The 2014 Honors Tribute held on 17 December celebrated 89 AGU geophysicists for their breakthrough achievements, outstanding contributions, and service to the Earth and space science community. Through their perseverance, creativity, and diligence, these scientists have enabled the community to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, opening up endless new possibilities for exploration. Their work enriches and improves the quality of people’s lives by advancing, communicating, and inspiring science for a sustainable future.
Union Awardees and Prize
AGU Executive Director/CEO Chris McEntee began the celebration by presenting Union Awards to 15 honorees for their contributions to research, transformative work in educating students and the public, outstanding achievements in science journalism, and engagement with a broader audience on scientific issues of critical importance. These award and prize recipients were celebrated for their passion for research, generous collaborations with colleagues, and dedication to their institutions and students.
This year, for the first time, AGU presented Ambassador Awards to five honorees in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the areas of societal impact, service to the Earth and space community, scientific leadership, and promotion of talent and the career pool. AGU also presented the Climate Communication Prize, supported by a generous grant from Nature’s Own. The prize recognizes an AGU member-scientist for effective promotion of general scientific literacy as it relates to climate change and for efforts to foster respect for and understanding of science-based values.
Last year, 62 esteemed members became AGU Fellows. Margaret Leinen, then AGU president–elect and now AGU president, presented the honors to these individuals, whose visionary leadership and scientific excellence has fundamentally advanced research in their respective fields.
This is an elite class, with only one-tenth of 1% of the AGU membership elected in any given year. The AGU Fellows are a highly influential group at the very peak of their prolific professional careers. The breadth of their research interests and the scope of their contributions are remarkable. The class chosen in 2014 is one of the most scientifically diverse, with research interests spanning AGU’s sections and focus groups.
In the final highlight of the evening’s celebration, AGU’s then president and now most recent past president Carol Finn presented 14 recipients with AGU medals. AGU medals are among the most esteemed in all of the geophysics and the highest honors bestowed by the Union. AGU medalists are pioneers and visionaries whose examples of dedication, professionalism, and generosity have guided students, opened up new fields of research, and led to valuable collaborations that push the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Their innovations and discoveries have changed the way we view the world around us, and their achievements have benefited humankind immeasurably.
This year’s William Bowie Medal was given to Hiroo Kanamori, emeritus professor at California Institute of Technology, for his outstanding contribution to geophysics, earthquake physics, and hazard mitigation. Quoting from his citation, “Hiroo Kanamori is a true gentleman and always most friendly to people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or race. Not only a great number of students but also the whole geophysical community have profoundly benefited from his work.”
“Together with the late Kei Aki,” the citation continues, Kanamori is a “‘made in Japan and perfected in America’ giant star, who will remain shining brightly in the history of seismology.”
The James B. Macelwane Medals were given to five outstanding young scientists who have made significant contributions to the geophysical sciences. Nine other medals were presented to AGU scientists who are giants in their fields and on whose shoulders the next generation of scientists will stand.
A Festive Evening
The Honors Tribute continues to create an ever-expanding community through the celebration of our honorees’ achievements. Welcoming more than 1000 guests, seasoned professionals and students, at the Honors Ceremony, AGU celebrated its goals of expanding public engagement.
Before the event, colleagues, friends, and relatives of honorees congregated at a champagne reception. They then proceeded to a formal Honors Banquet, which closed with lively music and dancing.
Finn expressed her sincere gratitude, not only to individual members but also to the relatives and friends who stand behind the awardees being recognized. She also thanked AGU members who served on the awards, fellows, prize, and medal selection committees and who gave their time to choose these honorees.
The nomination period is now open for awards, medals, prizes, and Fellows. We urge all of you to nominate your colleagues who are most deserving of AGU honors. As you think of these individuals, please pay particular attention to underrepresented groups. We look forward to 2015 and to all your valuable support and commitment to AGU’s Honors Program.
—Beth Paredes, Assistant Director, Executive Operations and Awards Administration, AGU: email: [email protected]
Citation: Paredes, B. (2015), 89 geophysicists honored at a gala tribute, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO023525. Published on 9 February 2015.