2017 Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science Award

Presented to Sonia M. Tikoo

Citation by Benjamin P. Weiss

I am very happy to recognize Sonia M. Tikoo for the 2017 Doris Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science Award for her fundamental contributions to our understanding of the lunar dynamo. As a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she established criteria for identifying reliable records of ancient magnetic fields in lunar materials. She then used this knowledge to conduct a successful Thellier-Thellier paleointensity study of an Apollo breccia, finding evidence that the lunar dynamo persisted a billion years longer than previously known. She found that the Moon’s field strength at this late time is broadly consistent with that expected for a convective dynamo powered by core crystallization. Recently having started her own paleomagnetism laboratory as a professor at Rutgers University, she is now expanding in new directions, including studying the effect of shock on remanent magnetization in rocks. Sonia is a rising star in the constellation of young planetary geologists.

2017 Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science Award — Response by Sonia M. Tikoo

I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Doris Curtis Award. I thank the Geological Society of America for this recognition and for their support of early career women in science. Throughout my career, I have benefited from a great group of mentors who have guided me. First and foremost, I would like to thank my nominator, Ben Weiss, for being an exceptional Ph.D. advisor and for introducing me to lunar magnetism. I also thank Joe Kirschvink, Bob Kopp, Nick Swanson-Hysell, and Dennis Kent for their mentorship and advocacy during my years as an undergraduate, postdoc, and faculty member, respectively. All of them creatively utilize paleomagnetism to address planetary-scale research questions, and I carry their lessons with me as I move forward in my own career. I am also grateful for my fellow women in geoscience for being an amazing power network of camaraderie and support. Finally, I thank my family—especially my husband Chris. He has been my greatest supporter and my constant as I jet around the world in pursuit of cool rocks.