Reilinger Receives 2016 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service

Robert Reilinger will receive the 2016 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the fields of geodesy, seismology, or tectonophysics through mentoring of junior colleagues, leadership of community research initiatives, or other forms of unselfish collaboration in research.


Robert Reilinger is honored with the Paul Silver Award for inspiring so many researchers and students, in so many countries, to collaborate in the construction of a vast geodetic observatory centered on the Eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia but stretching from Morocco in the west, Azerbaijan in the east, the Black Sea in the north, and Ethiopia in the south. Rob has orchestrated this sustained and very productive collaboration, despite the many political tensions in the region, by his generosity and evident lack of self-interest, his contagious enthusiasm for seismotectonics, his willingness to work hard in the field, year after year, especially in the emergencies trigged by earthquakes, and by his desire to see his many partners, especially his younger partners, publish the fruits of their efforts. Rob has helped to build technical capacity by organizing training programs as and when they were needed, both at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and within the region. Rob has also been generous with his ideas, and the papers that he has written with his colleagues at MIT and throughout the Tethyan region have contributed to, and helped inspire, a flood of new insights into the geodynamics and the seismicity of this region. Paul Silver was an excellent and hard-working scientist, a great organizer, a generous mentor, and a kind soul. All these things are true of Robert Reilinger as well, which makes him a really fitting person for this honor. Thank you, Rob, for all that you have done for our science, and for all that you have done for our community.

—Tony Watts, Chair, Joint Tectonophysics, Seismology and Geodesy sections, Silver Award Committee


Thanks for your very generous citation, Tony. I’m incredibly flattered to receive this award, and grateful to have an opportunity to acknowledge some of those individuals who have contributed to my personal and professional development. Jack Oliver gave me a start in geophysics and advised me to “focus on doing good work—everything else will take care of itself.” Muawia Barazangi taught me the importance of careful observations and the intense dedication needed to be a scientist. Our geodynamic studies of the Africa-Arabia-Eurasia plate system would never have happened without Nafi Toksoz inviting me to work at MIT, and to collaborate with Bob King, Simon McClusky, and Aykut Barka (deceased), each as personally committed to this research as I have been for the past 30 years. Philippe Vernant and Mike Floyd have more recently carried much of the scientific “weight.” Carrying on from Aykut, Semih Ergintav has maintained a remarkable, perhaps unique, collaboration in Turkey motivated by ongoing earthquake hazards. Sergy Balassanian (deceased) and Arkady Karakanian (Armenia), Fakhraddin Kadirov and Samir Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Valentine Kotzev and Ivan Georgiev (Bulgaria), Mikhail Prilepin (Caucasus, Russia), Ali Tealeb and Salah Mamoud (Egypt), Rebecca Bendick and Shimelis Fiseha (Ethiopia), Ghebrebrhan Ogubazghi (Eritrea), Galaktion Hahubia, Giorgi Sokhadze, and Tea Godoladze (Georgia), Demitris Paradissis (Greece), Abdullah ArRajehi (KSA), Muawia Barazangi, Francisco (Paco) Gomez, Mohamad Daoud, Riyadh Ghazzi (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan), Driss Ben Sari and Abdelilah Tahayt (Morocco) all participated in early efforts to map deformation—their whole hearted cooperation and willingness to work across borders allowed our project to proceed. I hope all of our partners will take personal satisfaction from this award. UNAVCO has been, and remains, an invaluable resource, beginning with the engineers, James Stowell, Jim Normandeau, Dave Mencin, and Karl Faux among others, with continuing, uninterrupted support essential to our research.

—Robert Reilinger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.