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Union awards, medals, and prizes

Program overview

AGU presents a variety of awards, medals, and prizes to recognize individuals whose excellence and leadership in research, education and innovation have significantly advanced Earth and space science. Rewarding that excellence in scientific research, education, and outreach not only strengthens our science but can further its impact and value to society. Each year, we honor these exceptional individuals at our Fall Meeting.

Review our many awards, medals, and prizes and their eligibility. 

Nominations are Open!

Due to the pandemic that has increased demands on the Earth and space science community, we have extended the deadline for all Honors to 1 June.

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2020 Honorees

This year, we honored 36 exception individuals in the Earth and space sciences.
See honorees

Honor name

Career stage

Nominator requirements

Nominee requirements

Charles A. Whitten Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Devendra Lal Memorial Medal

Early career or mid-career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee must be within within 10 to 20 years of receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree (3) nominee must belong to and work in a country designated by the World Bank as low or lower-middle income.

Harry H. Hess Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Inge Lehmann Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

James B. Macelwane Medal

Early career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee must be no more than 10 years beyond receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree

Joanne Simpson Medal for Mid-Career Scientists

Mid-career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee must be within 20 years of receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree

John Adam Fleming Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Maurice Ewing Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Robert E. Horton Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Roger Revelle Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Walter H. Bucher Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

William Bowie Medal

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth or Ocean Sciences

Early career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee must be a citizen or permanent resident of countries on the African continent; (3) nominee must be no more than 10 years beyond receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree from any institution (4) must be teaching and/or conducting research at an African institution and working on science related issues on Africa

Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science

Early career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee must be a citizen or permanent resident of countries on the African continent, and (3) nominee must be no more than 10 years beyond receiving their Ph.D. or highest equivalent terminal degree from an African institution.

Ambassador Award

Early career, mid-career, or senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Athelstan Spilhaus Award

Early career, mid-career, or senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Charles S. Falkenberg Award

Early career or mid-career scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) Nominee should be within 15 years of receiving their highest terminal degree or under 45 years of age as of 1 January of the year of presentation.

David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism-News

Journalist

Open to self-nominators and the public

Open to journalists working in any medium, except books

Edward A. Flinn III Award

Mid-career or senior scientist

Active AGU members

(1) Not required to be an AGU member (2) nominee can be an individual or small group

Excellence in Earth and Space Science Education Award

Mid-career or senior scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member. (2) The nominee can be an individual, team, or group.

International Award

Mid-career or senior scientist

Active AGU member

(1) Not required to be an AGU member. (2) The nominee can be an individual scientist, small team, or group.

Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism

Journalist

The public

Open to science journalists

Science for Solutions Award

Student or postdoctoral scientist

Active AGU member

(1) The nominee is not required to be an AGU member (2) The nominee must be a current student or postdoctoral scientist who is within three years of receiving their Ph.D.

Spilhaus Ambassador Award Grant

Early career, mid-career, or senior scientist

Open to the public

Open to past Ambassador Award recipients.

Waldo E. Smith Award

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

Not required to be an AGU member

Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism-Features

Journalist

Open to self-nominators and the public

Open to journalists working in any medium, except books

William Kaula Award

Senior scientist

Active AGU member

The nominee is not required to be an AGU member.

Climate Communication Prize

Early career, mid-career, or senior scientist

Open to the public

The nominee must be an active AGU member scientist.

The Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize

Early career or mid-career scientist

Open to the public

(1) Not required to be an AGU member. (2) The nominee must be an active early career or mid-career scientist within 15 years of receiving their Ph.D. of any discipline.  (3) The nominee must be making an impact in ocean drilling.

Union Awards, Medals, and Prizes nomination timeline

Date

Stage of the nomination cycle process

15 October 2019

Nomination submission site opens.

1 June 2020

Nomination submission site closes.

19 June 2020

Deadline for AGU staff to review nomination packages for eligibility and completeness to prepare nominations for selection committee review.

22 - 26 June 2020

Staff prepares additional materials as needed for selection committees in preparation for review period.
30 June 2020  Nomination materials are sent to the respective selection committee for review.

17 August 2020

Selection committees begin nominations review through a series of evaluations and select recipients.

5 October 2020

Deadline for selection committees to submit recommendations for recipients to the Council Leadership Team for review and approval.

22 October 2020

Council Leadership Team meets to discuss and approve the selection committees' recommendations for 2020.
11 November 2020 AGU officially announces the 2020 Union Awards, Medals, and Prizes recipients.

9 December 2020

AGU formally recognizes the 2020 recipients during the Honors Ceremony held at Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Submissions

Nominations are now closed. The 2021 Nominations for all AGU honors will open on Friday 15 January 2021.

Email Staff
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Nomination package requirements

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

  1. Nomination letter
  2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae
  3. Nominee’s selected bibliography with a brief introductory summary (no more than one paragraph). The Education, International, Kaula and Spilhaus awards do not require a selected bibliography as part of the nomination process.
  4. Three letters of support (in addition to the nomination letter). Please refer to the AGU Honors Conflict of Interest Policy before selecting supporters.

For detailed information on nomination requirements, please view the AGU Union Awards, Medals, and Prizes frequently asked questions (FAQs). You can submit nominations by using the online submission system. If a nomination package requires revision, please send the revised document(s) electronically, in either .pdf or .doc format to the Union Awards, Medals and Honors Program.

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