James B. Macelwane Medal

Basic Information


Nomination Process & Requirements


Macelwane Medal Committee


The James B. Macelwane Medal is given annually to three or up to five honorees in recognition for “significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by an outstanding early career scientist.”

Established in 1961, the Macelwane Medal was renamed in 1986 in honor of former AGU president James B. Macelwane (1953–1956). Renowned for his contributions to geophysics, Macelwane was deeply interested in teaching and encouraging young scientists.  James N. Brune was the first recipient of this medal.

James B. Macelwane Biography

• Engraved medal
•AGU Conferred Fellow
• AGU Fellow lapel pin
•AGU Fellow certificate
•Invitation to give a talk for the Union Session, “A New Generation of Scientists,” at the AGU Fall Meeting
• Recognition in Eos
• Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
•Four complimentary hotel nights at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
•Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


  • Depth, breadth of research, impact, creativity, novelty
  • Service, outreach and diversity

Frequency: Annual

Career level: Early Career

Nominee eligibility: Active AGU membership is required

Nominator eligibility: Active AGU membership is not required

Conferred Fellowship: Yes

Sections/Focus Groups: All (interdisciplinary)

Nomination Process & Requirements

Nomination Eligibility:

1. Eligible Nominees.

  • Active AGU membership is required.
  • Nominee must be no more than 10 years beyond receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree achieved on 1 January of the year of presentation. Exceptions to the 10 year requirement due to unusual circumstances can be considered on a case basis by the current Macelwane Committee.

To determine a candidate’s AGU member status, please view the Membership Directory via the AGU Member eWeb Portal; or contact the Member Services staff at: service@agu.org.

2. Eligible Nominator. Active AGU membership is not required

3. Eligible Supporters. Active AGU membership is not required

4. Ineligible Nominees. The following individuals and/or groups are not eligible to be candidates for the Macelwane Medal during their terms of service:

5. Relationship to a Macelwane Medal Nominee. AGU policy on the relationship to a nominee is applicable to committee members, nominators, and supporters. The following relationships need to be identified and communicated to the Macelwane Medal Committee, but will not disqualify individuals from participating in the nomination or committee review process:

  • Current dean, departmental chair, supervisor, supervisee, laboratory director, an individual with whom one has a current business or financial relationship (e.g., business partner, employer, employee);
  • Research collaborator or co-author within the last three years; and/or
  • An individual working at the same institution or having accepted a position at the same institution.

The following offices and relationships are nomination disqualifiers for the Macelwane Medal:

  • AGU President, President – elect, Honors and Recognition Committee, Council Leadership Team, and AGU staff cannot nominate or write supporting letters for candidates.
  • Nominator/supporter(s) for this medal should not be on the Macelwane Medal selection committee.
  • Family member, spouse or partner.
  • Mentor – Mentee relationships established during graduate studies or postdoc fellowships:
      • A previous graduate (Masters or Ph.D.) and/or postdoctoral advisor, or postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
      • A former doctoral or graduate student, or a former postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter for a former advisor, but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
      • Termination of a relationship is defined as follows: (1) nominee is no longer being paid by supporter; (2) nominee is no longer supported under the same grant or contract
  • Chairs and members of the Macelwane Medal selection committee are conflicted with the above – mentioned mentor – mentee relationships and should recuse themselves from participating in the deliberation, evaluation, and voting process for that nominee.

For more details, please review the AGU conflict of interest policy.

6. Additional Conflicts.

  • The chair of the Macelwane Medal Committee who is a supervisor of the nominee is conflicted from participating in the review and selection process.
  • Members of the Macelwane Medal Committee may for other reasons determine that they have conflicts or potential conflicts that require elimination from service and then act on that determination if they believe that service could affect the fairness of the selection process.

Nomination Requirements

Two or more nomination packages for a single candidate will not be considered. If separate packages will be received, the nominators will be asked to combine them.

Your nomination package should contain the following files, which should be no more than two (2) pages in length per document:

        1. Nomination letter with one-sentence citation (i.e., citation should be 150 characters or less). Letterhead stationary is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.;
        2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae. List the candidate’s (1) name, (2) mailing and e-mail address, (3) history of employment, (4) degrees, (5) research experience, (6) honors, (7) memberships, and (8) service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
        3. Nominee’s selected bibliography. New Bibliography should not include any papers that are in press or submitted. Briefly state the total number and types of publications and specifying the number published in AGU publications. For example: Jane Doe is the author of 92 publications, 86 in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 14 of which have been published in AGU journals and books. The following selected list best supports Jane’s nomination for the Macelwane Medal.
        4. 3 letters of support (total does not include nomination letter). Letterhead stationary is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.

SUBMISSIONS SENT VIA POSTAL OR COURIER DELIVERY ONLY: Nomination cover sheet – All packages sent via mail or courier delivery should include a completed cover sheet. (The online submission system will generate a cover sheet for nominators.)

Suggestions for nomination and support letters:

          • Provide a short description of how the nominator or supporter know the nominee and his/her work. Nominators and supporters are encouraged to list their credentials (AGU Fellow, member of the National Academies, etc).
          • Letters should focus on the impact, novelty, creativity, depth and breadth of the nominee’s research rather than quantitative metrics (number of publications, H-factor, etc) and biographical facts (education, employment history, awards) that are listed in the nominee’s CV.
          • Provide an evaluation of the nominee’s stature and provide a personal perspective on how the nominee compare with other young scientist in a broad field.
          • Evaluate the impact of the nominee’s mentoring and teaching, participation in high-level committees, outreach, etc…

Please note that only complete packages will be forwarded to the Macelwane Medal Committee for review. For detailed information on nomination requirements, please view the AGU Union Awards, Medals and Prize frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.

Submission Process

Nomination Submissions

Macelwane Medal nominations can be submitted (1) online or (2) by regular mail delivery. However, to expedite the submission process, please use the online submission system. If you have submitted a package online, then please do not send a printed version to AGU headquarters.

To submit a nomination by regular mail delivery, please make sure to include the nomination cover sheet and mail to: American Geophysical Union, Attn: Honors Program, Awards Selection Committee, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009