Carnegie Science Celebrates Centennial at AGU Fall Meeting

AGU Looking Up the Stairs
Stairs at the AGU conference celebrate 100 years of innovation and discovery in Earth and planetary science.
Friday, December 20, 2019 

Carnegie Science had a commanding presence at the 2019 annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of AGU this year. Scientists from the Geophysical Laboratory, DTM, and the Department of Global Ecology presented more than 50 talks and posters on groundbreaking research in the fields of ecology, planetary science, geochemistry, geophysics, and cosmochemistry. AGU marked its centennial meeting with a series of topical lectures that kicked off with the subject “Accretion of the Earth” where Geophysical Lab staff scientist Anat Shahar provided the opening summary talk followed by short flash talks where three of the four speakers were former GL or DTM alumni.

In addition to the presentations, eight Carnegie scientists and alumni received awards from AGU this year.  Awardees included former postdoc Richard Walker, who received the esteemed Harry H. Hess Medal, one of AGU's highest honors, for his insights into Earth and solar system formation and evolution. Alumni Graham Pearson and Marion Garcon received the two awards presented by the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology section while Sergey Lobanov and Kathryn Kumamoto received early career awards from the Mineral and Rock Physics section.  Among this year's newly inducted AGU fellows were four Carnegie scientists or alumni, including James Farquhar (alumnus), Robert Hazen, Graham Pearson (alumnus), and Mike Walter.

AGU 2019 Awards Ceremony-5

Michael Walter is inducted into the 2019 class of AGU Fellows. Click above to view the full 2019 AGU Honors Tribute photo album. 

It's not surprising that Carnegie Science had such a strong showing at AGU when you consider the history of the two organizations. Aligned in our missions, the AGU and Carnegie Science worked together over the last century to promote and encourage research and discovery with the shared goal of applying that science to the benefit of humankind. 

AGU's first CEO was John Fleming, who performed this job while still working as a staff scientist at DTM. Further, Louis Bauer, who was the first director of DTM, and Henry Washington, who was a staff scientist at GL, were two of AGU's first four Presidents. Cementing the connection, AGU's premier journal, the Journal of Geophysical Research, began as the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism's journal –aptly named Terrestrial Magnetism – which DTM published until 1959.

Eric Isaacs speaks to the attendees of the 2019 AGU Carnegie Science alumni reception.

Eric Isaacs speaks to current and former Carnegie scientists at the AGU Carnegie Science alumni reception. Click the above to view the full album. 

Speaking to current Carnegie scientists and alumni who gathered to celebrate this history at the AGU Fall Meeting, Eric Isaacs, President of Carnegie Science, affirmed, "For a century, Carnegie scientists have been fulfilling these interconnected missions, through research that has transformed the ways in which we understand Earth and space."

Isaacs continued to explain how that powerful connection continues to this day, "From Robert Hazen's leadership of the Deep Carbon Observatory to our role as a Founder Institution of the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Carnegie Institution and our scientists are acknowledged for our boldness, independence, and talent."

The AGU Fall Meeting celebrated our achievements and history, and it was also an opportunity to look forward. An overriding theme of interdisciplinary research and communication ran throughout all aspects of the conference. As Carnegie Science continues to cultivate a culture of collaboration in research with projects like the Deep Carbon Observatory and Habitable Worlds, Carnegie scientists are sure to be at the forefront of scientific discovery to both improve life on this planet and to better understand our world and its place in the universe.