Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Mainprice Receives Paul G. Silver Award

David Mainprice will receive the 2017 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given annually to recognize “a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the fields of geodesy, seismology, or tectonophysics through mentoring of junior colleagues, leadership of community research initiatives, or other forms of unselfish cooperation in research.”



David Mainprice, recipient of the 2017 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service.
David Mainprice

As befits a Silver awardee, David Mainprice’s scholarship transcends boundaries of mineral physics, tectonophysics, and seismology, enabling improved understanding of S wave splitting, thermal diffusivity, phase transitions, and relations among deformation, elastic moduli, and seismic properties. David was directly connected to Paul Silver; they coauthored two influential papers and maintained a personal friendship. But more important in the context of this award are David’s intellectual generosity, enthusiastic mentorship, and kind cooperation with students and colleagues. Beginning in 1990, he committed to making his petrophysics programs and databases freely available. Nowadays, collaborating with Hielscher, Bachmann, Schaeben, and others, David is a major contributor and teacher of MTEX, an open-source code providing robust statistical assessments of crystal preferred orientation, seismic velocity anisotropy, and shear wave polarization. At any given meeting, there are always a spectacular number of posters displaying figures using MTEX or his older software. David’s generosity extends to hosting research visits in Montpellier and providing workshops worldwide. It was easy to collect heartfelt and eloquent quotations illustrating his influence as a mentor and collaborator. D. Prior, Otago University, said, “Mainprice’s contributions…to texture measurement have been trendsetting, yet openly available…. [His lab] made world-class EBSD instruments available to international users…. [When] launched 15 years ago, it included many components built in-house, sometimes out of commonly available household items (including coffee filters).” K. Michibayashi, Shizuoka University, commented, “I was very much inspired by David…[and] still rely on his products and basic ideas.” Q. Wang, Nanjing University, commented, “[Dave is] a generous teacher and friend. He helped to establish my career and taught me how to become an honorable scientist.” S. Misra, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, quoted a Sanskrit aphorism: “Sharing knowledge gives humility; humility gives character.” Misra concluded that David Mainprice epitomized the essence of that saying.

—Brian Evans, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
—Andrea Tommasi, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France


First, I thank Brian Evans and Andrea Tommasi, who wrote the citation. It is very humbling to have received this award associated with the name of Paul Silver, an extraordinary seismologist, genial colleague, and great friend who is greatly missed by all. I acknowledge the people who taught me many things, starting with lectures at Kingston Polytechnic based on practical work and fieldwork. Ernie Rutter at Imperial College, where my research started under his direction, is an exceptional person with unlimited talents. He taught me countless things, including tensors, which at the time was of little interest to me! I was fortunate to have Mervyn Paterson as my Ph.D. supervisor at Australian National University, a man with a very strong background in physics and a very critical eye for detail. He set the standards I tried to follow. Some years later I took a sabbatical in Brian Evans’s group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where again I learned more about rock deformation from one of the masters of the subject. In addition to the names above, I have collaborated with many researchers who were young at the time. I will mention some of these people, as space is limited: Yvon Montardi, Shaocheng Ji, Philippe Blumenfeld, Jan Behrmann, Keith Benn, Geoff Lloyd, John Wheeler, Bernard Seront, Guilhem Barruol, Alain Vauchez, Hartmut Kern, Anke Wendt, Walid Ben Ismaïl, David Jousselin, Gwen Lamoureux, Benoit Ildefonse, Marcos Egydio-Silva, Luigi Burlini, Benoit Dewandel, Jerome Bascou, Benoit Gibert, Ela Pera, Katsuyoshi Michibayashi, Patrick Cordier, Philippe Carrez, Stanislav Ulrich, Fabrice Fontaine, Miki Taska, Manuele Faccenda, Arnaud Metsue, Qin Wang, Richard Law, Ralf Hielscher, Helmut Schaeben, Bjarne Almqvist, Razvan Caracas, Alex Mussi, Claudio Madonna, Lucille Bezacier, Marie Violay, Rolf Bruijna, Sylvie Demouchy, Santanu Misra, Luiz Morales, Victoria Shushakova, Ewin Frets, Takako Satsukawa, Mainak Mookherjee, Tanvi Chheda, Steve Peuble, Fabio Arzilli, José Alberto Padrón-Navarta, Thomas Chauve, Maurine Montagnat, Sandra Piazolo, and Baptiste Journaux.

—David Mainprice, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France

Citation: AGU (2017), Mainprice receives Paul G. Silver Award, Eos, 98, Published on 13 November 2017.
© 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0