Cheng Receives 2015 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research

Linyin Cheng will be awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. This award recognizes a promising young scientist engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks and is given in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research. She will be formally presented with the award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.


Linyin Cheng received her Ph.D. in hydrology and water resources from the University of California, Irvine (2014), and an M.Sc. in ice dynamics from Clarkson University (2011). Her doctoral research, advised by Dr. Amir AghaKouchak, focused on developing statistical frameworks for spatial-temporal nonstationary extreme value analysis. In 2013, she received the National Center for Atmospheric Research Graduate Student Visitor Program Award and an American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award. After her graduation, she received the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) postdoctoral fellowship (2014–2015) to work with Professor Balaji Rajagopalan at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and at the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). Currently, she is an associate research scientist at PSD, ESRL, NOAA, working with Dr. Martin Hoerling and Dr. Judith Perlwitz. Linyin’s research interests include statistical analysis of climate and meteorological extreme events, spatial-temporal modeling of nonstationary processes, and statistical uncertainty analysis.

Jackson Receives 2015 William Gilbert Award

Michael Jackson will receive the 2015 William Gilbert Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.


With great pleasure we present the 2015 William Gilbert Awardee, Michael Jackson, recognizing his fundamental contributions and pioneering applications in rock and paleomagnetism and his unselfish service to the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism community. Many know Mike as facility manager of the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM), and many have experienced first‐hand his generosity and help. It was once said that Mike is the face of the IRM, but he isn’t just another pretty face. Truly, he is a world‐class rock magnetist known for drilling down into fundamental rock magnetism to solve paleomagnetic problems.

Two examples highlight his many research accomplishments. Mike discovered that nanophase magnetite caused by orogenic fluids was responsible for large‐scale remagnetization of Paleozoic limestones in North America. Using hysteresis and low-temperature magnetometry, he identified which limestones were accurate paleomagnetic recorders and which were remagnetized long after deposition. The second is an elegant application of anisotropy of magnetic remanence (AMR) in sedimentary rocks that led to his discovery that inclination shallowing due to compaction can be corrected by determining the AMR tensor. As a supporting letter states, “This much‐cited seminal work paved the way and provided rigorous ground truth to other methods for retrieving accurate paleolatitudes from sedimentary rocks, thereby further improving paleogeographic reconstructions.”

Mike’s impact on our field goes beyond research accomplishments. As IRM facility manager for over 20 years, Mike plays a pivotal role in its intellectual vision and in making it an acclaimed international center for research and education in rock magnetism. He has provided support through mentoring and training to over 200 visiting scientists. As his style, he helps each visitor make the most of their IRM visit, blending a mix of patience, sage advice, personal assistance, and genuine interest in their work. In many ways, Mike personifies the AGU motto of “unselfish cooperation.”

—Bruce M. Moskowitz and Subir K. Banerjee, Institute for Rock Magnetism, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis



Thank you, Bruce and Subir and all my friends and colleagues.  It is, of course, gratifying to receive this award, and I’m truly honored to be in the company of the previous recipients.  It’s also a bit disconcerting because there are many others that I consider to be more qualified than I am for this distinction.  But I interpret this award as a recognition not just of me individually but also of the Institute for Rock Magnetism and the team there of which I am a part, and in this spirit I gratefully accept it.

I feel very fortunate to belong to the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section in general and to the IRM in particular.  We share a truly fascinating field of study, building on the work of Gilbert, Gauss, Néel, and so many others, combining the mesmerizing physics of magnetism with an endless variety of geological and extraterrestrial processes.  And the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section is a real research community.  For the most part our members are happily independent and self-reliant, running individual labs and pursuing independent lines of investigation, yet we also value and support collective efforts such as the MagIC database and the IRM instrumentation facility, which serve as community resources to the benefit of all.

I owe a great debt of thanks to many who have inspired me, mentored me, collaborated with me, and improved my work through constructive criticism, and I regret that space limits the number that I can mention explicitly.  In Ann Arbor, Rob Van der Voo and Henry Pollack introduced me to geophysical research and more broadly to the processes of scientific thought and inquiry.  In Minneapolis, Subir Banerjee deserves enormous credit for his wisdom and vision in establishing the IRM, the collegial environment in which I’ve been privileged to interact with him and with a large number of eminent visiting scientists, as well as with a host of exceptional resident scholars, including Bruce Moskowitz, Horst Worm, Jim Marvin, Peat Solheid, Julie Bowles, Josh Feinberg, Dario Bilardello, and Brian Carter-Stiglitz.  I thank them all, I thank you all, and I hope to see you at the IRM.

—Michael Jackson, Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Brantut Receives 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award

Nicolas Brantut will receive the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for promising young scientists in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research.


The Mineral and Rock Physics focus group of the American Geophysical Union is pleased to honor Dr. Nicolas Brantut as the recipient of the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Nicolas earned his master’s and Ph.D. from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 2010, working with Professor Alexandre Schubnel, Professor Yves Guéguen, and Professor Toshihiko Shimamoto (at Kyoto University). Following his Ph.D., Nicolas moved to University College London (UCL), where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Philip Meredith. Nicolas’s research has ranged from experimental studies to complementary theoretical advances.  Over his short career, he has made several important contributions to our understanding of fracture and friction and has shown in elegant ways how mineral chemistry and physics interact during coseismic deformation. At the present time Nicolas is completing a prestigious Natural Environment Research Council research fellowship, after which he will accept a faculty appointment at UCL.  Congratulations, Nicolas!

—Philip A. Skemer, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Mo.



I am deeply honored to receive this year’s Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. I would like to thank my Ph.D. adviser, Alexandre Schubnel, for setting me up on a great research topic, his invaluable insight, and his patience with me. I am also grateful to Yves Guéguen, who made me discover rock physics during his fantastic lectures at École Normale Supérieure (ENS), and to Toshi Shimamoto for his support during my visits in his laboratory in Kyoto and then Hiroshima. I have had the immense luck to study and then work at ENS in Paris, where I received a high-level, free education and found an incomparable research environment and a friendly atmosphere.

My research is multidisciplinary and collaborative, and in the past few years I have been involved in a number of projects in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. I would like to acknowledge the strong support I have received from everyone I have worked (and continue to work) with. In particular, I am forever thankful to Jim Rice, who welcomed me in his group at a critical time after my Ph.D. and from whom I learned a lot despite the short time allowed. A special mention goes to Phil Meredith, who gave me total freedom during my postdoc with him and who continues to support me in a variety of ways (including understanding the arcane details of the British culture and research system).

This Early Career Award is a mark of trust and an encouragement for future work, and it gives me further motivation to do the best possible work in the coming years.

—Nicolas Brantut, University College London, London, U.K.

Zhang Receives the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award

Dongzhou Zhang will receive the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award, given annually to one or more promising young scientists for outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research. Recipients of this award are engaged in experimental and/or theoretical studies of Earth and planetary materials with the purpose of unraveling the physics and chemistry that govern their origin and physical properties.


Dongzhou Zhang received his B.S. in physics from Peking University, Beijing, China, in 2008. He completed his Ph.D. in geophysics under the supervision of Jennifer Jackson at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 2014. He is currently the beamline scientist of the Partnership for eXtreme Xtallography program affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and located at the GeoSoilEnviroCARS at Argonne National Laboratory. His research interests include physics and chemistry of the planetary interiors, high-pressure physics, and synchrotron-based X-ray techniques.





Chang Receives the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award

Yun-Yuan Chang will receive the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award, given annually to one or more promising young scientists for outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research. Recipients of this award are engaged in experimental and/or theoretical studies of Earth and planetary materials with the purpose of unraveling the physics and chemistry that govern their origin and physical properties.


Yun-Yuan Chang received her B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan) in 2002 and a M.Sc. in material science and engineering from Stanford University in 2008.  She received her Ph.D. in mineral physics under the supervision of Steven Jacobsen and Craig Bina at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.  Her research interests include the influence of defects on properties of minerals and Earth’s deep water cycle.




Gleeson Receives 2015 Early Career Hydrologic Science Award

Thomas Gleeson will receive the 2015 Early Career Hydrologic Science Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early career contributions to hydrologic science.


Tom Gleeson is one of the rising stars of international hydrology.  Tom’s specific discipline is hydrogeology, which traditionally has demonstrated a tendency toward localism and detailed and complex modeling.  Tom has embraced a more holistic approach, and the fast-increasing impact of his work demonstrates the usefulness of a broad perspective.  He has tackled key issues in hydrogeology—groundwater depletion, the nature of permeability—and made substantial progress on a global scale.

A major issue facing human society is sustainable water supply for our increasing population. In that context, hydrologic science must attempt to support informed decision making. Tom led a 2012 Nature paper, “Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint,” that revealed that about 2 billion people worldwide live in areas where groundwater resources are stressed.  Not content to state the problem, Tom then organized and wrote a series of papers that assessed possible solutions:  “Towards sustainable groundwater use: Setting long-term goals, backcasting, and managing adaptively” (Groundwater, 2012, doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00825.x), “Regional strategies for the accelerating global problem of groundwater depletion” (Nature Geoscience, 2012, doi:10.1038/ngeo1617), and “Vulnerability of coastal aquifers to groundwater use and climate change” (Nature Climate Change, 2012, doi:10.1038/nclimate1413). In each case, Tom worked with distinguished senior hydrologists as coauthors, so that to some extent these papers serve to represent community opinion.

Tom has taken a similarly global approach to characterization of permeability, the key hydrogeologic parameter that governs groundwater flow, advective heat and solute transport, and the generation of elevated fluid pressures.  The variability of permeability is such that it is often considered to defy systematic characterization.  Tom’s work has nonetheless revealed some order in globally compiled data; his 2011 Geophysical Research Letters paper “Mapping permeability over the surface of the Earth” (doi:10.1029/2010GL045565) is another visionary effort to synthesize and extend available data to the global scale.

On the basis of these and other precocious accomplishments—impossible to adequately describe within the space constraints—Tom Gleeson is a most worthy recipient of the 2015 Early Career Hydrologic Science Award.

—Steven Ingebritsen, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.



This award is a huge honor that is both humbling and inspiring. So thank you, Steven and everyone who has supported me along my path.

I love thinking about large-scale, pressing problems with engaging, multidisciplinary colleagues. The seeds of this path were planted during my undergrad in an interdisciplinary department that examines Earth systems holistically; I am still motivated by questions like “How, when, why, and where does groundwater interact with other parts of the earth system?” One particularly important nugget of advice I received at that time was “always hang out with the best people you can; they will inevitably rub off.” Following this advice, I have found a seemingly endless treasure trove of smart, passionate, and kind colleagues, collaborators, mentors, and students. I am thankful to my supervisors, Stephen Johnston, Laurent Godin, Kent Novakowski, and Leslie Smith, who individually have made me a better scientist and person.  And I am thankful to interact with many amazing colleagues who continue to propel my research of groundwater systems and sustainability. And above all, I am grateful for the best people that I get to hang out with: my partner, Claire, parents, family, and friends, who definitely make me a better person and always support me, even while sometimes lovingly asking, “Really, you want to research that?”

Sometime during my Ph.D. I became inspired by another question: “How can a hydrogeologist meaningfully contribute to sustainability in a changing world?” I find it very rich and interesting to simultaneously look at the world as a scientist interested in the Earth system and an engineer interested in sustainable water resources. It is an exciting time to study groundwater since it is being studied at larger scales and using tools and approaches from more fields than ever before. Once again, thank you!

—Thomas Gleeson, University of Victoria, Victoria, B. C., Canada

Entekhabi Receives 2015 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Dara Entekhabi will receive the 2015 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


It is my great pleasure to announce Dara Entekhabi as the recipient of the 2015 Hydrologic Sciences Award. This recognition shows the respect and admiration that my colleagues and I have for Dara’s contributions to the hydrology community. Dara’s professional activities span an impressive range, from theoretical insights, through innovative data analyses, to the management of an important satellite mission.

Dara’s scientific work is based on his appreciation of the key role of the land surface in hydrology and meteorology. Dara’s contribution has been to clarify the complex processes and feedbacks that take place at the land-atmosphere boundary. His activities have spanned the disciplines of hydrology, meteorology, and remote sensing, as reflected in the recognition he has received from the associated professional societies: the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dara’s appreciation of the importance of the land-atmosphere boundary led him to seek more accurate observations of soil moisture and evapotranspiration, not only at isolated times and locations but in a comprehensive way, through remote sensing, that reveals the variability of the relevant processes. Dara was an early leader in applying the methods of data assimilation to this task, using land surface models to constrain an otherwise ill-posed inverse problem. Dara has also made important contributions in climate science that include his work on continental-scale precipitation recycling and on the connections between snow anomalies, boundary layer evolution, and Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation.

The culmination of this impressive set of contributions has been Dara’s leadership in the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite mission. I think it is fair to say that this mission would not have taken place without Dara’s unceasing efforts and organizational skills. Dara’s tireless work and substantial accomplishments with SMAP over the last several years really deserve to be acknowledged with a collective “thank you” from the hydrologic community.

—Dennis B. McLaughlin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge



I thank my colleagues for their kind words and the recognition. It is a collective gratitude since the cited efforts all result from collaboration with colleagues and students. I stand as a proxy for them.

I was fortunate to enter this field at a revolutionary time.  Hydrology as a geoscience marked a milestone the year I started as a young faculty. The book Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences was published, and it was inspiring. It was the culmination of years of deliberations by a National Research Council committee chaired by Pete Eagleson. As an apprentice and student of Pete, I was fortunate to witness the process and absorb its vision.

Since then and together with extraordinary students and colleagues, we have feasted on the opportunities that the revitalized field laid in front of us. The shifted focus on hydrology as a geoscience meant exploring at the interface of meteorology and hydrology. The land surface no longer represented a marking boundary for the disciplines. Walls had come down, and there was much to explore and learn.

As recognized in the Blue-Book chapter on data (National Research Council, Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences, 1991), in the hydrologic sciences like other sciences, significant advances often result from new measurements that can inspire rethinking of paradigms.  In another chance encounter, I found myself an apprentice again. This time it was Eni Njoku from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who introduced me to remote sensing. I have had the extraordinary opportunity of working on hydrology mission concepts and flight projects. These are large team efforts, and I am grateful for the chance to work alongside these teams.

I have a long list of students and colleagues to thank. I am sad that I cannot list them all. I am glad that the list is that long.

—Dara Entekhabi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

Pritchard Receives 2015 Geodesy Section Award

Matthew Pritchard will receive the 2015 Geodesy Section Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of major advances in geodesy.


Matt Pritchard is presented with the 2015 Geodesy Section Award for his transcendent work in volcano and earthquake science and selfless support of the community. Matt was among the first to use interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) to examine entire volcanic arcs instead of individual volcanoes. This broader approach led to the recognition of a number of deforming volcanoes that were previously unknown, stimulating several follow-on studies, and has elucidated linkages between arc volcanism and large earthquakes. Matt’s efforts also proved the viability of broad monitoring of volcanic arcs from space, establishing the basis for international efforts to develop a global volcano monitoring strategy. In addition to volcanology, Matt has lent his considerable expertise to seismology, tectonics, planetary geology, glaciology, and climate change. Although InSAR remains Matt’s primary observational tool, he has shown exceptional vision by combining InSAR with other remote sensing, seismic, and geologic data to attain a more synergistic view of volcanic and earthquake processes.

Although Matt’s research alone is ample justification for the Geodesy Section Award, his record is impressively supported by a strong commitment to the community through his teaching excellence and service on numerous committees and initiatives, including WInSAR (Western North America Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar Consortium), UNAVCO (University NAVSTAR Consortium), NISAR (NASA-ISRO SAR Mission), GeoPRISMS (Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins), the Global Volcano Model, and the CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites) Volcano Pilot. In each of these areas Matt has promoted data sharing and collaboration as means to maximize science return. Matt is also an exceptional colleague, generous with his time and expertise, providing assistance to international scientists and volcano observatories in the use of InSAR to respond to volcano and earthquake crises.

The field of geodesy is better for having Matt as a colleague. Not only has his research moved several fields forward, Matt has also advanced the community through his unselfish service. We are pleased that Matt Pritchard’s dedication and research excellence are being recognized with the 2015 Geodesy Section Award.

—Michael P. Poland, Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, Vancouver, Wash.; and Paul R. Lundgren, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.



I am humbled and honored by the kind citation.  Although I find that the award process is inadequate—there are so many deserving who are overlooked—I appreciate everyone who helped with my nomination.

This is an exciting time in geodesy.  There is an explosion of new techniques and satellite missions that allow us to tackle important scientific and societal problems, but I only became aware of this field once I arrived in graduate school.  On the basis of this admittedly limited evidence, I suggest that we have to work harder as a community to communicate the opportunities to younger students—in particular at the middle and high school levels.  My interest in geology and planetary science was nurtured during those grades by numerous volunteers who aided and judged science fair and 4-H projects, gave public lectures, and answered my questions about careers in the field.  In particular, I want to thank Robert H. Brown of the University of Arizona—he answered many questions from a high school student thousands of miles away that resulted in a Westinghouse Science Talent Search project and set me on the path to graduate school at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  Whenever I feel too busy to respond to help random students, I try to remember his example.

One great perk of being a geodesist is the supportive community of scientists.  I thank my students, postdocs, mentors, advisers, and collaborators for teaching me so many interesting things and making this such a fun career.  Of course, there are always bumps in the road, and I owe a lot to my wife and collaborator on projects big and small, who makes the journey worth it, Rowena Lohman, the 2013 recipient of this award.

—Matthew E. Pritchard, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

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.

Anderson Receives 2015 G. K. Gilbert Award in Surface Processes

Robert Anderson will receive the 2015 G. K. Gilbert Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “a scientist who has either made a single significant advance or sustained significant contributions to the field of Earth and planetary surface processes, and who has in addition promoted an environment of unselfish cooperation in research and the inclusion of young scientists into the field.”


The diversity of opportunity that greets geomorphologists today is stunning: It ranges from Google Earth’s view of the entire planet to our ability to measure rocks flexing beneath breaking waves. Today, our challenge is less in making observations; rather, it’s deciding which observations can provide critical insights on how, when, and why diverse surface processes sculpt Earth’s surface.  Few geomorphologists have been as incisive in choosing the key observations needed to quantify a problem, as creative in their use of technology, as diverse in the range of geomorphic environments that they have studied, or as productive in developing new, quantified theories of landscape evolution as this year’s G. K. Gilbert Award winner, Bob Anderson.

For nearly 30 years, Bob has shown us how to combine a rich understanding of geomorphic processes with strong skills in mathematical and physical analysis in order to attain fundamental new insights on landscapes. He has used this combination to develop novel theories explaining processes and landforms at scales that span from eolian sand grain impacts to mountain ranges. Bob’s ability to move seamlessly from the geophysical aspects of crustal dynamics to the mechanics of frost cracking to new applications of cosmogenic nuclides has repeatedly given us remarkable insights on how the Earth works.

During his years at Santa Cruz and Colorado, Bob has mentored a noteworthy group of younger geomorphologists who are now advancing our field in new directions. In nearly all of their publications, Bob’s mentorship and intellectual “fingerprints” are clearly visible. Bob’s freely available pedagogical gem “The Little Book of Geomorphology: Exercising the Principle of Conservation” typifies his rigorous thinking, his perennial enthusiasm and curiosity, and his scholarly generosity.

For his remarkable, provocative, and diverse contributions to our field, Bob Anderson is distinctly deserving of the 2015 G. K. Gilbert Award.

—Douglas Burbank, University of California, Santa Barbara



I am deeply honored to receive this award, and I thank Doug for this flattering citation. This award reflects the inspiration of the geoscientists by whom I was lucky enough to be taught, the quality of the colleagues with whom I have worked over the last 30 years, and, perhaps most importantly, the hard work, the fun, and the friendship of the students with whom I have collaborated.

Let me feature one deserving more credit than most, my wife and colleague, Suzanne. I thank her for her support and inspiration in all facets of our lives. That little book Doug refers to was followed by the bigger book that we cowrote and that so dominated the early lives of our kids.

Having written as my master’s thesis a biography of Clarence Dutton, who worked with J. W. Powell and G. K. Gilbert to introduce the world to western North American landscapes, I have been acutely aware of Gilbert’s work throughout my career. His research, his choice of problems to address, and the organized manner in which he went about it are mirrored in the research of the prior Gilbert awardees and have set the tone of our community’s growth in the last few decades.  Being a part of this legacy has been one of the chief joys of my research life.

But there is still much to do. Although I was lucky to catch the waves of numerical landscape modeling and application of cosmogenic radionuclides, it is clear that new technologies like autonomous vehicles, lidar, structure from motion, and miniaturization of environmental sensors will further push surface process research into new frontiers and perhaps new worlds. But who knows what new tools will arise on the longer time frame?   That’s why we play the game and what makes it so much fun.

—Robert S. Anderson, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder