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Section Awards and Lectures

Recognizing outstanding work

AGU sections recognize the outstanding work of individuals in their scientific discipline every year by hosting nearly 30 named lecture presentations and presenting more than 40 awards and prizes. Awardees are chosen for their meritorious work or service toward the advancement and promotion of Earth and space sciences. These individuals, in various career stages, represent some of the most innovative minds in their disciplines.

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Nominations are Open!

The nomination cycle for 2023 AGU Section awards is now open until 12 April at 23:59 ET. Nominate a colleague, peer or student today.
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Section awards and lectures

This section is responsible for fostering atmospheric and space electricity science within AGU. It is also charged with building interdisciplinary interaction and educating AGU members about the nature and importance of problems and issues in atmospheric and space electricity.

The Atmospheric and Space Electricity Section supports the Benjamin Franklin lecture to recognize outstanding scientists and an early career award.

The Atmospheric Sciences Section studies the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere. One of the most critical issues that section members are studying today, along with colleagues in other sections, is global climate change.

The Atmospheric Sciences Section offers a total of three awards and three lectures:

The Biogeosciences Section emphasizes linkages between biological sciences and geophysical sciences fundamental to study of the Earth and other planets. The research areas encompassed within the section include biogeochemistry, biogeophysics, astrobiology, and planetary scale ecosystem science.

The section established the following awards and lectures:

The Cryosphere Section encompasses the scientific study of the portion of the Earth’s surface where water is in a solid form; this includes ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, freshwater ice, snow, and frozen ground (or permafrost).

The section supports the Cryosphere Early Career Award and the John F. Nye Lecture.

The Education Section was established to provide a transdisciplinary home and voice for educators and education researchers, enhancing connectivity across all of the Earth and space sciences by providing educational expertise, scholarship, and partnership development with other organizations and the public. It catalyzes and shapes Earth and space science education activities to develop a diverse Earth and space science talent pool, improve global scientific literacy, and increase access to scholarship and collaboration in Earth and space education research and practice.

This section has established the Dorothy LaLonde Stout Education Lecture

The Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Section focuses on the full range of processes — including anthropogenic — that generate, erode, and measure landscapes, that generate stratigraphy, and that couple the internal dynamics of the surface to climatic and tectonic forcings.

The section offers the following awards and lectures:

The Geodesy Section focuses on the study of the geometrical, structural, and gravitational properties of the Earth, their time evolution, and the dynamic interactions of the solid Earth with other physical components of the Earth system (atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and the core), at a wide range of temporal and spatial scales.

This section established the following awards and one lecture:

The GeoHealth Section of AGU aims to nurture transdisciplinary collaborations in order to advance our understanding of the complex interactions between our geospheric environment (including earth, water, soils and air) and the health, well-being, and continued progress of human populations in concert with all ecosystems. Combining expertise across the geo- and health sciences will facilitate advancement toward a healthier and more sustainable future. GeoHealth is broadly defined to fully encompass the expansive spectrum that covers earth and climate dynamics, exposure risks, and health impacts.

This section has established the GeoHealth Section Award.

Members of the Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism and Electromagnetism Section study the magnetic field, from Earth’s core to other planets and to outer space, to gain an understanding of Earth’s structure, dynamics, history and its relationship to other planets.

The section offers the Gilbert Award and the Edward Bullard Lecture.

The Global Environmental Change Section addresses large-scale chemical, biological, geological, and physical perturbations of the Earth’s surface, ocean, land surface, and hydrologic cycle with special attention to time scales of decades to centuries, to human-caused perturbations, and their impacts on society.

This section supports the following awards and lectures:

The Hydrology Section is focused on the cycling of continental water (solid, liquid and vapor) at all scales, and with physical, chemical and biological processes driven by that cycling.

The section supports the following awards and lectures:

The Informatics Section serves to facilitate communications and coordinate activities related to issues of data management and analysis, large-scale computational experimentation and modeling, and the hardware and software infrastructure needs to span the range of scientific topics of interest to the Union.

It established the Greg Leptoukh Lecture to recognize outstanding scientists.

The Mineral and Rock Physics Section fosters a focus on the properties of the Earth’s materials and their current physical state and chemical makeup as well as the processes that have governed their evolution.

The section has established three awards to recognize outstanding current Ph.D. students and early career scientists: John C. Jamieson Student Paper Award, Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award, and the Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award.

The Natural Hazards Section fosters a focus within AGU on studies of geophysical hazards, including droughts, earthquakes, fires, flooding, heat waves, landslides, space weather, storms, tsunamis, volcanoes, impact by near-Earth objects, and related events.

The section supports the following awards and lectures:

The Near-Surface Geophysics Section focuses on the development and application of any and all geophysical methods to study the near-surface region of the Earth, to advance the fundamental science of geophysical imaging (data acquisition, inversion, interpretation), and to address key questions about subsurface properties and processes.

The section offers the Near-Surface Geophysics Early Career Achievement Award.

The Nonlinear Geophysics Section focuses on quantifying nonlinear behavior through analysis of geophysical data and modeling using the mathematical tools and approaches of fractals, chaos, scaling, critical phenomenon, nucleation, cellular automata, and self-organizing and complex systems.

The section offers the Donald L. Turcotte Award and the Ed Lorenz Lecture.

The Ocean Sciences Section engages members primarily affiliated with biological oceanography, marine geochemistry, marine geology and geophysics, physical oceanography, and ocean sciences.

The section established the following awards and lectures:

The Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Section focuses on understanding the past conditions and dynamics of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere and their interactions.

The section offers the following awards and one lecture:

AGU’s Planetary Sciences Section encompasses basic research into the nature of planets and how they work, as well as the planning and implementation of space missions for exploration and discovery.

This section established the following awards and lectures:

The AGU Science and Society (SY) section works to (1) support and grow a community that actively facilitates stronger connections between societies and Earth and space sciences and (2) foster innovation within AGU that better enables discoveries and solutions in the geosciences to benefit humanity.

This section has established the Science and Society Team Award

Seismology Section members use seismic waves to study how earthquake faults rupture and to prove Earth’s internal structure from the surface to the core.

The section has established the Keiiti Aki Early Career Award, the Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service and the Beno Gutenberg Lecture.

The Study of the Earth's Deep Interior is dedicated to understanding the internal structure of the Earth (and other bodies) at depths inaccessible by direct sampling.

The section established the Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Section Award for Graduate Research.

The Tectonophysics Section is interested in geodynamic processes and deformation from the scale of individual crystals to mantle convection and plate tectonics through the study of rock mechanics, mineral physics, seafloor geology and morphology, continental marine tectonics and structural geology, and the thermal regime and mass balance of the Earth.

The section established the Jason Morgan Early Career Award, the Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service and the Francis Birch Lecture.

The Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section has an interest in studying and mitigating the hazards of volcanoes and its work has a direct bearing on public safety and the preservation of life.

The section supports the following awards and lectures:

Announcing our 2022 awardees

Ninety-three distinguished scientists have been selected for section awards or named lectures.
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Section awards timeline

18 January

Section Awards nomination period opens.

12 April

Section Awards nomination period closes.

17 May -30 June

Section Award selection committees review nomination packages.

7 July

Section Award selection committees recommendation reports due.

14 July -21 July

Section Presidents reviewing Section Award Committees recommendation reports

21 July

Deadline for Section Presidents to approve recommendations for the 2023 Section Award recipients.

TBD September

The 2023 Section Award and Lecture recipients are announced.

11 -15 December

Recognition at AGU Fall Meeting