Cheng Receives 2013 Sunanda and Santimay Basu Early Career Award

pXin Cheng has been awarded the Sunanda and Santimay Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science. The award recognizes an individual scientist from a developing nation for making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society. Cheng’s thesis is entitled “On the origin, structure, and evolution of coronal mass ejections.” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Xin Cheng received his B.S. in physics from Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, in 2007. In 2012, he received a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, under the supervision of Mingde Ding and Jie Zhang. Xin is currently working as an assistant research scientist at the School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. His research interests include coronal mass ejections and associated solar active phenomena, magnetic structure of active regions, and space weather.

Reiff Receives 2013 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award

Cherilynn Ann Morrow and Patricia H. Reiff received the 2013 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of significant and outstanding impact on students’ and the public’s understanding of our science through education and/or outreach activities.

Citation

reiff_patricia-hPatricia Reiff has been awarded the SPARC Education and Outreach Award for her pioneering education and outreach efforts communicating excitement for, and understanding of, space and Earth science.

Pat is an outstanding scientist and educator who taught me a great deal about space plasmas and who has continued to teach others as she has taught herself through pioneering research and outreach efforts. As her career trajectory soared upward through the Rice University ranks from research professor to full professor and department chair and then director of the Rice Space Institute, Pat maintained her infectious enthusiasm for teaching. Even the demands of numerous service activities and committee assignments at Rice and at the national level could never draw Pat away from education and outreach activities.

Throughout her educational work, Pat has striven to engage students at secondary school levels and also to engage underserved communities of the American southwest. In addition to having advised 12 successful Ph.D. students, she created a master of science teaching degree that has at present 25 teacher-alumni who are spreading knowledge of space and Earth science in secondary schools throughout the country, many in underserved communities.

In summary, Pat Reiff is an eminent scientist who has dedicated herself to sharing her excitement and enthusiasm for science with students at all levels, as well as the general taxpaying public. She is a pioneer in the field of education and outreach in space science and is very much deserving of the first AGU SPARC award. AGU and the heliophysics community as a whole have been and will continue to be well served by her efforts and can bestow this honor with the greatest pride in her accomplishments.

—THOMAS EARLE MOORE, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Response

It is a special privilege to receive this award honoring Richard Carrington’s discovery of what we now call space weather. It is particularly appropriate that this award also recognizes Cherilynn Morrow, who 20 years ago made a presentation to the Space Science Advisory Committee on Jeff Rosendhal’s idea of mission-based E/PO. We worked together, bringing that idea to the successful, but threatened, network it is today. For me, learning and teaching go hand in hand—as we publish our findings for our peers, we should also repay the public investment in our research with accurate, understandable results. My interest in space science was sparked by a father-daughter course in astronomy sponsored by the Brownies at the Oklahoma City Planetarium and kindled by the Bell Labs production The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays directed by Frank Capra. Knowing that planetarium shows and educational movies can change lives, I have devoted a large portion of my last 25 years to creating software, shows, and portable planetariums to inspire and engage youth. This has not been a one-person effort, of course. My work Cherilynn Ann Morrow would have been impossible without the collaboration of Carolyn Sumners, vice president of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Our museum kiosk and planetarium control software would not have happened without the skill and perseverance of my chief programmer, Colin Law. Jim Burch has been first a mentor and then a colleague on both the research and outreach sides of my career. I share this honor with a long line of highly talented students and postdocs who have contributed science content and outreach efforts. Most importantly, without the support of my husband, Tom Hill, I would not have had the time and freedom to build an educational network while continuing research and raising a family. I thank AGU for bestowing this honor.

—PATRICIA H. REIFF, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Morrow Receives 2013 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award

Cherilynn Ann Morrow and Patricia H. Reiff received the 2013 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of significant and outstanding impact on students’ and the public’s understanding of our science through education and/or outreach activities.

Citation

morrow_cherilynnThe Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington (SPARC) Education and Public Outreach Award for Cherilynn Morrow recognizes years of pioneering work on behalf of the space science community in the area of education and public outreach (E/PO).

Cherilynn’s advocacy for robust E/PO efforts began in the early 1990s at NASA headquarters, where I first met her while pitching a (then) progressive idea about education workshops for space scientists. Cherilynn was instrumental in getting NASA to view E/PO as an integral part of its research mission. She worked tirelessly to provide an intellectual foundation (including a 30-page white paper) for embedding E/PO opportunities in space science missions and research grants and for facilitating greater scientist engagement in E/PO.

After NASA, Cherilynn worked with the Space Science Institute to develop education programs for traveling exhibits and instructional materials aligned with national education standards (e.g., the Saturn Educator Guide for the NASA Cassini mission). I witnessed her dedicated efforts to raise the bar for NASA E/PO products through scientist-educator partnerships and peer review. Her cross-cultural “Kinesthetic Astronomy” remains a widely praised and adopted curriculum.

In the late 1990s, Cherilynn’s team was competitively selected as a NASA space science “Broker/Facilitator” to help guide and advise E/PO programs around the country. She produced countless influential white papers, workshops, and professional society sessions for scientists and E/PO professionals about becoming effective partners in education.

Within SPA, Cherilynn served two distinguished terms (2000–2004) as chair of its E/PO Committee. More recently, she and Mark Moldwin cochaired a decadal task group that contributed a significant new analysis of the education and workforce needs of our community.

Cherilynn’s leadership and creativity during the past 2 decades make her an outstanding example of what the SPARC award intends to recognize and honor. And to boot, you never know when she might break into song, singing “Stormy Weather—Solar Style.”

—RAMON LOPEZ, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington

Response

I am delighted to receive the SPARC award, which recognizes education and public outreach (E/PO) efforts that incorporate our community’s scientific achievements while addressing authentic educational needs. No one is honored in isolation, and I owe a large debt of gratitude to many fellow pioneers, including the author of the citation above and my fellow SPARC awardee, Pat Reiff. Back in 1994, she was one of two committee members to be overtly supportive as I made the first ever E/PO presentations to the (then) NASA Space Science Advisory Committee. Today all of the recent space science decadal reports include explicit support for E/PO programs integrated within NASA and National Science Foundation research missions.

The very existence of the SPARC prize exemplifies how the SPA section, with its strong E/PO committee, exhibits ongoing leadership in integrating research and education. My time at the helm of this pioneering committee (2000–2004) was rewarding unto itself, collaborating with (then) SPA president Dan Baker and dedicated colleagues like Stanford’s Deborah Scherrer.

The past 25 years have seen remarkable explosions of activity at the previously uncharted intersections of scientific research environments with E/PO programs and with education research. I have been privileged to help initiate, implement, or advise education-related efforts within government agencies, spaceflight missions, research centers, academic departments, science workshops, professional societies, and a decadal survey. I am grateful to all the society-minded scientists who have encouraged me as I have “strayed” into this unconventional application of my doctorate in solar physics.

This work has persuaded me that many vital contributions to education (and to the scientific enterprise itself) can be made only through providing diverse educators, students, and citizens closer contact with practicing scientists and their research environments. May the SPARC award provide ongoing incentive for creating such opportunities via courageous partnerships among scientists, educators, and, yes, artists to boot.

—CHERILYNN MORROW, Aspen Global Change Institute, Basalt, Colo.

Dorfman Receives 2013 Fred L. Scarf Award and Basu United States Early Career Award

dorfman_seth-eSeth E. Dorfman was awarded the 2013 Fred L. Scarf Award, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to solar planetary sciences.
In addition, Dorfman was selected as the inaugural award recipient of the 2013 Basu United States Early Career Award, given annually to an early-career scientist from the United States in recognition of significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society.
Dorfman’s thesis is entitled “Experimental study of 3-D, impulsive reconnection events in a laboratory plasma.” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the awards at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Seth Dorfman received his B.S. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, in 2005. In 2012, he received his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences under the supervision of Hantao Ji and Masaaki Yamada from Princeton University in New Jersey. Seth is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Troy Carter. He maintains a broad interest in fundamental plasma physics, including the use of laboratory experiments to explore key physical processes in Sun-Earth systems science

Murphy Receives 2013 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award

murphy_caitlin-aLars N. Hansen and Caitlin A. Murphy were awarded the 2013 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.

Hansen’s thesis is entitled “Evolution of the viscosity of Earth’s upper mantle: Grain-boundary sliding and the role of microstructure in olivine deformation.” Murphy’s thesis is entitled “Thermoelasticity of hexagonal close-packed iron from the phonon density of states.” They both were formally presented with the award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Caitlin received her B.S. in environmental science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 2007 and her Ph.D. in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 2012. Caitlin is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution, in Washington, D. C., where she is performing high-pressure mineral physics and materials science experiments in collaboration with Yingwei Fei. Her research interests include the effects of impurities and defects on the thermodynamic, elastic, and electronic properties of minerals and metals found in the Earth’s deep interior.

Hansen Receives 2013 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award

hansen_lars-nLars N. Hansen and Caitlin A. Murphy were awarded the 2013 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.

Hansen’s thesis is entitled “Evolution of the viscosity of Earth’s upper mantle: Grain-boundary sliding and the role of microstructure in olivine deformation.” Murphy’s thesis is entitled “Thermoelasticity of hexagonal close-packed iron from the phonon density of states.” They both were formally presented with the award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Lars received his B.S. in Earth science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 2005 and his M.S. in geology from the University of Wyoming in Laramie in 2007. He received his Ph.D. under the supervision of David Kohlstedt from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 2012. He recently completed an appointment as a postdoctoral scholar working with Jessica Warren at Stanford University. Lars is now a university lecturer in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. His research interests are in the micromechanical behavior of viscously deforming rocks and its relationship to large-scale geodynamic processes.

Donges Receives 2013 Donald L. Turcotte Award

donges_jonathan-fJonathan F. Donges was awarded the 2013 Donald L. Turcotte Award, given annually to recent Ph.D. recipients for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to the field of nonlinear geophysics. Donges’s Ph.D. thesis is entitled “Functional network macroscopes for probing past and present Earth system dynamics.” He gave an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif.
Jonathan received his M.Sc. in physics from the University of Potsdam in Germany, in 2009 and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics under the supervision of Jürgen Kurths from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, in 2012. He is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany, and Stockholm Resilience Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. His research interests include complexity in past and present climate dynamics as well as human interactions with the Earth system on a global scale.

Steltzer Receives 2013 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring

Heidi Steltzer received the 2013 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given for “significant contributions by a mid-career female scientist as a role model and mentor for the next generation of biogeoscientists.”

Citation

steltzer_heidiHeidi Steltzer, an assistant professor at Fort Lewis College, received the 2013 Sulz­man Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring at the 2013 Fall Meeting. This award “recognizes women in AGU who have sustained an active research career in a field related to biogeosciences, while excelling in teaching and especially in mentoring young scientists.” Awardees are to serve as critical role models for the next generation of female scientists by sharing their passion for the natural world. Those who know her best agree that Heidi’s passion for teaching and training the next generation of researchers truly embodies the spirit of the Sulzman award. According to one nominator, “Heidi single-handedly pushed [her] department toward a more modern and integrated view of the biological sciences, revamping curricula in both majors’ and non-majors’ courses to include citizen science, cross-disciplinary investigation techniques, and thought-provoking forays into real-world/real-time problems.” Another nominator commented that “Heidi has made an incredibly strong impact on the careers of countless students through both compassionate and enthusiastic mentoring, as well as leadership in institutional and programmatic efforts that foster student professional development and that provide research experiences. I think it is extraordinary that at this relatively early point in her career, she has already achieved a lasting legacy.”

In addition to being an outstanding teacher and mentor, Heidi has enhanced our understanding of how climate changes and anthropogenic alterations to ecosystems, such as dust deposition, influence the seasonal dynamics of plant growth and carbon and nutrient cycling. Remarkably, Heidi has been able to publish a number of high-profile papers while teaching up to eight classes a year and leading a full and energetic family life.

In conclusion, Heidi Steltzer is exactly the kind of inspiring and creative teacher, mentor, and researcher the Sulzman Award was meant to honor.

—MICHAEL N. WEINTRAUB, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio

Response

I am honored to receive the AGU Sulzman Award and am especially honored to be the first recipient of this award established in memory of Elizabeth Sulzman. At the 2013 Fall Meeting, I learned about the thought and work that went into establishing this award and want to thank all who contributed to its establishment. Awards that recognize outstanding female scientists are needed.

While both genders face challenges in pursuing scientific careers, as a mother, researcher, and educator, I have found the challenges to be greater than expected. I think many women do. Women more often than men feel the need to choose between career and family, choosing family or a career with less opportunity for leadership. The result is a decrease in the proportion of mid- and late-career women relative to men in leadership positions.

As an undergraduate and graduate student, I was fortunate to participate in incredible National Science Foundation (NSF)– and Howard Hughes Medical Institute–supported programs, such as the NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and an NSF graduate fellowship. These programs, the community of male and female colleagues I have developed, and my family, particularly my husband and mother, have enabled me to remain committed to a career in science, where I hope I can make a difference toward improving our understanding of the natural world and innovating education, including the changes needed to enable men and women to pursue and remain in scientific careers. A special thanks to Mike Weintraub for your friendship and support and the nomination for this award.

—HEIDI STELTZER, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colo.

Mitchell Receives 2013 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science

Jonathan L. Mitchell received the 2013 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes significant early-career contributions to planetary science.

Citation

mitchell_jonathan-lThe Greeley Early Career Award is named for pioneering planetary scientist Ronald Greeley. Ron was involved in nearly every major planetary mission from the 1970s until his death and was extraordinarily active in service to the planetary science community. Ron’s greatest legacies, however, are those he mentored through the decades, and it is young scientists whose work and promise we seek to recognize. This year’s Greeley award winner is Jonathan L. Mitchell, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jonathan received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and after a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, he joined the UCLA faculty, where he holds a joint appointment in Earth and space sciences and in atmospheric sciences.

Jonathan is one of the few planetary scientists, young or old, who is also a recognized expert in geophysical fluid dynamics and the fundamental theory of atmospheric circulation as it has been developed in the terrestrial community over the past half century. This places Jonathan in a rather unique position to understand the dynamical processes occurring in planetary atmospheres. Jonathan has already made major contributions to our understanding of Titan’s atmosphere, the existence of equatorial superrotation in planetary atmospheres generally, atmospheric thermodynamics, and the atmospheric and interior dynamics of hot giant exoplanets.

As an example, Jonathan’s detailed three-dimensional circulation models for Titan have explained how equatorial and midlatitude cloud systems can lead to precipitation that greatly exceeds the time-averaged precipitation rates, up to perhaps several centimeters of liquid methane rain in individual events. Such rare but intense events must cause significant fluvial erosion, so Jonathan’s models help to explain the existence of widespread fluvial erosion features on Titan’s surface at low latitudes, which are otherwise relatively dry and lake free.

Jonathan’s adaptation of Earth-based knowledge to solve planetary problems and his judicious comparisons of physical mechanisms on different planets are what Ron Greeley would have termed comparative planetology and are very much in Ron’s style, as is Jonathan’s mentoring of his growing research group.

Congratulations to Jonathan L. Mitchell, the 2013 recipient of the Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science.

—WILLIAM B. MCKINNON, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

Response

I am honored to receive this award in memory of Ron Greeley. Although I did not have the opportunity to know him, I had the pleasure of getting to know his wife, Cynthia, at a luncheon prior to the special awards session at the AGU Fall Meeting. Cynthia is an intelligent and elegant southern woman with a confident gaze. She spoke fondly of Ron and of her sincere respect for his work ethic and dedication to planetary science. What most impressed me, though, was the respect Ron showed to her and the kids by always “giving them the evenings”; no matter how busy things got, Ron always kept his evenings open for Cynthia. This clearly meant the world to her. As a family man, I can only hope that my wife and kids will speak so kindly of me many years from now. I would like to dedicate this award to them in gratitude for their seemingly unconditional love and support.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the individuals who have positively influenced my career. I owe nearly all my inspiration to the Cassini team; many thanks to you all. My thanks to Ray Pierrehumbert for taking a chance on a disillusioned cosmologist when he agreed to be my thesis advisor. Working with Ray reminded me that science should be (and is) fun. Thanks also to Geoff Vallis and Peter Goldreich for their mentoring during my postdoc years and for their continued advocacy in my early career. Thanks to my anonymous senior colleagues who nominated me and to the selection committee for this great honor. And, finally, thanks to my parents who always encouraged me that I could do whatever I set my mind to.

—JONATHAN L. MITCHELL, University of California, Los Angeles

McSween Receives 2013 Whipple Award

Harry Y. McSween Jr. received the 2013 Whipple Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of planetary science.

Citation

mcsween_harry-yThe Whipple Award is the highest honor given by the AGU Planetary Sciences section and is named for Fred Whipple, a famed space scientist most noted for his work on comets. This year, we have selected Harry “Hap” McSween Jr., Chancellor’s Professor and distinguished professor of science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, as the 2013 Whipple Award winner.

Hap specializes in meteorites, particularly chondrites and Martian meteorites, and studies them to understand the formation of the solar system, in the process publishing more than 250 papers on the cosmochemistry, mineralogy, and petrology of meteorites and on planetary geology. Hap is preeminent among the world’s leading meteoriticists and is arguably the world’s leading expert on Martian igneous rock petrology/geochemistry and the composition of the Martian crust. He has served as an indispensable bridge builder, connecting the world of meteoritics with planetary spacecraft exploration and the disciplines of geochemistry and petrology with remote sensing.

Hap’s interest in meteorites started as a graduate student at Harvard, where he was John Wood’s first graduate student, receiving his Ph.D. in 1977. One of the “discoveries” for which he is justifiably well known is the proposal, made with fellow grad student Ed Stopler, that certain meteorites—the shergottites—actually came from Mars. This is now accepted canon. Hap subsequently worked on several Mars missions, including Pathfinder, the Exploration Rovers, Global Surveyor, and Odyssey, and on the Dawn mission to Vesta.

Hap’s record of service to our community is exemplary as well. He is a past president of the Meteoritical Society and is currently the president-elect of the Geological Society of America. He has served on dozens of influential NASA and National Research Council (NRC) advisory panels that have shaped our nation’s planetary exploration program, including leadership roles in the recent NRC Planetary Decadal Survey. He has authored or coauthored half a dozen books, both for academics and for the general public. Hap’s service to his discipline exemplifies the “selfless service” that AGU values as a model for its members.

So congratulations to Harry Younger McSween Jr. for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to planetary science.

—WILLIAM B. MCKINNON, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

Response

Not so long ago, our forebears in planetary science—people like Fred Whipple—could truthfully have stated, “Half of what we have been taught is wrong. Unfortunately, we don’t know which half.” That does not apply to us anymore, but it remains true that in studying the planets, we must use every scrap of available information, weaving disparate data sets into a tapestry that reveals how these bodies formed and evolved.

Much of my own work takes advantage of the fact that planets sometimes swap rocks, and these meteorites can provide ground truth for our planetary understanding. I am privileged to have been mentored in meteoritics by John Wood, a previous Whipple Award recipient. I have also enjoyed the heady experience of remotely analyzing rocks on the surfaces of other worlds, courtesy of NASA spacecraft and working with fellow planetary scientists like Steve Squyres, last year’s Whipple Award winner. I am especially indebted to my 50-odd former graduate students and postdocs, who have certainly taught me more planetary science than I taught them and always kept me invigorated.

I really had no expectation of receiving the Whipple Award, and I am humbled to be given this coveted stamp of approval from AGU’s Planetary Sciences section. I gratefully accept it as a representative of many colleagues who work in extraterrestrial petrology and cosmochemistry—a corner of planetary science, a cornerstone really, that plays a significant role in our discipline. Thank you for this honor.

—HARRY Y. MCSWEEN JR., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville