Robert E. Horton Medal

Basic Information


Nomination Process & Requirements


Horton Medal Committee


The Robert E. Horton Medal is given annually to one honoree in recognition for “outstanding contributions to hydrology.” Established in 1974, the Horton Medal is named in honor of Robert E. Horton, who made significant contributions to the study of the hydrologic cycle. Walter B. Langbein was the first recipient of the Horton Medal.

Robert Horton Biography


• Engraved medal
• AGU Conferred Fellow (if honoree is not already an AGU Fellow, and if they have
been an AGU member for three consecutive years at the time of their award, with
exceptions allowed in cases of financial hardship.)
• 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


  • Scientific excellence: the scientific excellence of the candidate’s body of work over a sustained period of time (this medal is for lifetime achievement) and the publications that have resulted, as well as the insights gained (including contributions across the earth and space sciences)
  • Scientific impact: how the candidate’s work has made a significant impact on his/her field overall, and/or to its growth, through influencing current and future research—articulate these contributions and their importance in a way that can be understood by peers and those outside their research field
  • Broader impact: evaluate who has benefitted from the work, and the candidate’s recognitions and notable service to his/her field, aligning these with the vision/mission of the Union;
  • Reputation and leadership: the nominee’s international reputation in his/her field.

Frequency: Annual

Career level: Senior Scientist

Nominee eligibility: (NEW) Active AGU membership is not required

Nominator eligibility: (NEW) Active AGU membership is required

Conferred Fellowship: This is granted to the honoree if they have been an AGU member for three consecutive years at the time of their award, with exceptions allowed in cases of financial hardship (determined through established AGU definition). 

Sections/Focus Groups: Biogeosciences (B); Cryosphere (C); Earth and Planetary Surface Processes (EPSP); Hydrology (H); Nonlinear Geophysics (NG); Near Surface Geophysics (NS)

Nomination Process & Requirements

Nomination Eligibility:

1. Eligible Nominee. (NEW) Active AGU membership is not required. 2. Eligible Nominator. (NEW) Active AGU membership is 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 Horton Medal during their terms of service:

  • AGU President;
  • AGU President-elect;
  • Council Leadership Team members;
  • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
  • Horton Medal Committee members; and
  • All full-time AGU staff

5. Relationship to a Horton 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 Horton 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 Horton 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 Horton 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 Horton 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 Horton Medal Committee who is a supervisor of the nominee is conflicted from participating in the review and selection process.
  • Members of the Horton 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

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. 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 Horton 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.)

Please note that only complete packages will be forwarded to the Horton 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

Horton 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, 1 Thomas Circle NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005.