Connolly Receives 2011 N. L. Bowen Awards

James A. Connolly and Marc M. Hirschmann received the 2011 N. L. Bowen Award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “out-standing contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.”


hirschmann_marcI am delighted and honored to give the citation for Marc Hirschmann’s Bowen award. Marc and I were graduate students together in Seattle, where he was advised by Mark Ghiorso. Marc achieved a Promethean feat as a postdoc, “carrying the flame” of techniques developed at Berkeley to Ed Stolper’s Harvard-trained group at the California Institute of Technology. Together, Hirschmann and Stolper wrote a classic paper on melting of mafic veins in the mantle. They showed that thermal diffusion into veins would offset the heat of fusion, leading to a superadiabatic PT path. This was unanticipated but seemed immediately obvious once stated.

Moving to Minnesota, Marc became an experimental petrologist and set out to quantify melting of mafic rocks under mantle conditions. Given the diversity of mafic lithologies, I was afraid that Marc would get lost. Instead he and his students delineated quantitative, general properties that apply to a wide range of compositions. The resulting data underpin much recent work on melting of two-lithology sources in the mantle.

Marc then investigated the effect of water and carbon dioxide on mantle melting, the latter mainly with Raj Dasgupta, also an exceptional scientist. Again, tackling this topic using natural compositions posed the risk of getting lost, but instead they discovered valuable guidelines.

Marc has become a sought-after expert on volatile cycling in the Earth. De facto, he has been appointed by consensus to a role that few attain, the small group whom we treat as authorities on the entire Earth system. It’s a select group, a really rare honor.

As a result of this success, achieved with grace and without rancor, Marc was called to fulfill many leadership roles in our community, for example, serving on the MARGINS Steering Committee. While generally I am not happy to be steered, I was relieved to see Marc in these roles and trusted him for unbiased, well-informed, proactive leadership.

I am honored to know Marc, and I feel privileged to have played a role in celebrating his well-deserved Bowen Award.

Peter B. Kellemen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N. Y.


I kind of took the long route to my career, so I don’t have time to mention everybody who inspired me. Were it not for Ian Carmichael, I wouldn’t have become a petrologist. I learned a ton about rocks and had great arguments with Charlie Bacon in two summers at Crater Lake. Mark Ghiorso taught me the interior secrets of quantitative petrology, and Ed Stolper’s high expectations showed me a new level of rigor and how to ask bigger questions.

At Minnesota they solved our two-body problem even though there was supposed to be one job. Then we showed up with an infant, and still they were more than welcoming to all three. There, I’ve benefited from the great mentorship of David Kohlstedt and Larry Edwards and from a string of students and research scientists who, of course, do most of the work: Maik Pertermann, Jen Engstrom, Raj Dasgupta, Sandeep Mukherjee, Travis Tenner, Fred Davis, Ben Stanley, Hongluo Zhang, Patrick Hastings, Johnny Zhang, Dimitris Xirouchakis, Tetsu Kogiso, Ken Koga, Tony Withers, Cyril Aubaud, Paola Ardia, Haijin Xu, Anja Rosenthal, and at least that many undergraduates. I could tell stories about them all, so I’ll just say that if it weren’t for Tony Withers, my research enterprise would be a total failure.

I think of geology as the family adventure, and so I’m grateful that Donna and Naomi are with me on the ride. And I’m humbled to receive an award given previously to so many illustrious people, and I feel particularly lucky that I’ve had the benefit of friendship with or mentorship from quite a few of them. I’m even more humbled when I think of some of my peers who have not received this recognition but are certainly more worthy than I.

Thank you.

Marc M. Hirschamann, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis