Han Receives 2009 Geodesy Section Award

Shin-Chan Han received the AGU 2009 Geodesy Section Award at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of major advances in geodesy.


han_shin-chanIt gives us great pleasure to see Shin-Chan Han receive AGU’s 2009 Geodesy Section Award, presented to a young scientist for major advances in the field of geodesy.

Shin-Chan burst upon the geodetic scene just before the launch of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, and the timing could not have been more propitious—both for Shin-Chan and for the GRACE project. His doctoral thesis at Ohio State University dealt with efficient methods for determining gravity from satellite-to-satellite tracking data, of the sort GRACE was soon providing. Soon thereafter a remarkable series of papers began to appear, as Shin-Chan exploited the new time-variable gravity measurements for applications ranging from surface water hydrology, to earthquake deformation, to ocean tides. All of these used new and highly original methods for extracting signals from the basic satellite tracking data. His analysis of the gravity changes associated with the great 2004 Sumatra earthquake was a revelation to many, for it emphasized the power of satellite gravity data to complement seismology, for example, by constraining the long-wavelength viscoelastic relaxation and subsequent stress redistribution.

We are impressed by Shin-Chan’s ability, at his young age, to reach out across disciplines, to establish new and productive collaborations, and to understand what important problems are ripe for advancement. He has, for example, recently applied some of his new techniques to improving our knowledge of the Moon’s gravity field. We are sure that Shin-Chan has many similar advances ahead of him and is therefore most deserving of this award.

Richard D. Ray, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Christopher Jekeli, Ohio State University, Columbus


Thank you, Richard and Chris, for your generous remarks. I am thrilled and honored to accept this award from the Geodesy section of AGU.

I started to study geodetic science simply due to my interest in the Global Positioning System (GPS) right after I graduated from an Earth science department in South Korea—at that time, geodesy was very esoteric to me. While studying at the geodetic science department at Ohio State University, I soon learned the intricate and fascinating relationship between geometric and gravimetric aspects of geodesy. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study geodesy and to participate in the GRACE science team. The work with GRACE for applications to climate, hydrology, oceanography, tectonics, and solid Earth is not only an important interdisciplinary research agenda that geodesy can uniquely address, but it is also simply a lot of fun.

During my study and work I have also been very fortunate to meet people who encourage my work and are very supportive in many ways. I would like to thank colleagues I meet every day in Greenbelt, Md., including Dave Rowlands, Richard Ray, Frank Lemoine, Scott Luthcke, and Jeanne Sauber. I would also like to acknowledge the folks at Ohio State University, Christopher Jekeli, C. K. Shum, Mike Bevis, and Doug Alsdorf. I am delighted to share this honor with them. They are the ones who give me confidence and enjoyment in my research on geodesy. This award indeed invigorates me. I hope this event is expanded so that many other young geodetic scientists are stimulated and recognized.

Finally, I thank my family and wife, In-Young, for being with me. I appreciate her listening to me ramble about satellites and gravity. I always thank God for being patient with me.

Shin-Chan Han, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore