Elliott Receives 2016 N. L. Bowen Award

Tim Elliott will receive the 2016 N. L. Bowen Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.”


Timothy (Tim) Richard Elliott is an isotope geochemist in the broadest sense of the term. After a PhD at Open University with Chris Hawkesworth as adviser, he went to Lamont as a post-doc and then to Amsterdam. He became a faculty at the University of Bristol in 1999. Dressing and chucking like a teenager but thinking and performing as a Jedi of Geochemistry, he combines, as his long-term friend Terry Plank puts it, “a child-like curiosity and generous mentorship with an utterly honest and brutal view of shabby work”.

Like a journeyman in previous centuries, Tim has gone through many of the basic techniques, learning to master neodymium, thorium-uranium, lead, nickel, magnesium, and tungsten isotopes with utmost proficiency before he tackled the most daunting challenges left unsolved by the pioneers of mantle and planetary geochemistry. He left his mark on a number of problems that have since become common knowledge, like the U-Th series in the Mariana volcanics as a marker of melting processes, the subduction factory, the history of the uranium cycle, and evidence of tungsten isotope heterogeneities attesting to live 182Hf in the early Earth. Tim is an unusual crossbred with outstanding analytical talent, rigor, and a deep understanding of the theoretical aspects of geochemistry. With Milton Keynes, Lamont, and Bristol efficiently nurturing Tim’s developing personality, his nature, that of a mind both independent and creative, rapidly revealed itself and has long since come into its own.

Time has now come to recognize Tim as one of the leading geochemists in his generation. Dear President and dear Colleagues, I am particularly proud to present to you the 2016 recipient of the Norman Bowen Award of the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section of the American Geophysical Union, Timothy Richard Elliott.

—Francis Albarède, Ecole Normale Superieure Lyon, France


It is daunting to respond in black and white to Francis’ blushingly generous words. He has known me long enough to see more than just the questionable garb, so I am very grateful for his focus on the positive and longstanding support. Briefly wandering back down the memory lane Francis sketched, I think we are both misty-eyed about the excitement of research and life on the banks of the Hudson. To me this was certainly a fillip after the concrete cows of Milton Keynes, although this well-ordered suburban environment did inspire a comeraderie amongst the plucky few who chose to ask questions of Earth rather than estate agents. I remember the weekly window on a largely mysterious world provided by Eos, then in print form. This world, and indeed the bits I had never understood in Scooby Doo, were made gloriously manifest to me during my time at Lamont. Subsequently swapping Old for New Amsterdam seemed a fair exchange; I fear my lack of ostensible productivity during that era would be fatal now, but the freedom I was afforded for intellectual and technical rumination was enormously valuable. Thence my personal Brexit, which has proven to be the stuff of the impossible dreams of the Vote Leave campaigners.

I am hugely buoyed by the kind efforts of those who nominated me. Multitudinous thanks go out to the many who have helped me along a somewhat circuitous path and kept surprising faith in what I have been sometimes doing. I won’t name names, as the list would inevitably be both remiss and too long. Having spent much of my career assuming that the function of Awards Presentations was as a time out for much needed recuperation, I also appreciate the bravery of the committee for giving me a chance to engage.

—Tim Elliott, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Canil Receives 2016 N. L. Bowen Award

Dante Canil will receive the 2016 N. L. Bowen Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.”


The Bowen Award is presented to Dante Canil in recognition of his seminal work on the history of the oxygen fugacity of the upper mantle.

By the early 1990’s Fe3+/Fe2+ measurements of peridotites and MORB glasses indicated that the modern suboceanic mantle melts under oxygen fugacity conditions somewhat below the NNO buffer. But we knew little about the history of mantle oxidation state. Dante addressed this question by determining the partitioning of vanadium between olivine and silicate melt. He showed that the olivine-liquid partition coefficient DV decreases by more than an order of magnitude as the oxidation state of V increases from +2 to +4 with increasing oxygen fugacity. Thus, he demonstrated that Archaean komatiites (up to 3.5 Ga) crystallised olivine under fO2 conditions slightly below NNO and hence under similar conditions to modern oceanic basalts. His conclusion was “If the fO2 values recorded by basic magmas represent the fO2 of their mantle source region then the Archaean mantle source for komatiites is not likely to have been significantly less oxidizing than at present.” The important next step was to determine whether or not the Archaean mantle residue showed the same oxidation state as the lavas. Dante measured V partitioning into spinel, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene and garnet. This enabled him to track V/Al ratios of peridotite residues from partial melting at different oxygen fugacities. He showed in this way that garnet peridotites from Archaean cratons exhibit melting depletions at oxygen fugacities about 1 log unit below the NNO buffer ie under similar conditions to those recorded by Archaean komatiites and modern oceanic basalts. Dante Canil’s groundbreaking work thus demonstrates that the oxygen fugacity of the upper mantle played no role in the rise of atmospheric oxygen and has remained approximately constant at the current value for at least 3.5 Ga.

—Bernard Wood, Oxford University, United Kingdom


I thank Bernie Wood for this nomination, the Awards committee and all at AGU for their selfless efforts in adjudicating awards like these. How humbling such awards are. In a career one encounters so many other people to measure up to that it then becomes almost embarrassing to receive an award for what one loves to do. On this note I thank all those people I cannot name whose work I have read, learned from and aspired to match. Every neat idea I have had spawned from some isolated sentence in your paper. In my mind I share this award with you. I also thank those people who in some way took a chance on me along the way: Chris Scarfe, Dave Virgo, Fritz Seifert, Don Dingwell and Hugh O’Neill. I also thank my wife Terri and daughter Olivia for personal balance in a life occupied with science. I thank my parents for teaching me to balance modesty with pride, and to maintain a strong work ethic. I am a particularly honoured for this award because like Bowen, I am a Canadian, started geology in the bush and found myself in experimental petrology. Bowen saw how field observations could be later grounded in experiment. Nature is surely complex, and there are of course many more experiments to do, but they are not always sophisticated or expensive. Many of them require only imagination and paying attention to the work of others. For this reason, if you are a younger person in the audience I would urge you to not tow a party line, always look where your research speaks to other fields, and realize that you do not always need huge resources to make scientific progress. This has been my motto and I thank you all again for this incredible honour.

—Dante Canil, University of Victoria, Canada

Gazel Receives 2016 Hisashi Kuno Award

Esteban Gazel will receive the Hisashi Kuno Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “accomplishments of junior scientists who make outstanding contributions to the fields of volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology.”


Esteban showed up at Lamont as a postdoc and took the place by storm. Fresh from a Ph.D. at Rutgers with Claude Herzberg and Mike Carr, and already with a Nature paper under his belt on the secular cooling of plumes, he promptly wrote several successful NSF proposals, and started up projects with me, Conny Class, and Peter Kelemen. I just stood back and watched Esteban go, in awe of his drive and enthusiasm. To use one of my father’s favorite expressions—he’s a house afire.

For much of his career, Esteban has explored the crosstalk between the Galapagos hot spot and the Costa Rica volcanic arc. Of course, they communicate through the subduction of the Galapagos plume track material, and Esteban discovered the compositional effects of a plume on an arc. Most recently, in a Nature Geoscience paper, he has shown how this region, almost unique in the globe, is currently cooking up bona fide continental crust. By developing a geochemical Continental Index and relating it to seismic velocities, Esteban proposed a new recipe for continental formation that involves some familiar processes, like slab melting, and more exotic ingredients, like enriched oceanic crust.

At Virginia Tech, Esteban has in a short time built a large group of young scientists who are already starting their own careers. With them, Esteban is working on everything from Virginia volcanoes to the break-up of Rodinia and the magmas of Mars.

As Esteban likes to say, geology is the passion of his life. He was born in Costa Rica and grew up on the volcanoes he has studied. He is already known to the President of Costa Rica, having been recognized with the Costa Rican National Award of Science. For the discoveries he has made on hot spots, volcanic arcs, and the continental crust, let us recognize him here with the 2016 Hisashi Kuno Award.

—Terry Plank, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.


Thank you, Terry, for your kind words. I also want to acknowledge the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology section for awarding me the great honor of being the recipient of this year’s Hisashi Kuno Award. Special thanks to Roberta Rudnick for the nomination and my supportive colleagues who wrote letters. Finally, none of this would be possible without the unconditional support of my wife, Naya, and the educational opportunities from both Costa Rica and the United States.

My geologic adventure started many years ago, as my childhood was crafted with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. During my undergraduate years at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), my fascination for deciphering the Earth’s secrets evolved from simple curiosity to becoming the passion of my life. I met Mike Carr, my Ph.D. advisor, during one of his visits to the UCR, and Kaj Hoernle and Lina Patino were also important influences during my undergraduate education. During my Ph.D. at Rutgers, Mike became a dean, which allowed for me to have the opportunity to work on mantle petrology with Claude Herzberg.

By the end of my Ph.D., thanks to Peter Kelemen and Terry Plank’s support, I was lucky enough to receive the Postdoctoral Fellowship at Lamont. At Lamont, I not only made my first steps to understanding volatiles in magmas, but also learned how to write competitive proposals, think on a larger scale, and properly communicate my science. I got to work with, among others, Peter, Terry, Conny Class, and Al Hofmann, who not only became my mentors but also my friends. For the past five years at Virginia Tech my network of supportive colleagues and friends grew. Today, I share with my students the joy of doing what I love, working on solving the puzzles of the Earth one piece at a time.

—Esteban Gazel, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

Reilinger Receives 2016 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service

Robert Reilinger will receive the 2016 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes 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 collaboration in research.


Robert Reilinger is honored with the Paul Silver Award for inspiring so many researchers and students, in so many countries, to collaborate in the construction of a vast geodetic observatory centered on the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia but stretching from Morocco in the west, Azerbaijan in the east, the Black Sea in the north, and Ethiopia in the south. Rob has orchestrated this sustained and very productive collaboration, despite the many political tensions in the region, by his generosity and evident lack of self-interest, his contagious enthusiasm for seismotectonics, his willingness to work hard in the field, year after year, especially in the emergencies trigged by earthquakes, and by his desire to see his many partners, especially his younger partners, publish the fruits of their efforts. Rob has helped to build technical capacity by organizing training programs as and when they were needed, both at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and within the region. Rob has also been generous with his ideas, and the papers that he has written with his colleagues at MIT and throughout the Tethyan region have contributed to, and helped inspire, a flood of new insights into the geodynamics and the seismicity of this region. Paul Silver was an excellent and hard-working scientist, a great organizer, a generous mentor, and a kind soul. All these things are true of Robert Reilinger as well, which makes him a really fitting person for this honor. Thank you, Rob, for all that you have done for our science, and for all that you have done for our community.

—Tony Watts, Chair, Joint Tectonophysics, Seismology and Geodesy sections, Silver Award Committee


Thanks for your very generous citation, Tony. I’m incredibly flattered to receive this award, and grateful to have an opportunity to acknowledge some of those individuals who have contributed to my personal and professional development. Jack Oliver gave me a start in geophysics and advised me to “focus on doing good work—everything else will take care of itself.” Muawia Barazangi taught me the importance of careful observations and the intense dedication needed to be a scientist. Our geodynamic studies of the Africa-Arabia-Eurasia plate system would never have happened without Nafi Toksoz inviting me to work at MIT, and to collaborate with Bob King, Simon McClusky, and Aykut Barka (deceased), each as personally committed to this research as I have been for the past 30 years. Philippe Vernant and Mike Floyd have more recently carried much of the scientific “weight.” Carrying on from Aykut, Semih Ergintav has maintained a remarkable, perhaps unique, collaboration in Turkey motivated by ongoing earthquake hazards. Sergy Balassanian (deceased) and Arkady Karakanian (Armenia), Fakhraddin Kadirov and Samir Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Valentine Kotzev and Ivan Georgiev (Bulgaria), Mikhail Prilepin (Caucasus, Russia), Ali Tealeb and Salah Mamoud (Egypt), Rebecca Bendick and Shimelis Fiseha (Ethiopia), Ghebrebrhan Ogubazghi (Eritrea), Galaktion Hahubia, Giorgi Sokhadze, and Tea Godoladze (Georgia), Demitris Paradissis (Greece), Abdullah ArRajehi (KSA), Muawia Barazangi, Francisco (Paco) Gomez, Mohamad Daoud, Riyadh Ghazzi (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan), Driss Ben Sari and Abdelilah Tahayt (Morocco) all participated in early efforts to map deformation—their whole hearted cooperation and willingness to work across borders allowed our project to proceed. I hope all of our partners will take personal satisfaction from this award. UNAVCO has been, and remains, an invaluable resource, beginning with the engineers, James Stowell, Jim Normandeau, Dave Mencin, and Karl Faux among others, with continuing, uninterrupted support essential to our research.

—Robert Reilinger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

Behr Receives 2016 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Whitney Behr will receive the 2016 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early-career contributions in Tectonophysics.


Whitney Behr has distinguished herself as a leading researcher in the field of lithospheric deformation. She is a great scientist with a keen ability to identify important problems and stands out in the breadth of her research, spanning investigations of the kinematics and mechanics of deformation in the continental lithosphere, experimental rock mechanics, and Quaternary geomorphology to constrain geologic fault slip rates. She possesses a unique combination of enthusiasm, scientific firepower, and a friendly frankness that promotes advancement in science. Her work ethic and intellect have led to novel papers on the origin of the lithosphere/asthenosphere boundary, the rheological structure of the lithospheric crust and mantle, and the role of grain size evolution on the rheological behavior of shear zones. Her research provides an excellent example of a 21st century approach to geology and geophysics; she uses a wide range of new techniques in both the field and the lab, constraining deformation processes at a broad range of spatial scales to investigate important problems related to the state of stress and deformation processes as a function of depth. Whitney’s combination of a strong background in structural geology with her excellent insights into how to apply state-of-the art analytical techniques has also led to important integrative papers on the strength and viscosity of the continental crust and lithosphere. Her scientific breadth is impressive for a scientist at her career stage. This attribute is exemplified by her contributions to our understanding of slip rates along the Southern San Andreas Fault. We all look forward to seeing the science Whitney takes on over the next 10 years. She is strongly deserving of the Morgan Award after such a fantastic start to her career.

—Greg Hirth, Brown University, Providence, R.I.


Sincerest thanks to Greg Hirth for nominating me for the Jason Morgan Award and to my additional letter writers. I am very honored to be receiving this recognition from AGU.

I owe this award to the wonderful foundation in geoscience I received as an undergraduate at Pasadena City College and Cal State Northridge, and as a Ph.D. student at University of Southern California (USC). I am especially grateful for the mentorship I received from my Ph.D. Advisor, John Platt, and my committee members Thorsten Becker, Greg Davis, Ken Hudnut, and Tom Hanks.

After graduating from USC, I spent one of the most productive years of my career as a postdoc at Brown University, where I benefited immensely from interacting with many people, but especially Greg Hirth and his research group, Terry Tullis, and Karen Fischer.

Since arriving at University of Texas at Austin in 2012, I’ve been very fortunate to connect with some exceptional faculty, postdocs, and students. I’d especially like to thank Mark Cloos for his mentorship, and for sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of a range of geoscience topics, Mark Helper for his collaborative spirit and for lending me and my students his exceptional skills in field geology, and Doug Smith for his petrological prowess and shared interest in all things microscopic.

Last but not least, I would have gotten nowhere without the support of my entire family, including my parents, my siblings, my partner Melissa, and our son Teddy.

Thank you again to AGU for this honor.

—Whitney Behr, University of Texas at Austin, Austin

Lopez Receives 2016 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award

Ramon E. Lopez will receive the 2016 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of significant and outstanding impact on students’ and the public’s understanding of our science through education and/or outreach activities.


Ramon Lopez has influenced the K–12 education community, impacted science education and public outreach, supported the next generation of solar and space physicists, and innovated solar and space physics instruction.

Lopez, a researcher and physics professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, is co-founder, co-director, and an instructor of a branch of the UTeach program, 1 of 44 UTeach programs in the nation. UTeach qualifies STEM undergraduates to teach middle or high school math, science, engineering, or computer science upon graduation.

Lopez helped establish the SPA Education and Public Outreach committee, whose collaborations resulted in the creation of education-related sessions at AGU. While serving as Director of Education and Public Outreach for the American Physical Society from 1994 to 1999, he designed educational workshops for physicists and used this expertise to tailor the SPA EPO’s workshops for space scientists to support and improve K–12 education efforts.

As Co-PI for the NSF Science and Technology Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM), he led the diversity program. A gifted recruiter and mentor, his leadership produced gains in the participation of women and minorities in undergraduate and graduate programs in space physics. As a CISM instructor, Lopez employed best practices for engaging diverse learners. He influenced other instructors to adopt his strategies, producing a broader impact on the community.

His participation on the Leadership Team for the Next Generation Science Standards resulted in the solar cycle and space weather’s inclusion within the high school science standards. The Decadal study suggested roughly half of all solar and space physics graduate students were unaware of the field until after being admitted to graduate school; Lopez has paved the way for future generations of space physicists.

A leader in space science education, Lopez is incredibly deserving of the SPARC award, and we congratulate him!

—Erin L. Wood, LASP, University of Colorado Boulder


I am honored to be included in the group of outstanding contributors to education and outreach who have been recognized for their work by the SPARC award. Many of the previous awardees are long-time friends and colleagues, and the fact that the SPA section has this award indicates the importance that our community places on education and outreach activities.

I have always believed that scientists have a responsibility to share the fruits of our science with the public that pays for our research. Scientists by and large lead privileged lives, pursuing their curiosity and engaging in stimulating interactions with far-flung colleagues. We owe it to society to provide tangible returns, whether in the form of improved space weather prediction, inspiring explorations of our and other worlds, or contributions to education that utilize the popularity of space science. I have been fortunate to be able to combine my education work with my space physics research and use each to support the other.

Working with K–12 educators, scientists can and should help to improve science education for all citizens of our space-faring civilization. In our universities and laboratories, we can nurture the next generation of scientists, especially from groups who have been underrepresented in science. Students who, for whatever reason, have not had equal access to opportunities represent a lost talent if we do not make efforts to seek them out, recruit, mentor, and support them to realize their potential.

Through the education efforts of those recognized by the SPARC award and that of the many others equally deserving of recognition, our community will continue to honor the social contract to give back to a society that is fascinated by space science.

—Ramon E. Lopez, University of Texas at Arlington

O'Rourke Receives 2016 Study of the Earth's Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award

Joseph O’Rourke will receive the 2016 Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually for advances that contribute to the understanding of the deep interior of the Earth or other planetary bodies using a broad range of observational, experimental, and/or theoretical approaches.

Joseph O’Rourke received his B.S. in astrophysics and geology from Yale University in 2012 and an M.S. in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology in 2014. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in planetary science under the supervision of David Stevenson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. His research interests include the history of Earth’s magnetic field and volcanism on Venus, the interiors of icy satellites, and exoplanets.

Lau Receives 2016 Study of the Earth's Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award

Harriet Lau will receive the 2016 Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually for advances that contribute to the understanding of the deep interior of the Earth or other planetary bodies using a broad range of observational, experimental, and/or theoretical approaches.

Harriet Lau received her M.Sc. in geophysics from Imperial College London in 2012, which included a year of study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in geophysics under the supervision of Jerry Mitrovica at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Her research interests include ocean and solid earth tides, glacial isostatic adjustment, and the anelastic and viscous structure of the Earth.

Komar Receives 2016 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science

Colin Komar will receive the 2016 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one early-career scientist (no more than 3 years post-degree) from the United States in recognition of significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society.

Colin received his B.S. in physics from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2008 and an M.S. in physics from West Virginia University in 2010. He completed his Ph.D. in physics under the supervision of Paul Cassak at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. His research interests include magnetic reconnection at Earth’s dayside magnetopause, dynamics of Earth’s radiation belts, the ring current, ionospheric outflow, and the feedback mechanisms that exist among these magnetospheric systems.

Yeo Receives 2016 Fred L. Scarf Award

Kok Leng Yeo will receive the Fred L. Scarf Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar-planetary science.


The variation in the radiative output of the Sun, described in terms of solar irradiance, is critical to climatology, especially as climate models rely on model reconstructions of historical solar irradiance variability. The work of Kok Leng Yeo has led to major advances in our understanding of the physics underlying solar irradiance variability and the model reconstruction of historical solar irradiance variability. He advanced our understanding of the role played by small-scale magnetic features on the solar surface, uncovered why the two main approaches taken in existing models diverge in the ultraviolet, produced what is the most accurate reconstruction of solar irradiance variability over the past few decades, and set the groundwork for more advanced models that will, unlike existing models, not require free parameters.

—Natalie Krivova and Sami Solanki, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany


I would like to thank the award committee and the Space Physics and Aeronomy section of AGU for this honor.

My gratitude goes out to Yvonne Unruh, Natalie Krivova, and Sami Solanki. After finishing my master’s with Yvonne (Imperial College London) back in 2004, I worked in the industry for six years. Without her encouragement, I would not have thought that a career in science was still possible after such a long hiatus. She recommended me to Natalie and Sami at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. They took me on as a Ph.D. student knowing full well that I have no background in solar physics. As my supervisors, they have supported me in every manner possible, well beyond what I can ask. In spite of my weaknesses and mistakes, they have never wavered in their trust in my ideas and my research. I count it one of the greatest blessings in my life to be able to do something for a living that brings me fulfilment in the company of like-minded individuals. None of this would have been possible without Yvonne, Natalie, or Sami. Thank you for everything.

—Kok Leng Yeo, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany