Meertens Receives 2015 Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership

Charles Meertens will receive the 2015 Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “major achievements in service and/or leadership to the geodesy community.”


For the last 3 decades, Chuck Meertens has served the geodesy community through his work and leadership in UNAVCO, a consortium of research institutions (universities) that assists investigators with space geodetic (using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and other techniques for Earth science research). Chuck is one of a handful of leaders who have helped lead the geodesy community into an exciting new era that has employed technological advances to open vast new areas of research in the Earth sciences. He was at UNAVCO in its infancy, and he helped build up this important community institution from the ground up.  It’s fair to say that Chuck has contributed, in one way or another, to virtually every area of geodesy, from the development of strain and tiltmeters to gravity observations, GPS field data collection, instrumentation development, data analysis, archiving, and education and outreach. Indeed, it is hard to find people in the field who Chuck has not helped—he is involved in field campaigns, data analysis research, and development of new instrumentation, and he freely gives his time to a variety of professional organizations and executive boards. Chuck has helped hundreds of scientists over the years, most often very anonymously and with little credit to himself. Chuck is always a team player and willing to jump into any challenge to find a solution that is beneficial to the community. And to top it off, he’s just a delightful guy—full of energy, enthusiasm, unshakeable optimism, and generosity. It would be difficult to imagine anyone more deserving of this award.

—R. Steven Nerem, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder



I would like to thank the American Geophysical Union Geodesy section and those involved in this nomination for the great honor of being selected for this year’s Ivan I. Mueller Award. Art Sylvester, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, first introduced me to the fascinating notion of using geodetic techniques to directly measure active geologic processes. Chris Harrison and Judah Levine, at the University of Colorado Boulder, taught me the beauty in making sensitive geodetic instruments capable of recording the smallest motions of the Earth.

Sometimes opportunity intersects with interests, and I was fortunate to ride with the first wave of scientists using new “portable” GPS instruments to study what has proved to be nearly boundless sets of geophysical problems. It has been very rewarding to contribute to what my International GNSS Service colleague Chris Rizos calls the “beginnings of a geodetic renaissance.” I owe a debt of gratitude to Stick Ware and Chris Rocken for providing me the chance to explore GPS technology at UNAVCO and to Bob Smith at the University of Utah for the opportunity to team up to make the first GPS measurements at Yellowstone.

Ultimately, my interests and activities tended toward understanding and providing infrastructure needed to support a broad user community.  In this pursuit I have been privileged to work with a talented and creative group of technologists, scientists, and educators who desire to make the best geodetic measurements possible, tackle tough scientific and societal problems, and share data and knowledge. Ivan Mueller embodies these collective goals, and I am deeply appreciative of receiving this award that honors him. I am also humbled, as this recognition extends to my many colleagues who share in this vision of infrastructure and community for collaboration. I am grateful to Meghan Miller for enabling this vision, to my UNAVCO colleagues who make it happen, and to my friends and family for their unwavering support and inspiration.

—Charles Meertens, UNAVCO, Boulder, Colo.