Seminal work by EAPS faculty members recognized by the American Geophysical Union, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and NASA.
Samuel A. Bowring, the Robert R. Shrock Professor of Geology, was awarded the Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union in December 2016, in recognition for, “original contributions to the basic knowledge of [the Earth’s] crust and lithosphere.”
Bowring’s work using high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology to examine rates of geological and biological processes in deep time has revolutionized scientists’ ability to more closely pinpoint the timing of events in early Earth history. Areas of particular interest include the earliest history of the Earth, the origin of continental crust, thermal evolution of orogenic belts, and the age and duration of major extinction events.
Dara Entekhabi, the Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor in MIT’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, will be inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for, “leadership in the hydrologic sciences including the scientific underpinnings for satellite observation of the Earth’s water cycle.”
Entekhabi is the science team leader for the NASA Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) satellite launched in 2015. SMAP is measuring soil moisture and soil freeze/thaw status using two instruments: radar and a radiometer. Work in his group spans a variety of topics in hydrology, including land-atmosphere interactions, surface water/groundwater interactions, data assimilation, and remote sensing.
Susan Solomon, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies at MIT, accepted the 2017 National Academy of Sciences Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship for lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth, and whose lectures will provide solid, timely, and useful additions to the knowledge and literature in the field.
Solomon has been a leader in the fields of atmospheric chemistry and climate change for three decades. In 1986, Solomon proposed that novel chemistry was taking place and then used optical techniques to demonstrate that chlorine and bromine released by chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases were responsible for the ozone “hole” over Antarctica, which had been discovered just a year earlier—findings that contributed to the establishment of the Montreal Protocol to reduce emissions of CFC gases beginning in 1987. Thirty years later, Solomon used observations and model calculations to identify the first signs of the recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer, an indication of the progress and effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol.
Maria Zuber, the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, received the NASA 2017 Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal, “for her significant scientific contributions throughout the course of her career.”
Zuber’s research focuses on the structure and tectonics of solid solar system objects. She specializes in using gravity and laser altimetry measurements to determine interior structure and evolution and has been involved in more than a half-dozen NASA planetary missions aimed at mapping the Moon, Mars, and Mercury, as well as several asteroids. She was principal investigator for the lunar Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) project, and as such became the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission. Zuber currently serves as MIT’s Vice President of Research.
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