Judith S. Chester, winner of AGU's 2019 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service
Judith S. Chester

Prof. Judith (“Judi”) S. Chester is an outstanding scientist who uses a powerful combination of experiments and field observations to understand earthquake faulting; however, this award recognizes her exemplary efforts on behalf of the broader community.

In 2004, the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) recruited Judi to help lead the effort in Fault and Rupture Mechanics. She played a key role in guiding that enterprise through consistently clear thinking and constructive suggestions. She subsequently served on the SCEC board, then again in a more prominent role as the vice chair of the Planning Committee. As vice chair, she guides the research enterprise of a large and diverse research community. This is hard work, it is important work, and it is community work that represents a substantial time commitment and attests to Judi’s unselfish character. Judi has now been involved in SCEC leadership for over 15 years; however, during that time she has done much more.

From 2010 to 2016, Judi assumed leadership roles in AGU’s Physical Properties of Earth Materials group. From 2013 to 2017, she was on the Executive Committee of DEFORM. Since 2013, she has managed the National Science Foundation EarthScope Office for Physical Samples from San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), the community resource for storing and making available cores recovered from the San Andreas. SAFOD was a key component of EarthScope, which Paul Silver, to whom this award is dedicated, helped initiate. Judi’s community efforts are particularly impressive because she carried out many of them simultaneously, all while maintaining her own vigorous research program.

Judi is an outstanding scientist who has unselfishly contributed her time and talents in support of a broader research community that spans the three sponsoring AGU sections and beyond. Judi Chester is an exceptionally worthy recipient of the 2019 Paul G. Silver Award.

—Gregory C. Beroza, Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.


Thank you, Greg, for your thoughtful citation. I am truly honored to receive the Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service from the Tectonophysics, Seismology, and Geodesy sections of AGU. This award also is a tribute to the work of the many individuals who conceived of, built, and supported two major scientific programs that I have been very fortunate to participate in, the SAFOD EarthScope initiative and the Southern California Earthquake Center. The foundational scientific vision of each program and their specific research priorities have captivated and energized me through much of my career. Participating in these endeavors offered me the opportunity to interact with two large, overlapping research communities that focused on understanding all aspects of earthquake behavior. They opened multiple paths for participation, helped me grow as a scientist, and introduced me to interdisciplinary research. Through their examples, I learned about collaborative leadership, and it has been an honor to return these gifts through service.

There are many individuals I would like to recognize but can only name a few. First, the SAFOD leaders, Steve Hickman, Mark Zoback, and William Ellsworth, for their hard work over many years; and Terry Tullis for inviting me to SCEC’s first Fault and Rock Mechanics (FARM) workshop in 2002 and opening my eyes to the world of SCEC. That meeting changed my professional life and set me on a path with Terry, Ruth Harris, Nadia Lapusta, and many others to advance FARM-related priorities within the SCEC community. I thank Tom Jordan and John McRaney for their contributions to SCEC over many years, and the SCEC business office, now expertly led by Tran Huynh. Greg, it has been a pleasure working under your thoughtful and expert leadership. Finally, I would like to thank Fred, my colleague, collaborator, and partner.

—Judith Savaso Chester, Texas A&M University, College Station


(2020), Chester receives 2019 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service, Eos, 101, Published on 28 September 2020.

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