GSA Medals & Awards

AGI Medal
in Memory of Ian Campbell

Arthur A. Socolow
Arthur A. Socolow
Pennsylvania Geological Survey (retired)

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Back to 2007
GSA Award Recipients

Presented to Arthur A. Socolow

 Citation by Walter A. Anderson

The American Geological Institute (AGI) representing the Geological Society of America (GSA), the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), and other AGI member societies, select with gratitude Arthur A. Socolow as recipient of AGI’s prestigious award, the 2007 Medal in memory of Ian Campbell.

Socolow was born in New York City in 1921 and grew up on a farm in Toms River, New Jersey. He attended Rutgers University, where he received his B.S. degree in geology in 1942. After six months with the U.S. Geological Survey, he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1942 to 1946, with stations in India, Burma, and the Philippines. His geological education strengthened his military duties as a photogrammetrist and air photo interpreter, which benefited his subsequent geological career.

After his military service, Socolow rejoined the U.S. Geological Survey until he entered Columbia University, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with a strong background in structural and economic geology, mentored by such distinguished geologists as Walter Bucher and Charles Behre. He served as a professor of geology from 1948 to 1957 successively at Southern Methodist University, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts. During those teaching years, he also served as a consultant to numerous mining and oil companies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as four months in Alaska for the U.S. Geological Survey on the Defense Minerals Exploration program.

In 1957, Socolow accepted an appointment as geologist to head up the mineral resources program of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey under the well-known State Geologist Carlisle Grey. In 1961, Socolow was named director and state geologist of the Pennsylvania Survey. It was during his early tenure as state geologist that he met Ian Campbell, whom he admired and respected as an outstanding professional geologist, leader, and gentleman. During their long professional relationship, Campbell, as a mentor, influenced Socolow’s philosophy and style as demonstrated by his proven public service, broad regional and national contributions, leadership, administrative, and scientific successes.

At the Pennsylvania Topographic and Geologic Survey, Socolow developed and advanced major programs in topographic and geologic mapping, oil and gas research, and environmental studies. His topographic mapping program met great success with the completion in 1973of the 7.5 minute series for Pennsylvania, one of the first states to have such complete coverage. Intensive geologic mapping was done under Socolow’s supervision, resulting in a new state geological map compilation that comprehensively presents the complex geology of Pennsylvania to geologists and non-geologists alike. Socolow was always pushing the envelope for new and better ways of producing geological products and providing services to the user community. Under his directorship, the Pennsylvania Survey was a leader in applying natural resource information to environmental concerns when it was not particularly popular among more traditional survey programs. Art knew, however, that with the emergence of environmental concerns and regulations, a new group of user material needed to have understandable natural resource data in order to make better and more reasonable decisions. As Ian Campbell was a strong advocate for environmental education, the Pennsylvania Survey was one of the first to develop public education and outreach programs oriented to land-use, economic, and environmental needs. Socolow’s efforts on public education were a natural when one considers the years of service that he gave to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Association of Geology Teachers (AAGT) who gave him the Ralph Digman Award for contributions to the academic community, intercollegiate-public geological field trips, and other forms of outreach.

Socolow has authored over 100 papers and publications and is an active member of some 14 professional societies. Most notably, he served as councilor of GSA, president of AASG, chairman of the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature, and president of the Geology Section of AAAS.

As for the AASG, Art Socolow’s leadership skills and his persuasive yet genial approach to his work brought him to the helm of the organization in 1977. During that time period he instituted the important Liaison Committee with the purpose of meeting regularly with the leadership of federal agencies and directly with members of the Congress to ensure that appropriate geologic information was used in the development of sound national policy. The nation as a whole has benefited from this effort. The AASG is currently a sponsored member of AAAS because of the diligent efforts of Art Socolow.

Socolow is strongly devoted to, and mutually supported by, his talented family: Edith, his wife of 58 years and a recognized artist, and sons Carl, Roy, and Jeff, who are established professionals in photography, hydrology, and medical research, respectively.

Art’s life-long dedication, achievements, and consistency to the geologic profession through his public service are fitting for recognition with the prestigious Ian Campbell award.

 top 2007 AGI Medal in honor of Ian Campbell - Response by Arthur A. Socolow

I thank my good friend Walter Anderson for preparing the comprehensive and gracious Citation. Walter is responsible for much attention given to New England geology. I accept the Ian Campbell Award established in recognition of his scientific contributions and his unique ability to relate geology to the interests and needs of the public.

I chose geology as a profession in recognition of its historic role in influencing the activities of mankind starting with the Stone Age, then the expansion of man’s geography, development of resources, establishment of trade routes, colonization, and sadly, strife among nations.

I met Ian Campbell at a number of meetings. I was impressed with his breadth of knowledge and especially his ability to communicate with professionals and the public. An outstanding scientist, he was also the consummate gentleman. I am truly honored to receive his namesake award.

I thank the selection committee for choosing me and I am especially proud to join the 26 member list of distinguished geologists who previously received the Campbell award.

It is most appropriate for AGI to sponsor the Campbell award in view of AGI’s historic role in expounding and coordinating America’s geologic activities. I recall an AGI sponsored meeting decades ago in Duluth where we prepared a volume to assist in the teaching of geology.

I must thank my wife and my three sons for supporting my interests and especially for putting up with my frequent absences from home when I was attending another (and yet another !) meeting.

Once again, my sincere appreciation for this outstanding honor.