Savage Receives 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award

Heather M. Savage will receive the 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 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 (MRP) focus group of the American Geophysical Union is privileged to honor Dr. Heather Savage as the recipient of the 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Heather earned her master’s degree from University of Massachusetts–Amherst working with Michele Cooke, and her Ph.D. from Penn State University working with Chris Marone. Following her Ph.D., Heather moved to University of California, Santa Cruz as the NSF-MARGINS postdoctoral fellow, where she collaborated with Emily Brodsky. Heather is currently Lamont Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Heather’s research on friction, dynamic earthquake triggering, and the structure and properties of faults is at the forefront of rock physics. Her approach to earthquake science includes a dizzying array of topics and methods, including deformation experiments, field observations, and (remarkably) organic geochemistry. Over her brief career, Heather has mentored numerous outstanding postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates, and in doing so has single-handedly changed the gender balance in the rock physics community. Heather’s stellar research and service have made her not just a leader among early-career scientists, but a leader throughout all of mineral and rock physics. Congratulations, Heather, on this well-deserved award!

—Phil Skemer, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo., and President, Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, AGU


I am profoundly honored to receive this year’s Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) Early Career Award, thank you to my nominators and the MRP focus group. Many people have helped me along the way, and I am especially grateful to my advisors from various stages in my career. Michele Cooke taught me the essentials of brittle deformation in the field and her strong encouragement started me down my current path. From Chris Marone I learned everything I know about friction, the joys and frustrations of experimental work, and that bringing a box of doughnuts to the lab generates a lot of goodwill. Emily Brodsky somehow crammed a lifetime of knowledge into my 3-year postdoc, most importantly that I shouldn’t shy away from big questions even if I don’t yet possess the tools to answer them.

Since arriving at Lamont, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing students, postdocs, and colleagues. Specifically, I want to acknowledge the Lamont Rock Mechanics group, past and present. These very special people make our lab a very happy place. One of the most important and enjoyable aspects of science is collaboration. It is the only way to move in truly new directions and make valuable breakthroughs. My many wonderful collaborators, near and far, have continually pushed me out of my comfort zone, and as a result have made me a better scientist.

Finally, I want to thank my wonderful family and friends for their unwavering support.

—Heather M. Savage, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.