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William Gilbert Award

Information on the Award

The William Gilbert Award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets, including geomagnetism, paleomagnetism, and electromagnetism. In even numbered years, the award is given to a junior researcher; in odd number years, candidates of all ages are eligible.
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Award Benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism section honorees. Recipients of the William Gilbert Award will receive the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    Award plaque
  • 2
    Award certificate
  • 3
    Recognition in Eos
  • 4
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


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.
  • In even numbered years, the nominee must be either 36 years of age or younger or no more than five years out from the completion of their Ph.D. prior to December 31. Exceptions may be made due to extenuating circumstances, such as parental leave.
  • In odd numbered years, nominees of all ages are eligible.
  • Nominees must display excellence in scientific rigor, originality and impact; leadership and service to the geomagnetism, paleomagnetism and electromagnetism research community; or development of new cross-disciplinary research areas and methods.
  • 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;
    • Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism section leadership;
    • William Gilbert Award Committee members;
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Nominators are 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;
    • Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism section leadership;
    • William Gilbert 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;
    • Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism section leadership;
    • William Gilbert 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 postdoctoral 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.
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Nomination Package

Watch our tutorial on successfully submitting a nomination package or read our how-to guide.

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document.

  • A nomination letter that states how the nominee meets the selection criteria, including a one sentence citation. The letter should include details about excellence in scientific rigor, originality and impact; leadership and service to the geomagnetism, paleomagnetism and electromagnetism research community; or development of new cross-disciplinary research areas and methods.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee.
  • Between three and five letters of support. Supporter’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required and letterhead is preferred.

Submission Process

Nominations should be submitted online by 11:59 pm ET on 12 April 2023.

Submissions are reviewed by the William Gilbert Award Committee.

Looking out over cold snowy mountains from a plane


Kenneth P Kodama



We recognize Prof. Courtney Sprain for “outstanding contributions to geochronology including radiometric and paleomagnetic methods to solve persistent problems in the Earth sciences.” Her research focuses on a better understanding of important aspects of Earth’s evolution, ranging from the origin and nature of deep interior processes to ones that have affected Earth’s surface and life on it. She represents the best of us in her highly integrative and creative research and her generous and collegial approach to science. As a graduate student, Sprain knit together paleomagnetic and radiometric approaches to geochronology, working on the famous Hell Creek Formation in Montana. This formation has the last traces of dinosaurs and the first sniff of mammals spanning the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. Magnetostratigraphic constraints provide only the crude estimate that the extinction happened in a reverse polarity chron (C29r), which is over a million years long. Sprain analyzed many tephra layers intercalated with the fossiliferous sediments, providing the highest-resolution look to date at what happened during this fascinating period of time. The benefit of combining magnetostratigraphy and Ar-Ar dating was further illustrated in her work on the Deccan Traps in India. Sprain was able, through high-resolution dating, to demonstrate that most of the Deccan Traps really blasted off (literally) in response to the Chicxulub impact. She further argued that Late Cretaceous records of climate change coincided with the eruption of the early phases of the traps (before the boundary) and that the Deccan was not the source of Late Cretaceous climate change. During her postdoctoral years, Sprain added more to her tool kit in a groundbreaking new analysis of a challenging subject in paleomagnetism/geomagnetism: numerical geodynamo simulations. This is a tricky business, because the domain in which the numerical models operate cannot (yet) achieve Earth-like conditions. Nonetheless, Sprain and coauthors found models that do produce Earth-like field behavior, allowing us to simulate long-term geomagnetic field behavior and gain a greater understanding of Earth’s core and its evolution. Moreover, Courtney expanded the opportunities for providing high-quality paleointensity records by demonstrating the potential of clinker deposits. This kind of investigation is critical to the future study of the behavior of Earth’s ancient field strength, as the current database is dominated by results from materials that are less than ideal. In summary, Prof. Courtney J. Sprain is a superb candidate for the William Gilbert Award, and the community celebrates her recognition. —Lisa Tauxe, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.; and John Geissman, University of Texas at Dallas


I am extremely honored to receive the 2022 William Gilbert Award. Over the past 10+ years, the Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism (GPE) community has felt like a second family. I know I would not be where I am today without the community’s continued support, mentorship, and friendship. I have so many people to thank, starting with all the members of the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM). I was extremely fortunate to get involved with IRM as an undergraduate student through a research position with Josh Feinberg (in collaboration with John Geissman). Josh was a wonderful adviser, and he’s continued to be a great mentor. Other IRM members also provided substantial support, including Julie Bowles, Bruce Moskowitz, Mike Jackson, Peter Solheid, Beck Strauss, Max Brown, Dario Bilardello, and Nick Swanson-Hysell, among others. Since my time as an undergraduate, IRM has welcomed me back on numerous occasions, and I am beyond grateful for their continued support and guidance. I’d also like to thank my Ph.D. adviser, Paul Renne, who has been a great mentor and allowed me to continue my passion for paleomagnetism while teaching me the fundamentals of 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. In addition, I’d like to thank Nick Swanson-Hysell, who during my time at Berkeley welcomed me into his group where I was surrounded by others, like Nick, Sonia Tikoo-Schantz, and Sarah Slotznick, who shared my enthusiasm for paleomagnetism. I also need to thank everyone from the Geomagnetism Laboratory at the University of Liverpool, including Andy Biggin, Greig Paterson, Richard Bono, Annique van der Boon, Yael Engbers, Daniele Thallner, Michael Grappone, Louise Hawkins, Simon Lloyd, Ben Handford, Domenico Meduri, Elliot Hurst, and honorary member Chris Davies, among others. Andy, thank you so much for hiring me as your postdoc—I loved my time in Liverpool. At the University of Florida (UF), I’m very fortunate to have been hired into a legacy of excellence in paleomagnetism following in the footsteps of Neil Opdyke, Jim Channell, and Joe Meert. I’m so grateful to be here and to continue the tradition of UF paleomagnetic research with Joe Meert and Rob Hatfield. Finally, I need to thank my nominators and the committee for this award. Lisa, you have been a mentor to so many of us and an inspiration to many early-career paleomagnetists. John, I very literally owe my beginnings in paleomagnetism to you. Your kindness and support over the years have been greatly appreciated. —Courtney J. Sprain, University of Florida, Gainesville

Richard J Blakely

Honors Program

Roger R Fu


Suzanne A. McEnroe received the 2019 William Gilbert Award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019 Honors Ceremony, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.”



I am delighted that the AGU Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism (GPE) section has chosen Suzanne McEnroe to receive the 2019 William Gilbert Award. In her career, Suzanne has carried out groundbreaking fundamental research on magnetic anomaly sources in the crust, with implications that reach broadly throughout the Earth and planetary sciences. Her interest has been particularly focused on the significant negative, remanence-dominated magnetic anomalies that occur in various locations. Her careful analyses showed in multiple cases that this remanence originated primarily in crystals of the hematite-ilmenite series, containing abundant fine-scale exsolution structures. Although a few earlier studies had also reached this conclusion, they had not been able to explain the combination of very high magnetic stability and high magnetic intensity. The key insight from Suzanne and her collaborators was that the exsolution microstructures do not merely affect the properties of the host minerals, but are themselves the source of the strong and stable remanence, through a previously unknown interfacial ordering mechanism termed lamellar magnetism.

Two principal factors have propelled her continuing studies of these remanence sources to the forefront of mineral magnetic research: first, her comprehensive approach to characterization (using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, magnetic microscopy, Mössbauer spectroscopy, low-temperature high-field magnetometry, and theoretical modeling), and second, her initiative in developing and coordinating collaborations involving talented specialists in each of these techniques. Two brilliant series of papers have comprehensively illuminated the phenomenon of lamellar magnetism in hematite-ilmenite nanocomposites, as well as the complex chemical and magnetic ordering in metastable homogeneous mineral phases over the same range of bulk compositions. These papers collectively represent one of the greatest achievements in mineral and rock magnetism over the past 2 decades.

I am honored to congratulate Suzanne McEnroe, our 2019 William Gilbert Award recipient, for her leadership in research that has transformed our understanding of mineral magnetism, paleomagnetic field records, and geomagnetic field anomalies.

—Michael J. Jackson, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Saint Paul


I am honored to receive the William Gilbert Award from the AGU GPE section for my work on magnetic anomalies and mineral magnetism. Working to understand the nature and sources of magnetization from unusual magnetic anomalies at the kilometer scale led to scientific breakthroughs in mineral magnetism at the atomic scale. The anomaly hunt started when I was a postdoc and picked up a discarded paper on oxide mineralogy and anomalies in the Adirondack Mountains by Balsley and Buddington, who noted that the source of the negative anomalies was elusive. Reading this classic paper changed my scientific direction. I went to the Adirondacks, collected samples, and concluded that these magnetic anomalies could not be interpreted using traditional magnetic mineralogy concepts.

Work on remanent anomalies and mineralogy continued in Sweden, Norway, and Australia. To account for the bulk magnetization found in rocks where the source was ilmenite-hematite, a study of the interactions at micro and atomic scales was required. This led to the theory of lamellar magnetism, which required a change in our thinking from a bulk (volume) magnetization to a surface magnetization at interfaces, as in ilmenite-hematite exsolutions. This interface magnetization could result in a large remanent magnetization due to the fine scale of exsolution lamellae (from micrometer to nanometer size), providing an abundant surface magnetization. The next aspect was finding the nature of the coercivity of these mineral intergrowths. Tackling these questions required scientific collaborators from disciplines in mineralogy, physics, chemistry, and crystallography. I have been extraordinarily fortunate to work with highly talented scientists. I am very grateful for access to the Institute for Rock Magnetism, for rock-magnetic measurements, and to the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Germany for experimental work with Falko Langenhorst, Catherine McCammon, and Nobuyoshi Miyajima, and for my long-term collaborators Laurie Brown, Karl Fabian, Richard Harrison, and especially Peter Robinson. Peter was the giant and the cornerstone of all this research.

—Suzanne A. McEnroe, Institute of Geoscience and Petroleum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Lennart de Groot will receive the 2018 William Gilbert Award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018, to be held 10–14 December in Washington, D. C. The award recognizes “outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.”



It is my privilege to introduce Lennart de Groot as the 2018 recipient of the William Gilbert Award, in recognition of his important contributions to rock magnetism and paleomagnetism and their applications to geomagnetism.

Over the past decade, our community has seen a dramatic improvement in our ability to image the magnetization of individual grains at nanometer resolution under variable fields and temperatures, subjects that are at the very core of rock magnetism and paleomagnetism. Lennart’s recent research at Universiteit Utrecht involving the use of scanning SQUID and magnetic force microscopy places him at the forefront of this revolution in our field. Lennart stands out among this new generation of young researchers because of his efforts to make meaningful connections between observations at the nanometer scale and the paleodirectional and paleointensity recording behavior of bulk rock samples.

Lennart is also well known for his foundational work on multiprotocol paleointensity methods, including the “calibrated pseudo-Thellier” method, a nonthermal technique that allows researchers to obtain semiquantitative estimates of the geomagnetic field from most basalts. By grounding his comparative tests of different methods on a wide range of historical basalt flows that were erupted in known magnetic fields, Lennart has made an impressive amount of progress on the problem of obtaining reliable paleointensity estimates from volcanic rocks.

Beyond being an emerging leader in rock magnetism, Lennart has also demonstrated leadership and service to the geomagnetism, paleomagnetism, and electromagnetism (GPE) research community. From organizing successful international meetings and conference sessions to guest lecturing as part of the Institute for Rock Magnetism’s Summer School in Rock Magnetism, Lennart makes a genuine effort to give back to our community.

With outstanding young researchers such as Lennart, our discipline has a healthy and exciting future, and thus he is a superb choice for the 2018 William Gilbert Award.

—Joshua Feinberg, Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


I am truly honored to receive the 2018 William Gilbert Award. The early years of my career were shaped by numerous people in our GPE community; I am thankful to receive this recognition from them. I would like to explicitly mention my nominators, the committee, and, in particular, Josh Feinberg for his kind citation.

It was Cor Langereis who introduced me to paleomagnetism and guided me through my first research projects at Utrecht University’s paleomagnetic laboratory, Fort Hoofddijk. I am still grateful for the confidence he put in me and for his guidance on my path into academia.

At Fort Hoofddijk, I always felt encouraged to pursue my own ideas, even if they were off the beaten track. I am thankful for the freedom I was given by my advisers to venture into techniques that were never used before and to explore new and sometimes unconventional ideas. I could do this while I knew that Cor Langereis, Mark Dekkers, and Wout Krijgsman would always be there for advice and guidance. Also, the support and mentoring of the late Tom Mullender, a technician at Hoofddijk, has been important for my career. It was this supportive and safe academic environment that helped me to become the researcher I am now.

I regard this recognition as an encouragement to me, and to other young researchers in our section, to continue curiosity-driven research and make efforts to share new and exciting ideas in both formal and informal settings. I will do my best to continue to contribute to the open, welcoming, and encouraging atmosphere in our community that I experienced as an early-career researcher. Again, thank you to the GPE community for this recognition!

—Lennart de Groot, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

John R. Booker will receive the 2017 William Gilbert Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.”



The 2017 William Gilbert Award is given to Prof. John Booker in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to the Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism (GPE) community and of the impact of his work in elucidating lithospheric and mantle structure.

Prof. Booker has made diverse contributions to geophysics using electromagnetic (EM) methods, magnetotellurics (MT), in particular, as tools to illuminate the physical, chemical, and rheological state of the lithosphere. Over the course of his career, Prof. Booker has made important contributions in theory, methodology, application, and the implications for Earth processes. He led development of “the gold standard of EM data processing” and of inversion codes that have been freely distributed to the community and that have had enormous impact in the reduction and inversion of EM/MT data. In the early 1980s, he led the first large-scale community MT experiment, EMSLAB, which imaged the resistivity structure of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate and provided the first concrete evidence for sediment subduction and the accompanying release of dehydration fluids. Prof. Booker went on to be the instigator (and later principal investigator) of the first community-use MT instrument facility (EMSOC) that laid the groundwork for the incorporation of EM/MT into the National Science Foundation’s EarthScope program. Even while devoting incredible energy to bringing MT into the limelight as a major, and necessary, component of regional geophysical investigations, Prof. Booker’s own research program has been vibrant and active. The work from his group has continued to elucidate lithospheric and mantle structure, in particular, at compressional plate boundaries and along major transform faults. Finally, Prof. Booker has been a strong supporter of the GPE section and of students and junior scientists throughout his career.

—Catherine Johnson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


I feel very honored to be receiving the William Gilbert Award. My work in geomagnetism and EM geophysics began as a first-year grad student when I worked with one of the pioneers in this field, Ted Madden, who was then on sabbatical at Scripps. I then spent nearly 5 years working on time variations of Earth’s main field with George Backus, one of the truly outstanding scientists in our field. However, after my Ph.D., I was waylaid into fluid mechanics and seismology, and it was more than a decade later that my research on thermal convection confined me to a room with no windows. Lawrie Law of the Pacific Geoscience Center suggested that I should get back into geomagnetic induction, get out in the woods, and offered to loan me equipment.

I then had the great good fortune to have two extraordinary graduate students: Gary Egbert and Torquil Smith. It is they who deserve the real credit for the advances outlined in the citation that have had a major impact on magnetotellurics. EMSLAB came to be as result of serving on an NSF panel where I realized that to make real progress we would need a major community effort to justify increased funding for fieldwork and equipment. Colleagues including Alan Jones and Phil Wanamaker were very much responsible for the success of EMSLAB. This led to further projects in Tibet, on San Andreas Fault, and in Argentina, which all sharply increased the visibility of our field. I am no longer heavily involved in the largest U.S. effort in MT as part of Earthscope, but I take great pride in how far MT has come in little more than two decades. Thank you for this honor.

—John R. Booker, University of Washington, Seattle

Ron Shaar will receive the 2016 William Gilbert Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



It is my privilege to introduce Ron Shaar as the 2016 recipient of the William Gilbert award, in recognition of his important contributions to the study of geomagnetic paleointensity.

Quantifying the magnetic field strength over the Earth’s surface and through geologic time is one of the grand challenges in our field. Together with his advisors, Ron has developed important and innovative approaches, including novel selection of research materials, such as archeo-metallurgical slags. The results have been remarkable, showing very large and rapid changes in geomagnetic field strength on several occasions. These “Levantine spikes” appear to be robust features, and other research groups, inspired by Ron’s results, have now found equivalent features in other localities. These observations have major implications for geodynamo processes, and the repercussions are just beginning to be felt.

Ron has also done excellent fundamental research on the micromagnetic structures in these materials and on the mechanisms of remanence acquisition and stability. His study of the archeological slag using magnetic force microscopy was comprehensive and adept, integrating the observed magnetic microstructures with previous micromagnetic modeling results and with bulk-sample properties including hysteresis and anisotropy, to obtain a deep understanding of how these materials acquire and retain remanence, and how they “remember” the strength of the field in which they cooled.

Ron has also demonstrated leadership and service to the GPE research community through the development and distribution of well-designed open-source cross-platform software for analyzing paleointensity data. The Thellier_GUI software provides a rational, objective, and consistent basis for estimating the paleofield strength and for quantifying the uncertainty in that estimate, helping us all to get the most out of our experimental data.

I believe that Ron Shaar is an outstanding young scientist, an emerging leader in our field, and a superb choice for the 2016 William Gilbert Award.

—Mike Jackson, IRM, Minneapolis, Minn.


I am deeply honored to receive this award and I thank the nominators, the committee, and Mike Jackson for his kind citation. When I first visited the IRM as a graduate student the first thing I saw was Mike’s smile expressing something like “hey, you came to the right place. It’s going to be fun.” This is exactly what I felt then and what I feel now.

My path toward a career in paleomagnetism was not a straight line. Ten years ago I was an electrical engineer looking for some outdoor geological adventures more as a hobby than a career. After my doctoral advisors Hagai Ron, Amotz Agnon and Ronit Kessel from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem introduced me to paleomagetism I realized that this unique field of research is the best the scientific world can give.

I am proud and grateful for being part of our incredible Geomagetism and Paleomagnetism community. The more I get to know the people who shape and form it I realize how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such inspiring supportive and generous scientists. I can name here only few senior colleagues that I had the great privilege to learn from: Jeff Gee, Cathy Constable, Mike Jackson, Josh Feinberg, and Joe Kirschvink. Thanks for each one of you.

I will forever be grateful to my scientific parents Late Hagai Ron and Lisa Tauxe, who paved a path for me to follow with endless support and guidance. Finally, I owe a very special debt to Lisa Tauxe, my ultimate role model for uncompromising excellence and leadership and the kindest human beings I have ever met.

It is a wonderful thing to start my new position at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with this early career award. Thank you.

—Ron Shaar, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Michael Jackson will receive the 2015 William Gilbert Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



With great pleasure we present the 2015 William Gilbert Awardee, Michael Jackson, recognizing his fundamental contributions and pioneering applications in rock and paleomagnetism and his unselfish service to the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism community. Many know Mike as facility manager of the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM), and many have experienced first‐hand his generosity and help. It was once said that Mike is the face of the IRM, but he isn’t just another pretty face. Truly, he is a world‐class rock magnetist known for drilling down into fundamental rock magnetism to solve paleomagnetic problems.

Two examples highlight his many research accomplishments. Mike discovered that nanophase magnetite caused by orogenic fluids was responsible for large‐scale remagnetization of Paleozoic limestones in North America. Using hysteresis and low-temperature magnetometry, he identified which limestones were accurate paleomagnetic recorders and which were remagnetized long after deposition. The second is an elegant application of anisotropy of magnetic remanence (AMR) in sedimentary rocks that led to his discovery that inclination shallowing due to compaction can be corrected by determining the AMR tensor. As a supporting letter states, “This much‐cited seminal work paved the way and provided rigorous ground truth to other methods for retrieving accurate paleolatitudes from sedimentary rocks, thereby further improving paleogeographic reconstructions.”

Mike’s impact on our field goes beyond research accomplishments. As IRM facility manager for over 20 years, Mike plays a pivotal role in its intellectual vision and in making it an acclaimed international center for research and education in rock magnetism. He has provided support through mentoring and training to over 200 visiting scientists. As his style, he helps each visitor make the most of their IRM visit, blending a mix of patience, sage advice, personal assistance, and genuine interest in their work. In many ways, Mike personifies the AGU motto of “unselfish cooperation.”

—Bruce M. Moskowitz and Subir K. Banerjee, Institute for Rock Magnetism, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis


Thank you, Bruce and Subir and all my friends and colleagues. It is, of course, gratifying to receive this award, and I’m truly honored to be in the company of the previous recipients. It’s also a bit disconcerting because there are many others that I consider to be more qualified than I am for this distinction. But I interpret this award as a recognition not just of me individually but also of the Institute for Rock Magnetism and the team there of which I am a part, and in this spirit I gratefully accept it.

I feel very fortunate to belong to the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section in general and to the IRM in particular. We share a truly fascinating field of study, building on the work of Gilbert, Gauss, Néel, and so many others, combining the mesmerizing physics of magnetism with an endless variety of geological and extraterrestrial processes. And the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section is a real research community. For the most part our members are happily independent and self-reliant, running individual labs and pursuing independent lines of investigation, yet we also value and support collective efforts such as the MagIC database and the IRM instrumentation facility, which serve as community resources to the benefit of all.

I owe a great debt of thanks to many who have inspired me, mentored me, collaborated with me, and improved my work through constructive criticism, and I regret that space limits the number that I can mention explicitly. In Ann Arbor, Rob Van der Voo and Henry Pollack introduced me to geophysical research and more broadly to the processes of scientific thought and inquiry. In Minneapolis, Subir Banerjee deserves enormous credit for his wisdom and vision in establishing the IRM, the collegial environment in which I’ve been privileged to interact with him and with a large number of eminent visiting scientists, as well as with a host of exceptional resident scholars, including Bruce Moskowitz, Horst Worm, Jim Marvin, Peat Solheid, Julie Bowles, Josh Feinberg, Dario Bilardello, and Brian Carter-Stiglitz. I thank them all, I thank you all, and I hope to see you at the IRM.

—Michael Jackson, Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Nicholas Swanson-Hysell received the 2014 William Gilbert Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



I take a lot of pleasure in presenting Nicholas Swanson-Hysell with the 2014 William Gilbert Award for his impactful, rigorous, and original research in paleomagnetism and its applications to tectonics, paleoclimate, and fundamental rock magnetic studies.

Nick’s dissertation work revisited the basalts of the North American Midcontinent Rift, which were long thought to show evidence of asymmetric reversals. Through meticulous field mapping, Nick was able to place the reversal history within a detailed stratigraphic context and showed that Laurentia was moving rapidly southward toward the equator during the rifting process and that each successive reversal within the sequence was largely symmetric, thereby resolving a decades-old mystery and demonstrating that the geocentric axial dipole (GAD) hypothesis could be extended back in time 1.1 billion years.

Since his Ph.D., Nick has leveraged an incredible scientific toolset that includes rock and paleomagnetism, isotope geochemistry, and sedimentology and stratigraphy to make similarly major contributions to paleogeographic studies, paleoclimatology, impact magnetization, and pure fundamental rock magnetism. This unusual combination of geophysical and geochemical research skills has allowed Nick to improve our understanding of major events in Earth history ranging from Neoproterozoic glaciations to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.

The thing about Nick that stands out to all who work with him is his generosity of spirit. Whether he’s helping teach the Summer School in Rock Magnetism at the Institute for Rock Magnetism or contributing to the PmagPy code that is the foundation for the MagIC database, Nick makes a genuine effort to give back to our community. In short, he’s an inspiring fellow to be around, and in a field where there are always fewer honors than people who deserve them, I am exceptionally happy that we can recognize Nick’s past and future scientific work with the William Gilbert Award.

—Joshua M. Feinberg, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis


I am truly honored to have been chosen to receive the 2014 William Gilbert Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). As an early career scientist, I have received so much mentorship and intellectual invigoration from the members of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section of the Union. It is with great thanks that I accept this recognition from them.

I got started on this path as an undergraduate due to the mentorship of Dave Bice, who sent me off to the North American Midcontinent Rift to obtain samples for a tectonics course at Carleton College. Guided by Mike Jackson, I made my first measurements on a magnetometer at the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM). These measurements revealed the asymmetric normal and reversed directions that Josh wrote of above. As I soon discovered in the literature, I had stumbled upon the problem of Keweenawan reversal asymmetry. Around this time, Adam Maloof came through Carleton to give a talk. He had been thinking about ways to more firmly constrain the magnitude of the asymmetry. Talking about the problem with Adam led me to begin geologic and paleomagnetic inquiry as a graduate student at Princeton, where I benefitted immeasurably from his mentorship. That period revealed to me the true generosity of this community as I conducted appreciable lab work during my Ph.D. research in five different paleomagnetism labs. I am deeply grateful to Dave Evans, Joe Kirschvink, Ben Weiss, Dennis Kent, and their students for welcoming me into their labs, enabling the collection of data, and providing mentorship and inspiration.

My time during graduate school as an informal visitor and visiting fellow at the IRM further opened my eyes to rock magnetism. Josh Feinberg and Mike Jackson were unfailingly generous with their time and expertise in helping me craft ways to get at some particularly vexing rock magnetic puzzles. I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to be at the IRM as an National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, where interactions with members of the IRM, including Bruce Moskowitz, Julie Bowles, Peat Solheid, and others, as well as the many visiting fellows, made for a quite stimulating environment. And now I have the good fortune of being a part of the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (GP) community here at the University of California, where I have particularly benefitted from recent interactions with Rob Coe and Lisa Tauxe. Lisa’s open source approach to sharing knowledge, expertise, and software has been inspirational.

Again, thank you to the GP community and AGU for this recognition and for the support you all have given to me and other young scientists.

—Nicholas L. Swanson-Hysell, University of California, Berkeley

Catherine Constable received the 2013 William Gilbert Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



I am honored to present the 2013 William Gilbert Award to Catherine Constable in recognition of her fundamental contributions to our understanding of secular variation of the geomagnetic field and exemplary service to the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (GP) community.

Cathy’s theoretical research is steeped in observation, ranging from time variation of the geomagnetic field and its implications for the state of the Earth’s deep interior to applications of satellite magnetic field observations that bear on electrical conductivity of the Earth’s mantle. Her work directly impacts all three arms of our GP section: geomagnetism, paleomagnetism, and electromagnetism. She has authored more than 80 highly cited books and journal articles and quite simply leads the way in melding rich and disparate paleomagnetic and archaeomagnetic data sets into practical and insightful global geomagnetic models.

Cathy exemplifies true scientific leadership through her service to AGU and the GP section. She served as president-elect and president of the GP section from 2006 to 2010 during a time of dramatic change in AGU governance. She was instrumental in directing that change, serving as a voting member of the AGU Council and participant on both the AGU Future Focus Task Force and the AGU Mapping Alignment Project. Thanks in large part to her leadership in AGU, the GP section emerged from major restructuring of AGU governance with strong Council representation. Cathy now serves on the AGU Board of Directors, assuring us that she will continue to be a player in AGU and GP’s future.

Cathy is also an unselfish leader in the development of cross-disciplinary research. She is the lead principal investigator and chair of the Steering Committee for the MagIC Database initiative, a critical service for rock magnetic and paleomagnetic research. Perhaps her most obvious and prominent contribution to cross-disciplinary science is her work with the geomagnetic dynamo research community, helping to incorporate paleomagnetic statistics into dynamo models. Her geomagnetic field models are widely used by researchers outside geomagnetism as well, ranging from historians who seek past evidence of auroras in biblical times to carbon- and beryllium-dating researchers estimating isotope production in the atmosphere from cosmic rays.

For her fundamental contributions to research in time variation of the geomagnetic field and her exemplary service to AGU and the GP section, we congratulate Cathy Constable, our 2013 William Gilbert Award recipient.

—RICHARD J. BLAKELY, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California


Thank you for the generous citation. I am truly honored that the GP section considers me a worthy recipient of this award. As you might guess, I don’t deserve exclusive credit for everything in Rick’s citation, and if you look at the coauthors on all my publications, you can get a pretty good idea of who really did the work. I have been fortunate to work in a highly collegial environment at the University of California, San Diego, where my mentors, colleagues, postdocs, and students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Institute of Geophysics of Planetary Physics have been tremendously important to me. Additionally, this year (2013) marks 30 years since I first attended the AGU Fall Meeting, and the GP section has really been my scientific home within this organization, connecting me to a broader range of collaborators from all over the world. I owe thanks to a large number of people who have contributed to the fun of doing science and provided opportunities to discuss things in a highly collegial environment.

I think it’s also important to keep my 30 years of dabbling around in a broader perspective. Today is 10 December, the 410th anniversary of William Gilbert’s death from bubonic plague in 1603. We still consider him an intellectual giant because of his interest in experimental science and the legacy of his publications. He was part of the scientific revolution in Europe that unfolded between Copernicus’s proposition of the heliocentric cosmos and Isaac Newton’s proposition of universal laws for a mechanical universe.

Gilbert was key in developing the ideas of experimental science as a means to confirm ideas. His life work essentially produced two volumes, De Magnete published in 1600 and De Mundo published posthumously in 1651 by his half-brother, and had a strong influence on his contemporaries. If you’ve ever attempted to read De Magnete, you’ll realize that it’s quite a slog even in its 19th century English translation—in large part because at that time there was no language yet available for Gilbert to describe what he observed. Still, in De Magnete, he followed the basic structure we would today. He reviewed what others before him had said—often in disparaging terms as, for example, when citing those who claimed repeatedly that lodestone could be demagnetized by rubbing with garlic. Then he went on to describe his experiments in electricity and magnetism, which were substantial and significant. Three hundred years after his death, the Gilbert Society translated his work and reinvented him as the first great English scientist, noting that his work “constituted the absolute starting point of the science of electricity.”

Newton subsequently provided a mathematical language for doing science and noted the idea of “standing on the shoulders of giants,” but Gilbert really was building from the ground up. So the question is, Where will we be 410 years from now? We don’t want to be rubbing lodestones with garlic. We still have lots of new observations to make. In my particular world, I’m excited that the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission was launched in November 2013, with three satellites to improve high-frequency imaging of the geomagnetic field, and that at longer periods, we still have scope to improve images and understanding of magnetic field variations. I firmly believe our science must continue to be mathematical and reproducible, and we have the language for that now.

William Gilbert remains an impressive example to us as a scientist, and I am delighted to receive this award.

—CATHERINE CONSTABLE, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Robert E. Kopp received the 2012 William Gilbert Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



I take great pleasure in presenting Robert Kopp with the 2012 William Gilbert Award, recognizing his impactful, original, rigorous, and interdisciplinary scientific research spanning much of Earth history and his service to the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (GP) research community.

Bob’s Ph.D. work focused on fossil magnetotactic bacteria and the development of techniques, such as ferromagnetic resonance spectroscopy, for rapidly detecting them in sediments. This work led to the discovery of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum magnetofossil “Lagerstätte” in the mid-Atlantic United States (dating to about 56 million years ago) and the bizarre, unusually large, and likely eukaryotic “Death Star”–like magnetofossils found therein, a real breakthrough in magnetic paleobiology and in its application to paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Deeper in Earth history, Bob’s provocative modeling of the biogeochemical context of low-latitude “snowball Earth” glaciation in the Paleoproterozoic (about 2.3 billion years ago) and its relationship to the Great Oxygenation Event suggests a tight chronological coupling between the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and the onset of global glaciation. Much more recently in geological time, his probabilistic analyses of the sea level records from the last interglacial stage (about 125,000 years ago) provide the most quantitative assessment to date of sea level change before the current glacial cycle.

Bob also contributed to the GP community as the original software guru for the Rock and Paleomagnetics Instrumentation Development consortium. In this capacity, he helped lay the foundations for automatic sample changers for superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometers that are now deployed in a dozen labs on five continents. His open-source control software allows those instruments to do productive paleomagnetic and rock magnetic work, automatically, around the clock, liberating our students from the task of manually emplacing samples one at a time.

In summary, Bob has made major discoveries in biogeomagnetism and has strengthened the analytical and experimental infrastructure of the entire paleomagnetic and rock magnetic community. I look forward to seeing what he does next!

—JOSEPH L. KIRSCHVINK, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


I have many people to thank for the honor of receiving the William Gilbert Award. Joe Kirschvink must sit at the top of the list, not just for the generosity—I hope at least partially deserved!—of his citation but also for his role as my Ph.D. mentor. During the 5 years I spent working with him at Caltech, Joe was always supportive; was as generous with his time as he has been in his words; and served as a role model for me in the way he fearlessly marched through our planet’s history, building bridges between magnetism and our understanding of climate, the biosphere, and the Earth system as a whole.

I am also truly grateful to the GP community and the support it provides its young researchers. We may be small, but there is real intellectual firepower in a community where small workshops can address meteorites one day, bacteria the next, and crystallography and dynamos on a third. And this community does not just provide its younger members support through intellectual breadth—the community spirit is well illustrated by the way the Gilbert award is given in alternate years to young scientists and to our luminaries.

I have been blessed throughout my time as a scientist with a wonderful set of mentors. In addition to Joe, my postdoc mentors Michael Oppenheimer and Adam Maloof and my American Association for the Advancement of Science Science and Technology Policy Fellowship mentor Rick Duke played key roles in shaping how I do science today. I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention my undergraduate advisor, Munir Humayun, who gave me first experiences doing science, setting me to work analyzing and modeling the Martian meteorite ALH84001, and then guided me toward graduate school with Joe. And though they are too numerous to name, my work would not be possible without my network of outstanding collaborators.

Finally, I must thank my family, without whose love and support none of my work—indeed, none of that which I am today—would have been possible.

—ROBERT E. KOPP, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N. J.

Joseph Kirschvink received the William Gilbert Award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



I am honored to present the 2011 William Gilbert Award to Joseph Kirschvink in recognition of his fundamental contributions to research and education in paleomagnetism and geology.

Joe started making major discoveries almost immediately upon finishing college, when he obtained some of the first early Cambrian magnetostratigraphic records and participated in the discovery of the first five Cambrian carbon isotope anomalies. He also collected Moroccan ash samples, which ultimately led to a redefinition of the Cambrian time scale, which meant that early animal evolution was even more explosive than had been previously thought. This led Joe to propose that this might be linked to true polar wander, the coherent large-scale rotation of Earth’s mantle and crust.

Joe went on to study even older rocks, demonstrating a positive fold test for the near-equatorial glaciogenic Elatina Formation. This provided critical support for his snowball Earth hypothesis that the Earth was globally glaciated in the Proterozoic.

Simultaneous with these geologic peregrinations, Joe helped found the new field of biomagnetism. He discovered south seeking magnetotactic bacteria and was the first to identify magnetofossils. His subsequent work led to the discovery of the magnetic field sensory organelles in animals, the first truly new sensory organ identified in higher animals since sonar in bats was discovered 70 years ago.

Joe’s contributions to paleomagnetic methodology have also profoundly changed our field. As a student, he introduced the use of principal component analysis to paleomagnetism. With Mike Fuller, he critically supported the development of the 2G magnetometer and had the very first one installed in his lab. He also played a major role in the development of SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) microscopy, a new paleomagnetic mapping technique with unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution.

On top of all of these and other unmentioned research achievements, Joe is a truly extraordinary mentor and teacher. I count myself among a huge loyal following of former students working in paleomagnetism, geology, biology, and planetary science.

In summary, Joe represents everything we are looking for in a William Gilbert awardee. He is an “ideas man,” a gadfly, working at the edge of the crowd while the crowd chases after him!

—Benjamin P. Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge


Ben, thank you for your overly generous citation, which I think minimizes the contributions and stimulation I’ve received over the years from the off-the-scale students I’ve had! I was recently trying to clean up my office, and I found a batch of the “nut” term papers from my Earth history class from approximately 30 years ago. There were essays on true polar wander, low­latitude glaciation, panspermia, crazy mass extinction hypotheses, and even earthquake prediction by animals. By deliberately having my students track down and write scientific review papers on unconventional and wacko topics, a lot has obviously rubbed off on me over the years. I’m particularly indebted to Dawn Sumner, Paul Filmer, Robin Chang, Rob Ripperdan, Linda Maepa, Rob Ferber, David Evans, Chris Pluhar, Jack Holt, José Hurtado, Kevin Boyce, Ben Weiss, Tim Raub, Francis Macdonald, Isaac Hilburn, Cody Nash, Bob Kopp, Sonia Tikoo, Sarah Slotznick, and many others. Also, I would really like to thank my wife, Atsuko, for being extraordinarily patient with me, and my boys, Jiseki and Koseki, for actually liking their geological names.

And the William Gilbert Award? Egad. I’m humbled. I’ve always been fascinated by magnets, and I have fond memories of doing a fourth- or fifth-grade science report on William Gilbert. I built my first pulse magnetizer in grade school, wrapping a coil around a cardboard tube and crafting a “fuse” with a thin strip of aluminum foil. Plugging this into a wall outlet made a wonderful flash, and anything in the tube was hit with a great magnetic pulse. I’m glad I did not burn our house down! I am a bit worried, though: William Gilbert apparently died in one of the Black Plague epidemics that swept through Europe 400 years ago. I hope I never encounter (or create!) a pathological strain of magnetotactic bacteria!

When you work in interdisciplinary fields, awards like the Gilbert are few and far between. I sometimes feel that the crowds following me have been throwing bricks and tomatoes! The medal is beautiful, so round and heavy. I’ll happily accept this one and run with it! Many thanks.

—Joseph L. Kirschvink, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Sabine Stanley received the William Gilbert Award at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting, held 13–17 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



I am very happy to present this year’s William Gilbert Award for an outstanding researcher under age 36 to Sabine Stanley for her major theoretical contributions to planetary magnetism. Sabine’s trademark is the use of dynamo theory to explore the effects of non-Earth-like conditions, like unusual core geometries and core convective regimes, as possible explanations for the diversity of observed dynamos.

This has allowed her to range intellectually over almost the entire solar system. For example, she has argued that the restriction of intense crustal remanent magnetization to the Martian southern hemisphere could be explained by an ancient hemispherical dynamo resulting from the same mechanism that generated the crustal dichotomy.

Another example is her work on Mercury. Traditional scaling laws predict that Mercury’s surface field should perhaps be orders of magnitude larger than that recently measured by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. She has proposed two different mechanisms to explain this discrepancy that invoke unusual convection patterns resulting from Mercury’s large inner core and nonideal behavior of iron-sulfur mixtures.

Then there is her Ph.D. work on the ice giants Uranus and Neptune. Both are distinguished by their extremely nondipolar, nonaxisymmetric surface fields. Sabine showed how these dynamos are a natural outcome of a thin-shell geometry that results from their predicted stably stratified interiors.

Finally, there is Sabine’s work on the possibility of ancient dynamos on asteroids. She has shown that despite their small size, many of these objects should have been capable of dynamo generation for millions of years or longer in the early solar system. Recent paleomagnetic studies of meteorites are now beginning to support these ideas.

In summary, I cannot think of a better candidate than Sabine for the Gilbert Award. I view Sabine like all of my favorite authors: I can’t wait to read her next work!

—Benjamin P. Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge


I have many people to thank for the honor of receiving the William Gilbert Award. First, Ben Weiss, thank you for the gracious citation, for introducing me to some very exciting meteorites, and for being a great colleague to work with these past few years. Next, thank you, Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (GP) section officers, for this recognition and also for your time and effort in running the GP section. I believe I speak for more than just myself when I say we greatly appreciate your hard work. Next, I want to thank my students for keeping me on my toes and inspiring me to always learn new things. One thing I love to tell my students is how stimulating and nurturing our scientific community is, and I want to thank all of my colleagues for that.

Throughout my academic career, I have been exceptionally fortunate to have fantastic mentors. My Ph.D. supervisor, Jeremy Bloxham, and my postdoctoral supervisor, Maria Zuber, taught me how to do science and provided me with the support to explore my research interests. Thank you for being truly inspiring. In addition, I wouldn’t be where I am without Jerry Mitrovica, whom I first met over 15 years ago when I was a freshman physics student planning to study. By sneaking geophysics examples into a first-year physics course, Jerry recruited me to this exciting field. His mentorship throughout my undergraduate degree set me on my academic path, and when I returned to the University of Toronto as an assistant professor several years ago, I was fortunate to benefit from his support once again. Thank you for all of your wisdom and guidance.

Finally, I need to thank my family, especially my husband, Tony, for all of their love and support.

—Sabine Stanley, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dennis Kent received the William Gilbert Award at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



It is an honor to introduce Dennis Kent, this year’s William Gilbert Award winner. Over the more than 35 years since his first publication, Dennis has poked around in most corners of the science that we do in this section. And when Dennis pokes around, he frequently finds some new pearl of wisdom. He has given us hundreds of treasures in the form of published papers. Early on, he developed a passion for the magnetization of mud. Really, mud. Since then he has studied rock, glass, dust, ice, and smoke (and the last three were all in just one paper). But he doesn’t just study magnetic properties of stuff; he uses those properties to solve problems throughout Earth science. He has contributed to the understanding of wandering poles, evidence for cometary impacts, wiggles of various sorts, and the nature of the geomagnetic field. He played a key role in putting together marine magnetic anomalies, biostratigraphy, isotopic dating, and magnetostratigraphy to build the geological time scale. This humongous effort is his most cited body of work.

But Dennis isn’t simply a paper machine. He is also a role model for all of us. And not just for those of us lucky enough to have been mentored directly by him, but also through his informal advising. He is very generous in providing time in his lab, and he has helped many young scientists with thoughtful advice. He has many Ph.D.s and postdocs in his flock as well as many students who had him as an external examiner.

He has consistently served the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (GP) community as reviewer, as associate editor, with service on U.S. National Science Foundation panels and AGU committees, and as president of our section.

It is appropriate that the GP section present this award to Dennis. He needs it to complete his collection of medals and awards. He won the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America in 2003. He’s a member of the National Academy. He’s got not one but two doctorates, and one of them is French! He got the the Vening Meinesz Medal from the University of Utrecht and the Petrus Peregrinus Medal from the European Geosciences Union. So to give this honor to Dennis is pretty much a no-brainer. I just hope he can find room on his mantelpiece for this one.

—Lisa Tauxe, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla


Thank you very much, Lisa, for your generous citation, and thank you, colleagues and friends, for being instrumental in the bestowal of this honor. This award is beautifully made, and the depiction of Gilbert’s terrella with the dipole axis laid horizontally is a wonderful reminder of the value of unorthodox perspectives in science. The GP section of AGU has been a great source of inspiration at all stages of my career by providing a forum for our discipline across the generations. I am grateful to all those “studious of the magnetic philosophy”—mentors, students, postdocs, and fellow researchers alike—who have provided such a collegial and stimulating context. Sustained collaborations with, to name a few, Neil Opdyke, Bill Lowrie, Steve Cande, Lisa Tauxe, Paul Olsen, Jeff Gee, and Giovanni Muttoni, ongoing joint work with great figures like Ted Irving, as well as further prospects of interactions with a new generation of thinkers and doers on the scene, have motivated and enriched my efforts in (continuing in the translated words of William Gilbert) “discovery of secret things and in the investigation of hidden causes…from sure experiments and demonstrated arguments” (not to mention lengthening my publication list!). I also gratefully acknowledge the more than 35 years of grant support from NSF and concurrent institutional support from Lamont and more recently Rutgers, and of course Carolyn on the home front, that provided the wherewithal to have such a good time doing research. Thank you all again, and be assured that the William Gilbert Award will have pride of place on my bookshelf.

—Dennis Kent, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N. J., and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N. Y.

France Lagroix received the William Gilbert Award at the 2008 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held 17 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



It’s a great pleasure to be able to say a few words about this year’s recipient of the William Gilbert Award, France Lagroix. She is a former student at the Institute for Rock Magnetism, so we had a front-row seat as she developed from a bright graduate student to an accomplished geophysicist. At Minnesota, France studied magnetic anisotropy in windblown loess from Alaska to extract paleoclimate records of regional wind directions over the past 130,000 years. France may not have been the first to discover magnetic anisotropy in loess deposits, but in her typically proactive manner she estimated errors that could compromise the original anisotropy record, and then developed magnetic techniques to recognize and correct for them. She further sampled and studied over 4000 hand samples to isolate statistically significant changes in anisotropy repre-senting changes in wind directions in Alaska when glacial climates gave way to interglacials. One of her letter writers states, “These observations and interpretations of Dr. Lagroix have opened a new field not only for decoding Alaska’s paleoclimate but also [for yielding] the potential for global paleoclimate reconstruction since loess is the most frequent rock type on the surface of continents.”

France moved on to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, where she has assembled a multi-institutional rock magnetism group that brings together rock magnetists and condensed matter physicists to study the magnetism of iron oxide nanoparticles. Already in her young career, France’s research places her in an elite group of new rock magnetists destined to be the future leaders of our discipline. She is breaking new grounds of research in the application of magnetism to broad Earth science questions, is demonstrating how mutual collaboration is the essential ingredient for frontier research in Earth sciences today, and is most deserving of the 2008 William Gilbert Award.

—Bruce M. Moskowitz and Subir K. Banerjee, Institute for Rock Magnetism, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


I would like to thank, first, my peers, who deemed that the scientific contributions I have made so far were worthy of a nomination, and second, the AGU Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism award committee for honoring these works with the 2008 William Gilbert Award. I have had, and continue to have, the privilege of working with scientists who are truly passionate about science. Their dedication to finding answers to unsolved questions is, to say the least, infectious. A healthy dose of chance and opportunity led me to the two advisors and mentors, Graham J. Borradaile and Subir K. Banerjee, who introduced me to the applications of magnetic fabrics and paleomagnetism to solving structural and tectonics problems, and the fundamentals of rock and mineral magnetism and its application to loess and other sedimentary systems, respectively.

The years spent at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Canada), first as an undergraduate (1993–1997), then as a master’s student (1997–1999), and finally as a research associate (1999–2000), served to build a solid foundation of geology, enabling my growth as a critical thinker. And the years spent at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) preparing my doctoral dissertation (2000–2004) were enriching, bringing depth with respect to my understanding of mineral magnetism and breadth as a geoscientist. Since 2004, as a research scientist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France), efforts have been fruitful in establishing new experimental platforms aimed at furthering, in the years to come, our understanding and solving remaining questions in the field of mineral and rock magnetism and its numerous geological and geophysical applications.

Finally, to my colleagues and friends and to my family, your encouragement, understanding, and support make possible balancing the various facets of life.

—France Lagroix, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France

Robert S. Coe received the 2007 William Gilbert Award at the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.



Like everyone in this room, I suspect, I am very pleased that our section has chosen to honor Rob Coe with the William Gilbert Award for some four decades of scientific achievement, leadership, and good cheer in the field of geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. There is time to mention just a few of the highlights of Rob’s (ongoing!) scientific career. Rob has contributed immensely to the technique, originally developed by the Thelliers, used to infer the strength of the ancient geomagnetic field from the magnetizations of rocks. As one author of the many letters of support put it, Rob’s pioneering papers on the double-heating paleointensity technique “set the direction of the entire field of paleomagnetism and must be counted in the top ten list of paleomagnetic papers ever written.” Rob and an international team of colleagues have studied the Steens Mountain lavas—likely the best volcanic record of a geomagnetic polarity reversal on Earth—to produce a detailed account of intensity variation, directional rebounds, and impulsive field change occurring at (perhaps!) degrees per day sorts of rates. Most recently, Rob and Gary Glatzmaier demonstrated from geodynamo simulations that lateral variations in lower mantle temperature may well give rise to paleomagnetic observables, such as preferred paths for transitional poles or changes in reversal frequency. Rob has made his mark in tectonics problems as well, through paleomagnetic studies of displaced terranes in localities stretching from Papua New Guinea to Alaska, from Kazakhstan to California. His paleomagnetic work in Asia led to, among other things, a model for the accretion of the north and south China blocks to Siberia, published in Nature in 1987 and still widely accepted. In addition to his scientific contributions, Rob has been generous in his service to the Earth sciences community. He has served on numerous national and international committees and panels and been an editor for the JGG and JGR. He was president of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (GP) section at a time when there some uncertainty about the status of small sections such as ours in the Union’s structure. Rob’s strong advocacy at AGU Council meetings helped GP to thrive and remain autonomous.

Along with all of the above, it is Rob’s infectious enjoyment of all things GP, his successful mentoring of young researchers, and his pleasant and accessible nature that make him such a worthy candidate for GP’s Gilbert Award. It is with great pleasure, Rob, that we, the GP section, present to you the 2007 Gilbert Award.

—Scott W. Bogue, Occidental College, Los Angeles, Calif.


Thank you, Scott, and all of my students and many colleagues who have helped make scientific research so interesting and enjoyable. Receiving an award named for William Gilbert is especially meaningful to me, as he is a personal hero and his contributions to fields as disparate as medicine and magnetism epitomize the spirit of broad inquiry that characterizes our GP section. The privilege of working in a science founded on discoveries by scientists such as Gilbert, Gauss, and Néel has been both an inspiring and humbling experience. I was fortunate to encounter great teachers and mentors, such as Francis Birch, whose undergraduate course introduced me to how physics helps us understand Earth; John Verhoogen, whose extraordinary intellect and lucidity inspired me in graduate school and remains an inspiration today; Allan Cox and Richard Doell, who communicated the exhilaration of pure research during the race to develop the geomagnetic polarity timescale; and Mervyn Paterson, who opened my eyes to sophisticated experimental techniques in a completely different area of research. My good fortune continued when I was hired at UC Santa Cruz by Aaron Waters, whose astuteness in laying the foundation of our department fostered the stimulating, collegial environment that has kept me happily in Earth science at Santa Cruz for my entire career. During this time I have enjoyed incredible freedom to explore a wide range of subjects, all curiosity-driven and a couple of them justifiably deemed esoteric. A great pleasure has been witnessing some of these areas, such as paleointensity and Asian tectonics, take off and be carried farther forward by younger colleagues and students than I would have thought possible.

I spent most of my undergraduate years learning chemistry and physics, but love of the outdoors and a roommate in geology gradually turned me toward studying the Earth. At first I was most attracted to examining natural processes for their own sake. It took a number of years to become persuaded that we mere mortals could develop a significant understanding of how our planet has operated and the broad sweep of geologic history. This is still what I find most remarkable and fascinating about our science: peering into the past using the rock record, lab and numerical experiments, imagination, and reason to retrieve insights about the Earth from the depths of time.

—Robert S. Coe, University of California, Santa Cruz

Richard J Harrison


James E T Channell


Andrew Lloyd Jackson


Subir K Banerjee


Honors Contacts

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