GSA Medals & Awards

Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award

Tanja Bosak
Tanja Bosak
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Outstanding Women in Science

Back to 2007
GSA Award Recipients

Presented to Tanja Bosak


I am delighted to receive the Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award. I am also grateful for this opportunity to thank some of the people who have supported me and encouraged me at Caltech and Harvard: Joe Kirschvink, John Grotzinger, Andy Knoll, Ann Pearson and Rich Losick. I hope to be as good a mentor and colleague to others as these people have been to me. But probably the most important person I need to thank is my Ph.D. advisor at Caltech, Dianne Newman.

When I came to Caltech from Croatia, I thought I would be a planetary scientist and I started working on atmospheric models of Jupiter. But I was quickly enticed by geobiology although I had had virtually no experience in this area. I decide that one of my Ph.D. qualifying exam projects would be a study of microbial mats.

However, I soon discovered that the project would never work as conceived. As I was describing this revelation during the exam, I was nervous that I would fail, but Dianne started laughing in approval. Not only did I pass, Dianne also wanted me to work with her in spite of my background in physics! From then on I have been fortunate to have Dianne as a terrific mentor and role model. This experience taught me to keep an eye out for people with a non-traditional approach to questions about life and the environment, in keeping both with the vision of the GSA and with the spirit this award.

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