Dasgupta Receives 2012 Hisashi Kuno Award

Rajdeep Dasgupta received the Hisashi Kuno Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “accomplishments of junior scientists who make outstanding contributions to the fields of volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology.”


dasgupta_rajdeepRaj got his M.S. at Jadavpur University in India in 2000 and then, from 2001, spent 5 years at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, for his Ph.D. He arrived at Rice University as an assistant professor in 2008. Four years later, he has set the world on fire. He has more than 30 publications, more than 1000 citations, an H-index of 17, and three first-authored papers with more than 100+ citations, along with several more that seem to be on their way to hitting that 100 mark.

He is the world’s expert on the deep carbon (C) cycle, from the effects of carbon dioxide on deep mantle melting and the origin of the asthenosphere to the solubility of reduced C in magmas and the core, with implications for early differentiation processes on Earth and Mars. He and his students have made fundamental contributions on the role of melt-rock reaction in generating magma compositions similar to what we see in some ocean islands. He presented a creative way of using major elements in magmas to constrain the composition of the magma source region in the mantle. He is making new headway into the deep sulfur (S) cycle with new models for S solubility on basalts of Martian relevance as well as the solubility of reduced S species in high-pressure aqueous systems relevant to Earth, the latter challenging traditional views of the deep S cycle. He has developed a state-of-the-art experimental facility at Rice University, complete with several piston cylinders and a multianvil apparatus. With Raj and his fantastic students and postdocs, his lab is one of the most productive and creative in the world. All of this has been recognized by other awards: the Packard, the Clarke Medal from the Geochemical Society, and the National Science Foundation CAREER award.

But, to me, the most important aspect of Raj is not all of these metrics and great accomplishments at such a young age but rather the impact he has made on my own research and that of the department. His ideas, thought process, and strong work ethic have shaped our young and growing “solid” Earth group here at Rice. His fugacity, or effective pressure, extends far beyond his already impressive H-index, changing the views of all who happen to pass near his sphere of influence. He has already started to build a legacy, and for this reason, the Kuno award is most fitting.

CIN-TY A. LEE, Rice University, Houston, Tex.


Ever since I started pursuing research, AGU Fall Meetings have been the gathering to feel part of something grand. Hence to be recognized by such an organization is a real honor. Thank you, ­Cin-Ty, for the generous introduction. I’m really glad to have received the citation from a great colleague.

My scientific curiosity was first nurtured in Jadavpur University. I would specially mention Somnath Dasgupta, Pulak Sengupta, Pradip Bose, and the late Prasanta Bhattacharya for teaching me what petrology is. After finishing my education in India, all I knew was that I wanted to pursue research in petrology, but not much beyond that; to follow the career paths of Mainak Mookherjee and Saswata Majumder at that time was key, which led me to come to graduate school in the United States.

Minnesota was cold, but warm interactions and the tutelage of many at the geology and geophysics department made my stay there worthwhile. While pursuing a Ph.D., I learned from Marc Hirschmann how to ask important questions. During my postdoc days at Lamont, I learned from the maestro of high-pressure experiments, Dave Walker. I also have been fortunate to receive selfless encouragement from a number of you. I would especially mention Jackie Dixon, Stan Hart, Al Hofmann, Bruce Watson, Peter Kelemen, Claude Herzberg, Mainak Mookherjee, and Greg Hirth in this regard.

In 2008, Rice gave me the platform from which to launch a research program. But, more important, it gave me great colleagues, including Cin-Ty Lee and Adrian Lenardic, among others. I have also been kept busy by an exciting group of students and postdocs. Kyusei, Veronique, Justin, Ananya, Megan, Han, Shuo, Christine, Sébastien, Jasmine, and now Peter, thank you all for including me in your life experiments.

I would not be here without the encouragement and love of my grandparents, the late Santwana and Professor Lokaranjan Dasgupta; my parents; my brother; and my extended family. And I am very happy that my father is here with me to join the celebration. Finally, without my wife Sushmita, I would not be able to embark on this voyage of scientific discovery and ­self-​­discovery, so this award is as much hers as mine.

Rajdeep Dasgupta, Rice University, Houston, Tex.