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Find Your Science at GSA
20 July 2012
GSA Release No. 12-56
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
traverse team
GSA's Gold Medals

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2012 Medals and Awards of The Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA – The Geological Society of America will recognize outstanding scientific achievements and distinguished service to the profession at its 2012 Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. GSA’s highest honors, the Penrose Medal, the Arthur L. Day Medal, and the Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) will be received by Raymond A. Price of Queen's University, John M. Eiler of the California Institute of Technology, and Katharine W. Huntington of the University of Washington, respectively.

These awards and other honors will be celebrated by three separate events at the GSA Annual Meeting, all of which members of the media are cordially invited to attend:
1. The GSA Presidential Address & GSA President's Medal Presentation, Sunday, 4 Nov., 12:15-1:15 p.m.;
2. Presentations of all other medals and awards on Monday, 5 Nov., 12:15-1:15 p.m.; and
3. Reflective lectures by GSA's Penrose, Day, and Donath medalists from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, 5 Nov.

Raymond A. Price, professor emeritus at Queen's University, has been named GSA’s 2012 Penrose Medalist in recognition of his eminent research in pure geology and for outstanding original contributions that mark a major advance in the science of geology; namely, his detailed, accurate, and comprehensive characterization and mapping of the geometry of the Canadian Cordilleran thrust belt, which has served as the global archetype for the understanding of the kinematics, mechanics, and dynamics of thrust belts elsewhere. As noted by nominator Tekla Harms of Amherst College, "With a breadth of vision equaled by few, Price has been able to integrate the geology of the thrust belt with the evolution of the Canadian Cordillera as a whole, in all its complexity." Supporting nominator Ron M. Clowes of the University of British Columbia adds, "In my view, Ray is the undisputed authority on the origin and evolution of the Canadian Rocky Mountains."

John M. Eiler of the California Institute of Technology has been awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal for his "leadership in the field of isotope geochemistry, including innovative theoretical, analytical, and empirical contributions to understanding processes of isotope ordering and exchange, and applications to fundamental questions in geoscience," writes nominator John W. Valley of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Eiler is perhaps best known for his 1992 "fast grain boundary diffusion model," which supporting nominator E. Bruce Watson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute writes, "is a significant contribution by any measure and a truly remarkable one for a graduate student."

Katharine W. Huntington of the University of Washington has earned the Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) and a cash prize of $10,000 for her extraordinary contributions to the application of geomorphological, geochemical, and geochronological observations to tectonic problems. Nominator John M. Eiler of the California Institute of Technology writes that within two years of starting her post-doctoral work, Huntington "had completed one of the most innovative and noteworthy recent studies to use stable isotope methods to perform paleoaltitude reconstructions and worked herself into a position with high visibility and impact in what was, for her, a new field." Supporting nominator Brian Wernicke of the California Institute of Technology adds that Huntington's "young career has demonstrated a mastery of new and difficult analytical methods on one hand, and a geologic intuition for applying them to important problems on the other."

Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science: Phoebe A. Cohen
The Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award will be presented to Phoebe A. Cohen, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for her 2010 Ph.D. research, "Investigations of enigmatic Neoproterozoic eukaryotes," which is a significant contribution to the fields of paleobiology and geobiology. "In respect to research excellence and accomplishment," writes nominator Roger E. Summons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cohen's work is "characterized by broad geological and paleobiological understanding, fastidious attention to detail in experiment and observation, and an atypical degree of clarity in how her findings are communicated." Supporting nominator Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University writes that Cohen's "broad and deep knowledge will serve her well in a new generation of teaching about our planet's history."

GSA Public Service Award: Roger A. Pielke Jr.
Roger A. Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado Center for Science and Technology has earned the GSA Public Service Award for his contributions to understanding and analyzing the role of geosciences to society over a broad and deep range of topics. Nominator Peter F. Folger of the Congressional Research Service writes, "One of the prominent themes in Dr. Pielke's research, publications, and lectures has been the topic of natural hazards and on the scientific analysis of trends in their frequency, severity, and costs over time. His work on this theme has helped focus understanding of how scientific research on floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, and other phenomena can be understood in the broader context of what natural hazards mean to society, and on ways society can become more resilient to nature's extremes."

GSA Distinguished Service Award: Elizabeth (Lisa) Norby and Bob Stewart
The GSA Distinguished Service Award recognizes two individuals this year: Elizabeth (Lisa) Norby of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) Geologic Resources Division, and Bob Stewart of ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

Norby's collaboration with GSA in her role as manager of the NPS Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) Program has significantly strengthened GSA's GeoCorps Program. As a result of her skillful engagement of new partners, ability to secure and maintain funding, and her overall creativity and open-mindedness, GeoCorps-GIP positions have expanded not only in number, but also in geography, scope, and diversity.

Stewart's dedication and service to students through GSA’s mentor, short course, and Bighorn Basin field camp programs is the basis for his distinguished service recognition. Stewart has volunteered countless hours of his time creating opportunities to expose students to applied geoscience careers. His excitement, humor and candid responses inspire the next generation of geoscientists.

Bromery Award for Minorities: Kenneth D. Ridgway
The Randolph W. "Bill" and Cecile T. Bromery Award for Minorities will be presented to Kenneth D. Ridgway of Purdue University. Ridgway's leadership is exemplified by his pivotal role in Purdue's Tecumseh Project, which helps graduate students develop research projects on Native American lands and within their tribal communities. Nominator Sarah Roeske of the University of California, Davis, writes, "The role he plays in linking science and community is the key to his ability to connect with Native American students. He understands and respects the culture and what will help Native scientists connect with their elders and home.”

Photos of the GSA award recipients are online at Citations and responses from the 2012 GSA medal and award winners will be posted on this site after the 2012 GSA Annual Meeting & Exposition.

See for GSA Division awardees and for GSA's newly elected Fellows.

Read more about GSA's medals and awards at

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.