medal was not awarded by the AGU Board.

James B. Macelwane Medal
Robert E. Kopp, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Michael P. Lamb, California Institute of Technology
Yan Lavallée, University of Liverpool
Wen Li, Boston University and University of California, Los Angeles
Tiffany A. Shaw, The University of Chicago

John Adam Fleming Medal
Mary K. Hudson, Dartmouth College

Maurice Ewing Medal
Donald W. Forsyth, Brown University

Robert E. Horton Medal
Eric F. Wood, Princeton University

Harry H. Hess Medal
Roberta L. Rudnick, University of California, Santa Barbara

Roger Revelle Medal
Kevin E. Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Inge Lehmann Medal
Brian L. N. Kennett, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

Devendra Lal Memorial Medal
S. K. Satheesh, Indian Institute of Science


Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth or Ocean Sciences
Bruno V. E. Faria, National Meteorological and Geophysics Institute

Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science
Melessew Nigussie, Washera Geospace and Radar Science Laboratory, Bahir Dar University

Ambassador Award
Jean Marie Bahr, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Robert A. Duce, Texas A&M University
Richard C. J. Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism
Richard Monastersky, Nature

Edward A. Flinn III Award
Robert L. Wesson, U.S. Geological Survey

Excellence in Earth and Space Science Education Award
Thure E. Cerling, University of Utah
James R. Ehleringer, University of Utah

Charles S. Falkenberg Award
Hook Hua, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Athelstan Spilhaus Award
Erik Meade Conway, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

International Award
Hubert H. G. Savenije, Delft University of Technology

Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism–Features
Tony Bartelme, Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)

David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism–News
Courtney Humphries, Freelance Journalist, Boston, Mass.


The Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize
Michael Strasser, University of Innsbruck

Climate Communication Prize
Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

—Eric A. Davidson, President, AGU; and Samuel Mukasa (email:, Chair, Honors and Recognition Committee, AGU


Davidson, E.,Mukasa, S. (2017), 2017 AGU Union medal, award, and prize recipients announced, Eos, 98, Published on 20 July 2017.

Text © 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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