Pahroc Range in Nevada

MINERAL AND ROCK PHYSICS EARLY CAREER AWARD

Information on the Award

The Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award is presented annually and recognizes outstanding contributions by an early-career scientist in the broadly defined area of mineral and rock physics. The nominee’s work may be experimental, computational, theoretical, or a combination. Successful nominees must be within 10 years of receiving their Ph.D. or highest terminal degree.
Smooth onyx surface

Award Benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our section honorees. Recipients of the Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award will receive the following benefits with the honor:
  • 1
    Award certificate
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    $500 monetary prize

Eligibility

To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • The nominee is required to be an active AGU member.
  • The nominee must be primarily affiliated with the Mineral and Rock Physics section.
  • The nominee must be within 10 years of receiving their Ph.D. or highest terminal degree. Exceptions to this requirement due to unusual circumstances may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the committee.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be candidates for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award Committee members;
    • All full-time AGU staff; and
    • AGU Fellows.

  • Nominators are not required to hold an active AGU membership.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be nominators for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be supporters for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

The following relationships need to be identified and communicated to the Award Committee but will not disqualify individuals from participating in the nomination or committee review process. These apply to committee members, nominators, and supporters:

  • Current dean, departmental chair, supervisor, supervisee, laboratory director, an individual with whom one has a current business or financial relationship (e.g., business partner, employer, employee);
  • Research collaborator or co-author within the last three years; and/or
  • An individual working at the same institution or having accepted a position at the same institution.

Individuals with the following relationships are disqualified from participating in the award nomination process as a nominator or supporter:

  • Family member, spouse, or partner.
  • A previous graduate (Master’s or Ph.D.) and/or postdoctoral advisor, or post-doctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
  • A former doctoral or graduate student, or a former postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter for a former advisor but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
Glacier with sea and mountains in background

Nomination Package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. Learn how to successfully submit a nomination package or read our guide on how to submit a successful nomination.

  • A nomination letter that states how the nominee meets the selection criteria. It should include details about significant contributions in the broadly defined area of mineral and rock physics. Nominator’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required, and letterhead is preferred.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee.
  • A selected bibliography stating the total number, the types of publications and the number published by AGU.
  • Up to three copies of the nominee's published or preprint manuscripts, which illustrate the nominee’s quality of work.
  • Three letters of support. Supporter’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required, and letterhead is preferred. We encourage letters from individuals not currently or recently associated with the candidate’s institution of graduate education or employment.

Submission Process

Submissions are reviewed by the Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award Committee. Nominations should be submitted online.
SUBMIT
Barite mineral stone

Recipients

Melodie E French

2022

Takayuki Ishii

2021

Marco Maria Scuderi

2020

Citation

It is my great privilege to honor Dr. Sergey S. Lobanov as the recipient of the 2019 Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) Early Career Award. Sergey earned his Ph.D. from the Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy (Novosibirsk, Russia) in 2011 and then moved to the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., as a postdoctoral associate (2012) and a research scientist (2015) to work in my spectroscopy laboratory on the optical properties of planetary materials at high-pressure/temperature conditions. Shortly after moving to Stony Brook University in 2017, where he worked with Prof. John Parise, Sergey received a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Leaders Award to build his own laboratory at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany. Through challenging optical experiments at combined conditions of high pressure and temperature, Sergey identified the mechanisms of light absorption in the mantle and showed that mantle minerals are very opaque at core–mantle boundary conditions. His findings answer a nearly 60-year-long question about the importance of radiative heat transport in the mantle. By identifying specific spectroscopic signatures associated with spin transitions in iron-bearing minerals at mantle conditions, Sergey offered a new recipe to determine the mantle spin state as a function of depth. Another area of his research interests includes the physical and chemical transformation of carbon-bearing minerals and fluids in planetary mantles. After joining GFZ, Sergey constructed a new laboratory for spectroscopic measurements at extreme conditions, and I cannot wait to see the new and exciting results coming out from his research group. Congratulations, Sergey, on your achievements and on your truly deserved award! —Alexander F. Goncharov, Washington, D.C.

Response

I am honored to receive the 2019 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award and would like to express my deepest gratitude to the AGU MRP section for recognizing my scientific endeavors. I am particularly grateful to Alexander F. Goncharov, who was my postdoc advisor and is a valuable colleague. Alex is by far the most influential figure I have ever worked with. During my time in the Geophysical Lab, he introduced me to the field of high-pressure mineral physics and taught me how to design and perform very challenging experiments. Alex not only has tremendous spectroscopic expertise but also is an endless source of inspiration, creative ideas, and enthusiasm. Where normal humans receive a negative response on a paper and fall into despair, Alex gets excited, beams optimism, and starts new experiments to support the initial research, generating more ideas along the way. This circle is fun to watch but, most important, it promotes discovery and is truly scientific. Alex has contributed greatly to the MRP community and I feel extremely fortunate to be one of his mentees. I would also like to thank my nominators, the colleagues at Carnegie, Stony Brook University, and GFZ for their friendliness and help, as well as my daughter and wife for being an inspiration and endless source of support. —Sergey S. Lobanov, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

Zhu Mao will receive the 2018 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018, to be held 10–14 December in Washington, D. C. The award is given to early-career scientists “in recognition of outstanding contributions in the broadly defined area of mineral and rock physics.”

 

Citation

It is a great privilege to recognize Dr. Zhu Mao as the recipient of the 2018 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Zhu earned her B.S. at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2009 working under my direction. Following her Ph.D., Zhu was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas with Prof. Jung-Fu Lin and at University of California, Los Angeles with Prof. Abby Kavner. Since 2013, she has been a full professor in the School of Earth and Space Sciences at USTC in Hefei, China.

Zhu’s research on high-pressure elasticity, spin transitions, phase transitions, and equations of state of mantle and core materials is at the leading edge of current research in mineral and rock physics. In a series of papers, she characterized how the presence of hydrogen can affect the elastic properties of olivine polymorphs, and she used these results to better understand the role of water in the Earth’s mantle. Zhu has also pioneered advances in characterizing the complex spin-pairing transitions in ferropericlase, bridgmanite, and postperovskite under deep mantle conditions and explored their geophysical implications. Since joining the faculty of USTC, Zhu has continued to produce groundbreaking research in high-pressure mineralogy as well as being an outstanding mentor to students at all levels. Congratulations, Zhu, on this very well deserved award!

—Thomas S. Duffy, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Response

It is my great honor to receive the 2018 MRP Early Career Award. I’d like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Thomas S. Duffy, who guided me to the field of high-pressure mineral physics. Tom taught me a lot about how to do research and high-pressure experiments, inspired me to explore the big problems of the Earth, and gave me the chance to work on water circulation in the Earth’s deep interior and the elasticity of mantle minerals at extreme conditions. I also feel very lucky to have worked at the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Prof. Jung-Fu Lin as a postdoctoral researcher. Jung-Fu Lin offered me great opportunities to work on a variety of challenging topics. A number of works have been inspired by my long-standing collaboration with Jung-Fu Lin. I am very grateful to Abby Kavner, who has created a stress-free environment for me to work on the circulation of carbon in the Earth’s mantle.

After I moved back to China, I received enormous support from the School of Earth and Space Sciences at USTC. It will not be possible to set up an amazing high-pressure laboratory without support from USTC.

Finally, I’d like to thank my husband and my son, who are the strongest supporters of my career. I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Thanks to the nominators and the MRP section for this award.

—Zhu Mao, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui

Lowell Miyagi will receive the 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given to an early-career scientist “in recognition of outstanding contributions in the broadly defined area of mineral and rock physics.”

 

Citation

The Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) focus group of AGU is privileged to honor Dr. Lowell Miyagi as the recipient of the 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Lowell earned a B.A. at Oberlin College and his Ph.D. from Berkeley working with Rudy Wenk. Following his Ph.D., Lowell moved to Yale University as a Bateman Postdoctoral Fellow, where he collaborated with Shun Karato and Kanani Lee. Lowell is currently an assistant professor at the University of Utah.

Lowell’s research on deformation and texture development in deep Earth mineral phases, and the consequences for seismic anisotropy and dynamics, is at the forefront of rock and mineral physics. In a series of papers, Lowell has produced important experimental results on the deformation of major mineral phases in Earth’s transition zone, lower mantle, and core. In collaborations with seismologists and geodynamicists, he has contributed outstanding insights interpreting geophysical observations in the context of deformation mineral physics. Lowell’s stellar research and service establish him as not just a leader among early-career scientists but also a leader throughout all of mineral and rock physics. Congratulations, Lowell, on this well-deserved award!

—Andy Campbell, University of Chicago, and President, Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, AGU

Response

Thank you for these kind words. It is an honor to receive the MRP Early Career Award. I am grateful to the MRP section and my nominators for this recognition. I would not be where I am if not for superb mentors along the way. I was fortunate to discover my interest in rock deformation at Oberlin, where I studied fault rocks with Steve Wojital. I likely would not have pursued this career path without this experience. I am grateful to my Ph.D. advisor, Rudy Wenk, who taught me so much about plasticity and texture and whose enthusiasm and insight continue to inspire me. I am indebted to Sébastien Merkel and Sergio Speziale, who as postdocs took the time to teach me to use the diamond anvil cell and synchrotron diffraction. As a Bateman Fellow, my interactions with Kanani Lee and Shun Karato gave me a much deeper understanding of mineral physics and rheology. From Dave Mogk at Montana State University I gained a greater appreciation for teaching and pedagogy. I hope I have become not only a better teacher but a better student as well.

At the University of Utah I have had the pleasure of working with remarkable colleagues who support me and students who continue to challenge and inspire me. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the Rock and Mineral Physics group at the University of Utah; their congeniality and creativity make the lab a wonderful place. To my many collaborators around the world, I could not accomplish what I have without your help.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support. In particular, my wife and children bring joy and balance to my life, and somehow they put up with my many trips abroad and to the synchrotron.

—Lowell Miyagi, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Heather M. Savage will receive the 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for promising young scientists in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research.

 

Citation

The Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) focus group of the American Geophysical Union is privileged to honor Dr. Heather Savage as the recipient of the 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Heather earned her master’s degree from University of Massachusetts–Amherst working with Michele Cooke, and her Ph.D. from Penn State University working with Chris Marone. Following her Ph.D., Heather moved to University of California, Santa Cruz as the NSF-MARGINS postdoctoral fellow, where she collaborated with Emily Brodsky. Heather is currently Lamont Associate Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Heather’s research on friction, dynamic earthquake triggering, and the structure and properties of faults is at the forefront of rock physics. Her approach to earthquake science includes a dizzying array of topics and methods, including deformation experiments, field observations, and (remarkably) organic geochemistry. Over her brief career, Heather has mentored numerous outstanding postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates, and in doing so has single-handedly changed the gender balance in the rock physics community. Heather’s stellar research and service have made her not just a leader among early-career scientists, but a leader throughout all of mineral and rock physics. Congratulations, Heather, on this well-deserved award!

—Phil Skemer, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo., and President, Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, AGU

Response

I am profoundly honored to receive this year’s Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) Early Career Award, thank you to my nominators and the MRP focus group. Many people have helped me along the way, and I am especially grateful to my advisors from various stages in my career. Michele Cooke taught me the essentials of brittle deformation in the field and her strong encouragement started me down my current path. From Chris Marone I learned everything I know about friction, the joys and frustrations of experimental work, and that bringing a box of doughnuts to the lab generates a lot of goodwill. Emily Brodsky somehow crammed a lifetime of knowledge into my 3-year postdoc, most importantly that I shouldn’t shy away from big questions even if I don’t yet possess the tools to answer them.

Since arriving at Lamont, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing students, postdocs, and colleagues. Specifically, I want to acknowledge the Lamont Rock Mechanics group, past and present. These very special people make our lab a very happy place. One of the most important and enjoyable aspects of science is collaboration. It is the only way to move in truly new directions and make valuable breakthroughs. My many wonderful collaborators, near and far, have continually pushed me out of my comfort zone, and as a result have made me a better scientist.

Finally, I want to thank my wonderful family and friends for their unwavering support.

—Heather M. Savage, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.

Nicolas Brantut will receive the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for promising young scientists in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research.

 

Citation

The Mineral and Rock Physics focus group of the American Geophysical Union is pleased to honor Dr. Nicolas Brantut as the recipient of the 2015 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Nicolas earned his master’s and Ph.D. from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 2010, working with Professor Alexandre Schubnel, Professor Yves Guéguen, and Professor Toshihiko Shimamoto (at Kyoto University). Following his Ph.D., Nicolas moved to University College London (UCL), where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Philip Meredith. Nicolas’s research has ranged from experimental studies to complementary theoretical advances. Over his short career, he has made several important contributions to our understanding of fracture and friction and has shown in elegant ways how mineral chemistry and physics interact during coseismic deformation. At the present time Nicolas is completing a prestigious Natural Environment Research Council research fellowship, after which he will accept a faculty appointment at UCL. Congratulations, Nicolas!

—Philip A. Skemer, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Mo.

Response

I am deeply honored to receive this year’s Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. I would like to thank my Ph.D. adviser, Alexandre Schubnel, for setting me up on a great research topic, his invaluable insight, and his patience with me. I am also grateful to Yves Guéguen, who made me discover rock physics during his fantastic lectures at École Normale Supérieure (ENS), and to Toshi Shimamoto for his support during my visits in his laboratory in Kyoto and then Hiroshima. I have had the immense luck to study and then work at ENS in Paris, where I received a high-level, free education and found an incomparable research environment and a friendly atmosphere.

My research is multidisciplinary and collaborative, and in the past few years I have been involved in a number of projects in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. I would like to acknowledge the strong support I have received from everyone I have worked (and continue to work) with. In particular, I am forever thankful to Jim Rice, who welcomed me in his group at a critical time after my Ph.D. and from whom I learned a lot despite the short time allowed. A special mention goes to Phil Meredith, who gave me total freedom during my postdoc with him and who continues to support me in a variety of ways (including understanding the arcane details of the British culture and research system).

This Early Career Award is a mark of trust and an encouragement for future work, and it gives me further motivation to do the best possible work in the coming years.

—Nicolas Brantut, University College London, London, U.K.

Arianna Gleason received the 2014 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for promising young scientists (current Ph.D. students and individuals who have completed the degree requirements for a Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree up to 12 months prior to the nomination deadline) in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research.

 

Citation

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group is pleased to present the first Early Career Award to Arianna Gleason. Following her undergraduate years at the University of Arizona, she was a Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES) intern at the Advanced Light Source of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2004–2005. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of California at Berkeley under the supervision of Professor Raymond Jeanloz. From 2010 to 2013, Arianna was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University working in the research group of Professor Wendy Mao. She is now a research associate at Stanford and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Arianna Gleason is an exceptionally bright young researcher working at the cutting edge of multidisciplinary mineral physics. She

is making seminal contributions to two frontiers of high-pressure experimentation: static compression diamond-anvil cell and dynamic compression laser shock measurements. She is conducting pioneering high-pressure mineral physics research using shock compression performed at the Linac Coherent Light Source at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Jupiter Laser Facility at Livermore National Laboratory, and facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Congratulations, Arianna!

—Bob C. Liebermann, Mineral Physics Institute, Stony Brook University, N.Y.

Response

I am extremely honored to receive this award and grateful to the Mineral and Rock Physics section of AGU for its recognition of my efforts and accomplishments. My interest in mineral physics sprang from an X-ray diffraction project with Professor Bob Downs at the University of Arizona (U of A) on chalcopyrite during my undergraduate studies, and I cultivated a commitment to careful scientific research and discovery with the Spacewatch Project at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, U of A. I feel fortunate to have found a field that I am truly excited about and am proud to contribute to planetary sciences and mineral physics.

For my accomplishments in high-pressure research, I owe much gratitude to a number of professors and scientists at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and Stanford University for their guidance and support during my graduate and postdoctoral studies. In particular, I am indebted to my Ph.D. advisor, Raymond Jeanloz, at UCB for his invaluable teaching and my inspiring postdoctoral advisor, Wendy Mao, at Stanford University. Progress in mineral physics often relies on a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach; therefore, I am very fortunate to have so many great mentors and enthusiastic and experienced colleagues. In particular, I would like to thank Cindy Bolme at Los Alamos National Laboratory and collaborators in High Energy Density Physics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Matter in Extreme Conditions staff at the Linac Coherent Light Source, SLAC, and staff at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. The support from my family and friends has been invaluable to my journey as a scientist—I dedicate this award to my late mother and grandfather.

—Arianna E. Gleason, Los Alamos National Laboratory and SLAC National Laboratory, Stanford University, Menlo Park, Calif.

Honors Contacts

AGU Staff Headshot Rosa Maymi

Rosa Maymi

Director, Engagement and Membership

202-777-7322 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Hannah Hoffman

Honors and Affiliation Program Coordinator

202-777-7515 | [email protected]