American Geophysical Union Announces Recipients of the 2017 Union Medals, Awards and Prizes

Twenty-nine individuals celebrated for their contributions to science and society.

20 July 2017

*Editor’s Note: The 2017 Bowie Medal was not awarded by the AGU Board.

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has selected its 2017 class of medalists, awardees, and prize recipients. Twenty-nine individuals are recognized this year for their dedication to science for the benefit of humanity and their achievements in Earth and space science.

The recipients represent many areas of Earth and space science and come from a variety of backgrounds including early career researchers, climate scientists, data scientists, and journalists. Their passion, vision, creativity, and leadership have helped to expand scientific understanding, pave the way to new research directions, and have made Earth and space science accessible, relevant, and inspiring to audiences across the scientific community and general public. The honorees will be recognized during the Honors Tribute at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, 13 December 2017, in New Orleans.

“This year’s awardees exemplify AGU’s commitment to advancing excellence and rigor in scientific research, education, and communication,” said Eric Davidson, AGU President. “I offer my congratulations and thanks to this esteemed group of individuals who are making the world a better place through their devotion to scientific discovery and outreach.”


William Bowie Medal

*Thomas H. Jordan, Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California

James B. Macelwane Medal

Robert E. Kopp, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Michael P. Lamb, California Institute of Technology
Yan Lavallée, University of Liverpool
Wen Li, Boston University and University of California Los Angeles
Tiffany A. Shaw, The University of Chicago

John Adam Fleming Medal

Mary K. Hudson, Dartmouth College

Maurice Ewing Medal

Donald W. Forsyth, Brown University

Robert E. Horton Medal

Eric F. Wood, Princeton University

Harry H. Hess Medal

Roberta L. Rudnick, University of California Santa Barbara

Roger Revelle Medal

Kevin E. Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Inge Lehmann Medal

Brian L. N. Kennett, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

Devendra Lal Medal

S.K. Satheesh, Indian Institute of Science



Africa Awards for Research Excellence in Earth/Ocean Science

Bruno V. E. Faria, National Meteorological and Geophysics Institute

Africa Awards for Research Excellence in Space Science 

Melessew Nigussie, Washera Geospace and Radar Science Research Lab., Bahir Dar University

Ambassador Awards

Jean Marie Bahr, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert A. Duce, Texas A&M University
Richard C.J. Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University California, San Diego

Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism

Richard Monastersky, Nature 

Edward A. Flinn III Award

Robert L. Wesson, U.S. Geological Survey

Excellence in Earth and Space Sciences Education Award

Thure E. Cerling, University of Utah
James R. Ehleringer, University of Utah

Charles S. Falkenberg Award

Hook Hua, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Athelstan Spilhaus Award

Erik Meade Conway, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

International Award

Hubert H. G. Savenije, Delft University of Technology

Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – Features

Tony Bartelme, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)

David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – News Award

Courtney Humphries, Freelance, Boston, Mass.


The Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize

Michael Strasser, University of Innsbruck           

Climate Communications Prize

Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


Eric A. Davidson, AGU President, and Samuel B. Mukasa, Chair, Honors and Recognition Committee
Email: [email protected]
Learn more about the AGU Honors program.

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing nearly 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and AGU’s other social media channels.


AGU Contact:

 Contact: Joshua Speiser, 1+ 202-777-7444, [email protected]