Carnegie’s Hazen honored for lifetime achievement in mineralogy

Robert Hazen DCO Portrait
Robert Hazen will be honored with the 2022 the International Mineralogical Association’s Medal for Excellence. Image Credit: Deep Carbon Observatory
Friday, May 28, 2021 

Washington, DC—Carnegie Mineralogist Robert Hazen—who advanced the concept that Earth’s geology was shaped by the rise and sustenance of life—will be honored with the 2022 International Mineralogical Association’s Medal for Excellence. The prize recognizes “outstanding scientific publication in the field of mineralogical sciences.”

The medal was created to honor a lifetime of achievement in and outstanding contributions to the fields of mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, crystallography, and applied mineralogy.  Hazen will be its 11th recipient.

A Staff Scientist at Carnegie’s Earth and Planets Laboratory, Hazen pioneered the concept of mineral evolution—linking an explosion in mineral diversity to the rise of life on Earth—and developed the idea of mineral ecology—which analyzes the spatial distribution of the planet’s minerals to predict those that remain undiscovered and to assert Earth’s mineralogical distinctiveness in the cosmos. 

From 2009 through 2019 Hazen was also the Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, an integrated, multidisciplinary project dedicated to probing the chemical and biological roles of carbon in Earth’s interior. He is the author of more than 20 books on science, history, and music, most recently Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything

“In the 15 years since the IMA’s Medal for Excellence was created, Carnegie geoscientists have twice been selected for this honor—former Geophysical Laboratory Director Charles Prewitt as the inaugural recipient and now Bob as the 11th,” said Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson. “Bob’s contributions to our knowledge of Earth’s mineral history are part of our longstanding legacy of scientific excellence and will continue to influence generations of scientists.”

The Carnegie Institution for Science ( is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with three research divisions on both coasts. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in the life and environmental sciences, Earth and planetary science, and astronomy and astrophysics.