Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences faculty continue to earn numerous awards and honors, in recognition of their leadership in their respective fields
Kerry Emanuel, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Meteorology at MIT, gave the Bjerknes Lecture at the annual American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, California in December 2015. The AGU recognized Emanuel for his, “outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of tropical cyclones, convection, and weather and climate sciences.”
Established in 1993, the annual lecture is given by a prominent scientist in honor of the memory of Meteorologist Jacob Bjerknes, known for determining the link between El Niño and the Southern Oscillation. Emanuel’s lecture, “Convective Aggregation, Climate Sensitivity, and the Importance of Radiation Physics in Weather and Climate,” focused on the nontrivial coupling of circulation and radiation physics in relation to diverse problems including the Madden-Julian Oscillation, tropical cyclones, and the relative insensitivity of tropical climate to radiative forcing.
Emanuel, and EAPS alum, co-founded the Lorenz Center, a climate think tank devoted to cross-disciplinary, curiosity-driven research, fostering creative approaches to learning how climate works. Emanuel’s research interests include tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2006 was included in Time Magazine’s “100 People who Shape Our World.” He joined the MIT faculty in 1981 and has served as Director of the Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and past Chair of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate in EAPS.
John Marshall, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, accepted the American Meteorological Society’s 2016 Haurwitz Prize for, “seminal contributions to atmospheric, oceanic, and climate dynamics and the creation of innovative modeling tools and educational resources.”
In addition to the prize, Marshall was invited to give the Haurwitz Memorial Lecture at the 2015 American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana where his lecture focused on the role of the ocean in the climate system, discussing hemispheric asymmetries in climate and the role of the ocean in setting the position of the ITCZ, a band in tropical rainfall found just north of the equator.
Marshall studies the circulation of the ocean, its coupling to the atmosphere and the role of the oceans in climate. Specific research interests include ocean convection and thermohaline circulation, ocean gyres and circumpolar currents, geophysical fluid dynamics, climate dynamics and numerical modeling of ocean and atmosphere. Marshall is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (2014), and holds the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society (2014). He directs MIT’s Climate Modeling Initiative and is coordinator of Oceans at MIT, an umbrella organization dedicated to all things ocean-related across the Institute. Marshall joined the faculty in 1991.
Daniel Rothman, Professor of Geophysics and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Lorenz Center, was awarded the 2016 Levi L. Conant Prize of the American Mathematics Society (AMS).
Rothman was honored for his paper, “Earth’s Carbon Cycle: A Mathematical Perspective,” Bulletin of the AMS (2015). Presented annually, the Conant Prize recognizes the best expository paper published in either the Notices of the AMS or the Bulletin of the AMS in the preceding five years.
Rothman’s work has contributed widely to the understanding of the organization of the natural environment, resulting in fundamental advances in subjects ranging from seismology and fluid flow to biogeochemistry and geobiology. He has also made significant contributions to research in statistical physics. Recent areas of focused interest include the dynamics of Earth’s carbon cycle, the co-evolution of life and the environment, and the physical foundation of natural geometric forms.
Rothman joined the MIT faculty in 1986, after receiving his AB in applied mathematics from Brown University and his PhD in geophysics from Stanford University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union.
PLAUDITS FOR HISTORIC NEW HORIZONS MISSION
The historic 2015 NASA New Horizons Mission flyby of Pluto marked the culmination of a 26-year-long effort to rendezvous with the icy dwarf planet, making it the most distant body in the solar system we have visited so far. The decades-long effort—ultimately involving hundreds of dedicated scientists—secures EAPS Professor of Planetary Sciences Richard Binzel a place in the history books as a Science Team Co-Investigator on the mission, along with a share in multiple team awards including: Science Magazine’s People’s Choice Award for the #1 Story of 2015, and Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year 2015; Discovery Magazine’s Top Science Story 2015; Science News Magazine’s Top Science Story 2015; the 2016 Goddard Trophy of the National Space Club; the 2016 Space Ops Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; the Space Foundation’s 2016 Jack L. Sweigert Exploration Award; the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award; the Smithsonian Institution’s 2016 National Air and Space Museum Achievement Award; Aviation Week and Space Technology’s 2016 Laureate Award; a National Air and Space Museum Trophy; and the 2016 Neil Armstrong Space Flight Achievement Award of the American Astronautical Society.
Image: Prof. Richard Binzel displays an array of awards bestowed on the New Horizons team in recognition of their historic exploration achievement. From left to right: National Space Club: 2016 Goddard Trophy, Space Foundation: 2016 Jack L. Swigert Space Exploration Award, Smithsonian Institution: 2016 National Air and Space Museum Achievement Award, Aviation Week and Space Technology: 2016 Laureate Award - Image courtesy: R. Binzel.
OLIVER JAGOUTZ AWARDED TENURE
Associate Professor of Geology Oliver (Oli) Jagoutz studies the formation and evolution of Earth’s continental crust, the tectonic evolution of the Himalaya/Tibet system, and the effects of geological processes on climate. Despite decades of research, crust formation has remained enigmatic, with implications for understanding of the land we live on, the chemical differentiation of planetary interiors in general, and the interplay between changes in the solid Earth and climate. Jagoutz’s research comprises field mapping and geochemical and geophysical analysis of samples brought back from the field. He usually spends a couple of months a year in field areas all over the world, and he regularly leads department field trips. However, his main research has focused on the only known complete cross-section of exhumed continental crust, which is exposed in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Years of cross-disciplinary study enabled him to produce seminal results concerning first-order problems in Earth sciences, including: (1) the processes that lead to the formation, large-scale chemical stratification, and bulk composition of the Earth’s continental crust; and (2) the causes and consequences of tectonic processes that occurred during the closure of the Neotethys, the ocean that existed to the south of Eurasia, which disappeared when Africa and India converged on Eurasia. The latter involved collaborative research with EAPS professor Leigh (Wiki) Royden and includes explanations for the fast closure of India and Asia, the drawdown of CO₂ (a reverse-greenhouse effect due to geological carbon sequestration), and subsequent cooling tens of millions of years ago.
In addition, Jagoutz’s contributions in teaching and mentoring have made him a go-to member of the faculty in the EAPS Program in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology, regularly leading department field trips both near and far, like the 2016 Fall Geology Field Trip exploring the geology of central Massachusetts, and the annual Geology Field Camp in the American West—and venturing even further still with a student trip to the Himalayas in Summer 2013.
AWARDS AND HONORS
Victor P. Starr Career Development Assistant Professor
Was voted the Early Career Councilor for the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM). She was also named the Ally of Nature Awardee in 2015.
Professor Emeritus of Geology
Received a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions to Chinese science and a medal for contributions to China-US cooperation in Science and Technology READ MORE
Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science
Was appointed Honorary Fellow, the highest award of the UK's Royal Meteorological Society "in recognition of a distinguished career and long standing contribution to Meteorology."
Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Oceanography and Chair of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate
Was selected to receive the Scripps Institution of Oceanography 2016 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences.
Assistant Professor of Geobiology
Received a NASA Astrobiology Institute Directors Discretionary Fund Award: "Integrating the geochemical and genomic history of the rise of oxygen on Earth"
Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Geology
In March 2016 was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Liege, Belgium.
Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor
Was named an AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellow READ MORE
Giang et al. (2015) won Best Environmental Science & Technology Journal Environmental Policy Paper of 2015 READ MORE
Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science
Received an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
In this issue
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