Sack Receives 2014 Norman L. Bowen Award

Richard O. Sack received 2014 Norman L. Bowen Awards at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.


Sack_Richard-Norman-Bowen-Award_SIZEDI am very pleased and honored to introduce Richard Sack, the corecipient of this year’s Norman L. Bowen Award of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology. Richard Sack is certainly one of those unique scientists.

His work on the thermochemistry of sulfides proved that experiment and theory have relevance to studying ore deposits. After a decade of sulfide work, Richard returned to solid solutions found in meteorites, most recently, to those relevant to the petrogenesis of calcium-aluminum inclusions in carbonaceous chondrites, defect spinels, and now fassaites. In addition, Richard Sack’s and Mark Ghiorso’s publications on thermodynamics of multicomponent pyroxenes have provided new understanding of the phase relations of these complicated but extremely important mineral systems.

Richard has been an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences of the University of Washington since 1993, and he founded the not-for-profit OFM Research Corporation with Mark Ghiorso in 2005. Richard provided experimental data and constructed solution models for minerals to calibrate the SILCAL model, predecessor of MELTS. Mark and Richard collaborated to produce thermodynamically viable models for minerals, which led to the calibration of the original MELTS software. Mark Ghiorso and his coworkers afterward produced many variants and improvements in models for silicate melts in the code.  This is truly a significant scientific contribution to a quantitative understanding of mineral-melt systems. More than a quarter of a million visits in 2014 alone show the global interest in this software. Norman Bowen would doubtless have loved to check his experimental results against the output of the MELTS.

It is my great pleasure and honor to present to you my friend and colleague, the 2014 Norman Bowen Award corecipient, Dr. Richard Sack.

—Attila Kilinc, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio



Thank you, Attila! I am pleased to accept this Norman Bowen Award on behalf of all the individuals who helped me achieve this recognition. My parents, Bernhard and Mary, and brother, John, are high on this list, as are Ron Brown and Leo Matthew Hall, who introduced me to chemistry and mineralogy, and Philip R. Whitney, who introduced me to coronas in Adirondack mafic granulites and persuaded me to continue my studies in metamorphic petrology with James B. Thompson Jr. During these studies I met many interesting characters, including Tim Grove, Mike Mottl, Barbara Luedtke, Nicolas DarBois, Steve Bushnell, Ed Stolper, and Dave Walker. I am forever in the debt of Dave, Ian Carmichael, and Jim Thompson for arranging for the postdoc that enabled me to meet Hal Helgeson, Peter Lichtner, and the MELTS architect, my colleague at OFM Research and long-term collaborator, Mark Ghiorso.

I also thank Attila Kilinc, Atilla Aydin, Cliff Kubiak, Dave Gaskell, Arvid Johnson, Tom Tharp, Mark Ghiorso, Marc Hirschmann, Bruce Nelson, Nick Hayman, John Fitzpatrick, and Bill and Betty Clinkenbeard, Scott Kuehner, Carl Hager, Dave McDougall, Ed Mulligan, Jamie Allan, and Victor Kress for their sage advice, friendship, assistance, and collaboration. I am grateful to Phil Goodell and Lisa Hardy for introducing me to practical mining geology, Peter Lichtner for helping me keep my signs straight, and my former graduate students Ken Raabe, Roy Hill, Mike O’Leary, Lauren Gee Carroll, William Azeredo, Denton Ebel, Daniel Harlov, Shuvo Ghosal, Irfan Yolcubal, Alexey Balabin, and Nathan Chutas for doing the hard work that makes all this possible. I thank my family, Odee, Filo, Milo, and O’Win, and their predecessors Olde, Fidelity, and Morgan, for always racing to my side. And, finally, I want to thank the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology section of the AGU for this honor.

—Richard O. Sack, OFM Research, Redmond, Wash.