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edward a. flinn award

Information on the Edward A. Flinn III Award

The Edward A. Flinn III Award is given annually to mid-career or senior scientists, either individually or in a small group, who personifies AGU’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities. This award is for the unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation, and labors of love that build and maintain the infrastructure without which our science could not flourish.

Edward A. Flinn III was a geophysicist and mathematician who led efforts to apply digital signal processing techniques and statistical methods to seismology. He helped establish the Flinn-Engdahl seismic and geographical regions to characterize the world's earthquake zones, a system that has become standard across the globe for earthquake regionalization.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Edward A. Flinn III Award will receive the following benefits:
  • 1
    An engraved Waterford crystal clock
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


Individuals or small groups are eligible for the Flinn Award. To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • 1
    Nominees: The nominee should be a mid-career or senior scientist. AGU membership is not required. They should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • 2
    Nominators: Nominators must be active AGU members and in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Duplicate nominations for the same individual will not be accepted. However, one co-nominator is permitted (but not required) per nomination.
  • 3
    Supporters: Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members but must be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
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Nomination package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. For detailed information on the requirements, review the Union Awards, Medals and Prizes Frequently Asked Questions.

  • A nomination letter with one-sentence citation (150 characters or less). Letterhead stationery is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required. The citation should appear at either the beginning or end of the nomination letter.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee. Include the candidate’s name, address and email, history of employment, degrees, research experience, honors, memberships, and service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
  • A selected bibliography stating the total number, the types of publications and the number published by AGU.
  • Three letters of support not including the nomination letter. Letterhead is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.
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Successful candidates for the Flinn Award demonstrate: the facilitation, coordination, implementation, unselfish cooperation, and the building and maintaining of infrastructure that supports the scientific community.

Contributions should be for sustained infrastructure rather than tied to a single event, field campaign, or gathering. A sustained infrastructure supports an ongoing community of scientists or brings together a community of scientists and provides a way to improve, support, or conduct their science for a sustained period of time.

Infrastructure may include the following: Instruments; satellites; tools; networks; observation platforms; data management, modeling, or data repository infrastructures; organizational structures; research and research support programs; programs that improve the research environment; gatherings, such as working groups, committees, or workshops.

When submitting a group nomination, specify each individual’s contribution.


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Nominations are Open!

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

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Martin Briggs


Cian Dawson


Carole D Johnson


John W Lane


John Williams


Bart Nijssen received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the 2021 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held 15 December 2021 in New Orleans, LA. The award is given annually to “an individual or small group who personifies the Union’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”


For more than 20 years, Dr. Bart Nijssenhas served as one of the main programmers for the Variable Infiltration Capacity Model (VIC), which was originally developed at the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the early 1990s and which benefited from scientific and code improvements by a large cast of scientists. A macroscale hydrologic model, VIC is used to solve water and energy balances in major river basins around the world. Today, if anyone carries out a simple search on the web or Web of Science (for citation tracking) for the term “VIC,” there are at least 13 million search results (on Google Scholar that is 0.5 million) and more than 35,000 Web of Science citations that have accumulated from 1996 to 2021. Most of these citations appear in diverse topics ranging from, but not limited to, macroscale hydrology, climate change, water management, crop science and natural resource management using the VIC model as the key modeling tool. Incidentally, 1996-2021 is also the time period that Bart has been unselfishly and relentlessly devoting his time to serve the scientific community. Bart’s “labor of love” spanning two decades has enabled the lion’s share of these numerous scientific breakthroughs, as evident from the numerous citations, by building/maintaining a robust computational hydrology infrastructure for the VIC model. Bart has spent most of his career managing the modeling process for the global Earth science community (e.g., code management, model coupling, estimating forcing data and model parameters, data management), which has accelerated scientific advances by strengthening the model ecosystem. The proof is in the average rate of 1,400 citations per year on VIC alone. Bart burned the midnight candle just to develop best practices for software on coding standards and version control, reproducible and sharable model workflows, documentation for developers and users and continuous testing. Indeed, the global success of the VIC model is in large part due to the open-source code base. 

It would be wrong to confine Bart’s unselfish service to the broader scientific community in terms of just one hydrologic modeling effort. Bart, along with many other scientists, has applied the same unselfish service to building and maintaining a publicly accessible and newer modeling infrastructure for several other models such as the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model, RVIC and, most recently, the community-driven SUMMA (Structure for Unifying Multiple Modeling Alternatives). What makes Bart’s impact in maintaining this computational hydrology infrastructure more unique is that Bart did all this without much external support, unlike many federally supported community programs that exist today for such large-scale modeling efforts. 

It is therefore truly wonderful to see AGU recognize Dr. Bart Nijssen for the 2021 Edward A. Flinn III Award.

— Faisal Hossain
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington


I am truly honored to receive AGU’s Edward A. Flinn III Award. The award is especially meaningful to me because it is given in recognition of “unselfish cooperation in research,” an activity that stresses the collective effort required to build, collect and maintain the infrastructure, data sets and tools that drive our innovations. The collaborative nature of this work has made me part of an amazing community of colleagues and friends, who have allowed me to be a part of their scientific endeavors. 

The VIC model mentioned in the citation is an example of such a collective effort. I did not conceptualize or implement the first version of this model and am only one among many who spent their time developing, improving and applying the model. Much of this day-to-day work is invisible, and many have dedicated large amounts of time to similar efforts without much thought to an immediate payoff. 

There are many who would be deserving of this award, and I am grateful to be its 2021 recipient. I would like to thank the nominators and, of course, my mentors, collaborators, colleagues and family for making it all possible.

— Bart Nijssen
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington



James E. Broda was awarded the 2019 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2019 in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given “for an individual or small group who personifies AGU’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Dr. James Eugene Broda perfectly fits the criteria for the Edward A. Flinn III Award. He is truly one of those “unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation, and labors of love that build and maintain the infrastructure without which our science could not flourish.” For (an incredible) 49 years, Jim has served hundreds of oceanographers, particularly marine geologists and geophysicists, who have relied on his unique blend of knowledge, creativity, careful planning, sharp intellect, and critical thinking to plan and bring to successful fruition both ordinary and extraordinarily outrageous scientific projects. His work over these 5 decades has enabled our science and greatly improved us as scientists.

In his lifetime of achievement, it is not easy to pick out the highlights. Among the “ordinary” accomplishments is his participation in an (incredible) 125 (and counting) oceanographic research cruises, 52 with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chief scientists, for a total of nearly 10 years at sea! Of course, it is inaccurate to use the term “participation” to describe Jim’s role in these expeditions. He was and is, in most cases, vital to the success of the expeditions, from the earliest stage of planning, through the realization of the cruise, and afterward, through his indispensable role in curating in perpetuity the samples and data.

Many of Jim’s accomplishments have been more “extraordinary” than “ordinary.” One that stands out is his design of the WHOI “long corer,” originally installed on the R/V Knorr in 1997 (now also installed or planned for installation on Korean and German research vessels). That system allowed scientists to retrieve many large-diameter piston cores of 30- to 40-meter length with nearly perfect recovery and quality. It is surely the most innovative and technically advanced sediment corer ever built. In this case, Jim responded to a community need and used his great abilities and perseverance to accomplish something that no one else could have. Many important scientific publications have followed, none of which would have been impossible without Jim’s work.

While these technical endeavors are exemplary, they barely touch on the body of work achieved throughout Jim’s incredible career of accomplishment and self-sacrifice for the entire seagoing oceanographic community (time at sea exacts a cost both physically and emotionally). We are thrilled that this extraordinary man is finally being awarded the great honor that he so richly deserves.

—Paul A. Baker, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; and Lloyd D. Keigwin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.


It is indeed an honor to be recognized by this medal from AGU. I humbly express my deepest gratitude to all those who supported my nomination. Thanks also to the innumerable colleagues and shipmates with whom dedication to dreams and love of exploration was shared.

In the spirit of cooperation, part of the creed of this medal, these others should share much of the praise for the contributions accredited to me. They enabled concepts to grow with funding and technical challenges. My career spanned over some of the greatest breakthroughs in ocean engineering, and I was blessed to be surrounded by those engaged in changing the way we look at and understand the ocean.

Over the decades and an excursion of the planet, I sought to evolve safer and more capable seafloor sampling systems. They grew in size and complexity to meet the challenges of the marine geological community. Seismic refraction operations that involved high explosives became a focus, and hundreds of tons of charges were deployed in discreet experiments. As ocean bottom receivers came to pass, so did our completely unique ability to deploy and detonate explosives on the sea floor at full ocean depth.

I was fortunate to have the support and inspiration to apply emerging technologies to solve marine geological equipment development issues. I had the rare opportunity throughout my career to learn by doing and take conceptual CAD drawings onto the shop floor, see them turn into finite objects, then head out to deep water to test and refine the creation.

Finally, sincere thanks to Dr. Paul Baker, Dr. Bill Curry, Dr. Rick Murray, and Dr. Mike Purdy for their generous citation, continued support, and shared adventures over the years. It is very gratifying to have shared so much with so many, from bosuns to postdocs and a visionary or two.

—James E. Broda, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.

Richard P. Hooper received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting 2018 Honors Ceremony, held 12 December in Washington, D. C. The award is given annually to “an individual or small group who personifies the Union’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Dr. Richard P. Hooper is being recognized for his dedicated service to the hydrologic sciences community as founding executive director of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science Inc. (CUAHSI). The realization that emerging water science research challenges cannot be addressed through traditional single-investigator projects led to the creation of CUAHSI, the first community research consortium for hydrologists. Hooper served as the consortium’s executive director and president for nearly its entire history, from 2003 just after CUAHSI was incorporated until his retirement in 2017. Under his leadership, the consortium grew from a few dozen members to more than 130 U.S. universities and international water science organizations, a full professional staff, and a wide range of programs supporting hydrologic science.

Hooper worked with the board of directors and university scientists to develop the first strategic plan and to secure base funding from the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate. He tirelessly advocated for CUAHSI in pursuit of opportunities with national and international collaborators for the benefit of the broad hydrologic community. This led not only to significant increases in CUAHSI’s budget but also, more important, to transformative services for hydrologic science. One notable example is the collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to engage the next generation of scientists through the annual summer institute for graduate students at the National Water Center.

Where Hooper has personally had a significant impact upon the community is in the area of hydroinformatics. He had a deep understanding of data services and cyberinfrastructure based on his pre-CUAHSI experience with the U.S. Geological Survey as director of the National Stream Quality Accounting Network and co–principal investigator of the Panola Mountain Research Watershed. As CUAHSI’s executive director, Hooper built upon that understanding to coordinate hydrology and information technology activities that have transformed prototypes developed in research projects like the Hydrologic Information System and HydroShare into full-scale CUAHSI services that benefit the entire hydrologic sciences community.

There are few scientists who would dedicate the majority of their productive career to helping the broader community develop research infrastructure and graduate student education and training programs. CUAHSI is now internationally recognized as the place for community hydrology. Hooper is that unique person who embodies the spirit of the Edward A. Flinn III Award as an individual “who personifies the Union’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”

—Albert J. Valocchi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and David Hyndman, Michigan State University, East Lansing


I am honored to receive the Flinn Award. I hope that the community’s efforts in developing CUAHSI will yield continuing benefits in the years to come. It has been a privilege to work with many of the leading scientists in hydrologic science over the past decade in crafting a community approach to complement and to support the research of individual scientists. I particularly want to recognize the efforts of the various chairs who have served CUAHSI, as well as the contributions of David Maidment and David Tarboton in advancing hydroinformatics. We are just now beginning to get a sense of the dividends that that work might bring with the emergence of continental-scale hydrologic modeling.

I have learned so much over the years at CUAHSI and believe that we have a strong foundation to continue the advancement of hydrologic science.

—Richard P. Hooper, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Robert L. Wesson received the 2017 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 13 December 2017 in New Orleans, La. The award honors an “individual or small group who personifies the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Throughout his career at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Rob Wesson’s leadership of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) expanded the scope and impact of earthquake hazards research, in partnership with academic institutions, governments, and researchers around the world. He played keys roles in launching and maintaining NEHRP, in developing international cooperation in earthquake research, and in creating a supportive environment that fostered more than two generations of U.S. earthquake scientists.

As a principal coauthor of the -Newmark–Stever Report, Earthquake Prediction and Hazards Mitigation Options for USGS and NSF Programs, he helped bring the U.S. earthquake program into existence and later helped develop the implementation plan of the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977. As chief of the Office of Earthquake Studies, he directed NEHRP in its infancy, building coalitions and bridges between government agencies and between government and academic researchers, including a key role in establishing the Southern California Earthquake Center. Rob understood the importance of fully engaging the academic community in NEHRP. Under his leadership, the USGS shaped its extramural research program to allow university scientists working on critical problems to become full partners in NEHRP. This partnership remains today as a cornerstone of NEHRP.

Rob Wesson has the highest appreciation for the value of solid science but is always careful to ensure that individual and institutional engagement is not ignored. In the early 1970s, he seized on the thawing relations between the United States and the Soviet Union to conduct joint seismological fieldwork in Soviet Tajikistan (with U.S. government seismometers and radios). By gaining the trust and respect of the leading Soviet scientists, he helped open a door in the Iron Curtain for decades of fruitful collaboration between American and Russian scientists.

When the Loma Prieta earthquake struck in 1989, NEHRP was under increasing fiscal pressure, as the growth envisioned in the -Newmark–Stever Report never happened. Rob used this destructive event to make compelling arguments for expansion of NEHRP, and he secured a major increase in the congressional appropriation that continues to this day.

Rob Wesson’s ability to stimulate the U.S. research community, engage with international partners, and implement a complex and societally important program lies at the crossroads between research, policy, and practice and makes him a fitting recipient of the Flinn Award.

—Bill Ellsworth, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.


Thanks so much to Bill Ellsworth and colleagues for nominating me for the Flinn Award and to AGU for granting it. I am tickled. I got to know Ted Flinn long ago when he recruited me for a job. As I left grad school in 1970 to join the USGS, competition among institutions seemed a dominant theme in Earth science. Today, while this competition remains strong and healthy, our science is promoted and facilitated by a variety of collaborative structures. I am proud to have contributed. Bob Hamilton lured me to Reston in 1976. Immediately, I joined him in working on the -Newmark–Stever report and the struggle for a significant funding increase for earthquake science and engineering. Bob had overseen the consolidation of the former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs into the USGS and engineered the beginning of USGS collaboration with university researchers. The -Newmark–Stever process and the resulting funds enhanced collaboration among the USGS and the National Science Foundation; government, universities, and the private sector; and engineers and Earth and social scientists. This same widely shared vision led to the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977. After contributing to the drafting of the act and an implementation plan prepared by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and fighting the first battles to maintain the funds, I left the earthquake program for the director’s office at the USGS, just in time for the eruption of Mount St. Helens, then went back to OSTP for another earthquake report. After a brief respite in research, I returned to the management of the USGS earthquake and volcano programs in 1988, at what became a very busy time for the travails of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions but also for opportunities to increase support for research and mitigation actions. Building and maintaining support for significant research programs need to be viewed as a political process in that they require identifying and meeting the needs of a variety of constituencies with differing, and often conflicting, priorities—a commonly uncertain and stressful undertaking. Increased support for regional efforts, including the Southern California Earthquake Center and Alaska Volcano Observatory, grew from that time. I have felt the support of many people. Especially deserving note are Bob Hamilton, Vince Mc-Kelvey, Dallas Peck, Bill Menard, Doyle Frederick, Frank Press, Lynn Sykes, Kei Aki, Phil Smith, John Filson, Randy Updike, Virgil Frizzell, Art Frankel, Jill McCarthy, but many, many others. My deepest thanks to all.

—Robert L. Wesson, Geologic Hazards Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.

Pavel Groisman received the 2016 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 14 December 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors an “individual or small group who personifies the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Over the past 10 years Dr. Pavel “Pasha” Groisman, an AGU Fellow since 2010 and the leading U.S. climate expert on northern Eurasia, has made an outstanding contribution to the scientific community through his leadership and coordination of the Northern Eurasia Earth Science Partnership Initiative (-NEESPI). Pasha’s dedication and commitment have contributed to -NEESPI’s growth into a major international, -multi–institutional program with close to 200 projects involving about 800 scientists from 30 countries. Most notably, under Pasha’s leadership, -NEESPI has facilitated very close interactions between U.S. and regional scientists, particularly in Russia, during the past decade’s “window of opportunity” when -U.S.–Russia scientific relations developed considerably in comparison to the past and present situation.

Pasha’s commitment to education fostered cultivating a new generation of -early–career scientists, with several dozens of graduate and postgraduate students engaged in quantifying mechanisms regarding how this -carbon-rich, cold region component of the Earth system functions as a regional entity with interaction and feedback to the greater global system. Despite an initial lack of a remote sensing background, Pasha became a proponent of incorporating space observations in -NEESPI science. Early in the program, he recognized the value of remote sensing tools for studying ecosystem processes across the vast, often inaccessible territory of northern Eurasia.

Pasha’s extraordinary efforts in conducting -NEESPI activities have been instrumental in promoting -NEESPI’s visibility at scientific assemblies of AGU, the European Geosciences Union, and the Japan Geoscience Union. Consequently, Pasha edited five special journal issues (four in Environmental Research Letters and one in Global and Planetary Change) that comprised over 130 selected papers. Much of the progress that our community has made over the past decade would not have been possible without Pasha’s dedication, leadership, and unselfish coordinating efforts.

In summary, Pasha Groisman’s scientific coordination and facilitation of numerous activities, along with his strong connections to the regional science community, have made -NEESPI a real success story. The AGU Edward A. Flinn III Award is given for “unselfish cooperation in research.” Through his dedicated commitment to community service, his motivation, and his leadership, Pasha has clearly earned this recognition from the AGU community.

—Garik Gutman, NASA, Washington, D.C.


I am very grateful for this award. It is my understanding that it is related to my work during the past 15 years on organizing and functioning of the Northern Eurasia Earth Science Partnership Initiative (-NEESPI). -NEESPI began as a joint endeavor of NASA and the Russian Academy of Sciences. However, very quickly (in a few years), the initiative included several hundred scientists from 30 countries having their funded projects that addressed various aspects of functioning of the northern Eurasia environment and its societies. To some extent, we were “lucky” with our subject of study, northern Eurasia. The changes here have been and probably will be among the largest on the Earth. Some aspects of these changes (in the carbon and water cycles, cryosphere, and air pollution) have -near–global impact. Socioeconomic experiments here in land use and water management, and in societal life itself, provided us harsh lessons of what to do and, alas, what never should be done to the Earth system. Therefore, it was relatively easy to argue that the studies in northern Eurasia should be done ASAP and that the local scientific communities have to be empowered enough to be ready for new challenges.

This award is given for “unselfish cooperation in research.” But all these years, I have been selfish serving as a -NEESPI project scientist. Bringing people from different continents together; organizing special -NEESPI journal issues, overview books, and dedicated science sessions around the world; and promoting -early–career scientists (more than 80 of them have grown from the -NEESPI cradle) gave me a feeling of purpose and actual joy. That’s all. Thank you!

—Pavel Groisman, Hydrology Science and Services Corporation, Asheville, N.C.; and P. P. Shirshov Institute for Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow


As program directors at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Earth Sciences for the last 20 years, Robin Reichlin and Sonia Esperança have played an exceptionally important role in advocating for, nurturing, and supporting the research community in solid Earth sciences, through combined efforts in their respective fields of specialty (geophysics and geochemistry and petrology). They have achieved an unprecedented level of respect and admiration, as well as confidence and trust, from a highly discerning and typically critical research community. By carrying out their responsibilities as program directors with outstanding dedication, they have provided leadership for geochemistry and geophysics, exercising deep understanding of research quality and frontiers. Moreover, working as a team, Robin and Sonia have been instrumental in the development of key multidisciplinary infrastructure for geosciences that has changed the way in which we conduct our research. They have looked for ways to make new programs happen in the context of planning within NSF, often within a restricted fiscal climate, and have promoted workshops and meetings to refine the goals to make the cases convincing. In many situations, they have identified new research opportunities and laid the groundwork for new programs even before most of the research community was fully aware of them. Examples of programs they have helped happen and sustain, among others, are Cooperative Studies of Earth’s Deep Interior (CSEDI), Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER), Computational Infrastructure in Geodynamics (CIG), Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES), and Meeting of Young Researchers in Earth Sciences (MYRES). Notably, they have played an important role in establishing the Frontiers in Earth System Dynamics program (FESD). The stewardship of these important programs and their many other community activities have benefitted a large segment of the Earth science community. Clearly, many individuals at NSF and in the community have helped all these programs come to life and be sustained. However, Robin and Sonia’s contributions stand out for their exceptional ability to communicate with the community and help researchers articulate their needs, as well as identify the highest and scientifically most worthy initiatives, embrace them, and advocate for them at NSF. In summary, Robin and Sonia have sustained excellence in NSF’s geoscience programs and tirelessly advocated on behalf of the Earth sciences research community to develop new programs and open up new research opportunities. The Flinn Award is a fully deserved and modest recognition of their contributions. —Barbara Romanowicz, University of California, Berkeley


We are deeply honored to be the co--recipients of the 2015 Edward A. Flinn III Award, and wish to thank the AGU awards committee, and our Earth sciences community colleagues for this recognition. We are proud to join a group of outstanding awardees that has worked on behalf of the geosciences, including one of our mentors at NSF, Daniel Weill. Dan showed us how to be effective advocates for the novel research of the community within the NSF.  We are also excited to share this award because early on we recognized that through a close partnership, we could best promote new facilities and research directions. The rapid advance of the frontiers of solid--Earth geosciences has sustained us through the many hurdles and setbacks along that path. We have shared a passion for the science, the people engaged in research, and a vision for a comprehensive, integrated understanding of the physical and chemical functioning of the Earth. We were lucky to be supported at home by our husbands, Steve Bohlen and Rick Carlson, who understood our determined minds and respected our devotion to promoting the health of our communities. We also shared being mothers to our children, Jesse, and Taylor, Hunter, Annie, and Sallie, and the tough decisions made to balance career and life, giving us an appreciation for similar issues faced by a new generation of scientists. Among the many rewards of fighting for new science and the funding to support it are the opportunities to work closely with many of the greatest minds and visionaries in the field, and to watch the development of students who have grown and emerged as new leaders in the geosciences. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to nurture emerging ideas and technologies that have paved the path to new understanding, and to view the research community and their science from a synoptic viewpoint. The joy is in looking back over 20--plus years to see the enormous growth in the breadth, sophistication, and integration of -solid-​Earth science and how every discovery benefits knowledge and society. Though recognized as individuals, we know that it is the concerted and persistent efforts of many that bring success. We are but two members of a team of program directors united in a passionate desire to facilitate understanding of the beautiful mysteries of the Earth. We feel deeply fortunate to have played a part. Thank you. —Sonia Esperança and Robin Reichlin, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.


As program directors at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Earth Sciences for the last 20 years, Robin Reichlin and Sonia Esperança have played an exceptionally important role in advocating for, nurturing, and supporting the research community in solid Earth sciences, through combined efforts in their respective fields of specialty (geophysics and geochemistry and petrology). They have achieved an unprecedented level of respect and admiration, as well as confidence and trust, from a highly discerning and typically critical research community. By carrying out their responsibilities as program directors with outstanding dedication, they have provided leadership for geochemistry and geophysics, exercising deep understanding of research quality and frontiers. Moreover, working as a team, Robin and Sonia have been instrumental in the development of key multidisciplinary infrastructure for geosciences that has changed the way in which we conduct our research. They have looked for ways to make new programs happen in the context of planning within NSF, often within a restricted fiscal climate, and have promoted workshops and meetings to refine the goals to make the cases convincing. In many situations, they have identified new research opportunities and laid the groundwork for new programs even before most of the research community was fully aware of them. Examples of programs they have helped happen and sustain, among others, are Cooperative Studies of Earth’s Deep Interior (CSEDI), Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER), Computational Infrastructure in Geodynamics (CIG), Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES), and Meeting of Young Researchers in Earth Sciences (MYRES). Notably, they have played an important role in establishing the Frontiers in Earth System Dynamics program (FESD). The stewardship of these important programs and their many other community activities have benefitted a large segment of the Earth science community. Clearly, many individuals at NSF and in the community have helped all these programs come to life and be sustained. However, Robin and Sonia’s contributions stand out for their exceptional ability to communicate with the community and help researchers articulate their needs, as well as identify the highest and scientifically most worthy initiatives, embrace them, and advocate for them at NSF. In summary, Robin and Sonia have sustained excellence in NSF’s geoscience programs and tirelessly advocated on behalf of the Earth sciences research community to develop new programs and open up new research opportunities. The Flinn Award is a fully deserved and modest recognition of their contributions. —Barbara Romanowicz, University of California, Berkeley


We are deeply honored to be the co--recipients of the 2015 Edward A. Flinn III Award, and wish to thank the AGU awards committee, and our Earth sciences community colleagues for this recognition. We are proud to join a group of outstanding awardees that has worked on behalf of the geosciences, including one of our mentors at NSF, Daniel Weill. Dan showed us how to be effective advocates for the novel research of the community within the NSF.  We are also excited to share this award because early on we recognized that through a close partnership, we could best promote new facilities and research directions. The rapid advance of the frontiers of solid--Earth geosciences has sustained us through the many hurdles and setbacks along that path. We have shared a passion for the science, the people engaged in research, and a vision for a comprehensive, integrated understanding of the physical and chemical functioning of the Earth. We were lucky to be supported at home by our husbands, Steve Bohlen and Rick Carlson, who understood our determined minds and respected our devotion to promoting the health of our communities. We also shared being mothers to our children, Jesse, and Taylor, Hunter, Annie, and Sallie, and the tough decisions made to balance career and life, giving us an appreciation for similar issues faced by a new generation of scientists. Among the many rewards of fighting for new science and the funding to support it are the opportunities to work closely with many of the greatest minds and visionaries in the field, and to watch the development of students who have grown and emerged as new leaders in the geosciences. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to nurture emerging ideas and technologies that have paved the path to new understanding, and to view the research community and their science from a synoptic viewpoint. The joy is in looking back over 20--plus years to see the enormous growth in the breadth, sophistication, and integration of -solid-​Earth science and how every discovery benefits knowledge and society. Though recognized as individuals, we know that it is the concerted and persistent efforts of many that bring success. We are but two members of a team of program directors united in a passionate desire to facilitate understanding of the beautiful mysteries of the Earth. We feel deeply fortunate to have played a part. Thank you. —Sonia Esperança and Robin Reichlin, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.

Daniel J. Fornari received the 2014 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 17 December 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Anyone familiar with Daniel J. Fornari will attest to his energy, creativity, and dedication to advancing the field of marine geology. His tireless and unselfish commitment to leading and facilitating deep-sea research and the development of instrumentation for the oceanographic community makes him an ideal recipient of the Edward A. Flinn III Award. Dan is one of a rare breed of geoscientists who is capable of successfully managing people, mentoring young scientists, implementing development of new tools, facilitating expeditions, interpreting data, and generating significant and -thought--provoking publications. He is energetic, imaginative, organized, and exceedingly generous in providing his time and expertise to advance oceanographic research and technology development.

Without a doubt, Dan’s leadership and contributions to the ocean sciences community over the past 40 years have been exceptional. Few researchers have freely given as much time and effort for the betterment of our field. He has been a driving force behind many successful and important collaborative field programs that led to groundbreaking results in understanding seafloor volcanic and hydrothermal processes. Dan has led many of these programs and acted as a facilitator for numerous others, especially helping inexperienced and young investigators be successful with their research. Dan has a unique and highly valuable combination of skills, energy, and dedication that makes it possible for others to succeed.

Some of Dan’s greatest contributions have come through leadership roles he played as a chair of the Ridge 2000 Program, as director of the Ocean Exploration Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and as the chief scientist for Deep Submergence at WHOI. The innovations he has fostered have profoundly improved the investigative capabilities of all scientists who have used University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) deep submergence assets in the National Deep Submergence Facility. Much of the progress that our community has made over the past 2 decades would not have been possible without Dan’s determination and efforts.

In summary, I know of few other geoscientists who have been as capable and willing to help others accomplish their research as Dan. He has exemplified a spirit of leadership and cooperation in his scientific career through fostering scientific inquiry into important problems, development of instrumentation, tireless advocacy for advancing deep submergence technology, and his mentorship of young investigators. He epitomizes the AGU motto of “unselfish cooperation in research,” making him a superb recipient of this award.

—Michael R. Perfit, University of Florida, Gainesville


I am humbled to accept this prestigious honor. My sincere thanks to AGU and to Mike Perfit, Susan Humphris, Mark Kurz, and Ken Macdonald for our scientific partnerships over the past 30-plus years, their generous citation, and nominations for the 2014 Edward A. Flinn III award.

When I began my career in 1970, on the maiden voyage of Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s R/V Melville, I quickly realized that successful oceanographic research requires selfless cooperation and numerous and varied collaborations. The dedication and experience of ship captains and crews permit us to spend long periods at sea collecting vital data. The expertise of engineering and technical personnel at operating institutions leads to development of innovative vehicles and sensors that help resolve and record oceanographic processes. Close intellectual connections between peers and students, which often reach across disciplinary boundaries, answer research questions and instigate new lines of inquiry.

It truly takes a community to carry out successful oceanographic research. This award helps to commemorate the dedication and significant progress made by the oceanographic community that accepted me as a young student 44 years ago and that I have helped to guide over the past 3 decades.

The study of a vast array of oceanographic problems and a greater understanding of the -Earth--ocean system, holistically, can significantly contribute to better stewardship of our planet. This requires an elevated national priority for funding basic research and nurturing scientific education and public outreach. Of equal importance is continued support of technical innovation to study the oceans.

It has been my privilege to work with mentors and program managers who believed not only in these ideals but [in] my contributions toward those goals. I’ve been blessed with colleagues who shared their love of and dedication to exploring and studying volcanic and hydrothermal processes throughout the global ocean and students who contributed to my career by stimulating new ideas or approaches to solving problems.

I could not have accomplished all I have without the loving support and patience of my family. My wife, CL, has been my guiding light and love for 45 years. My sons, Sasha and Simon, supported my work, tolerated my absences, and thought their dad was both weird and cool because he got to dive in Alvin and play with -deep--diving robots. I thank my parents and my brother Jim for their love and support, always. My colleagues have my deepest gratitude for their trust and collaboration and my hope that their research continues to push at the frontiers of ocean science knowledge.

—Daniel J. Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

John L. LaBrecque received the 2013 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Ted Flinn and John LaBrecque followed remarkably, perhaps eerily, similar career paths. Ted started as a seismologist, John as a tectonician and sea­going geophysicist. Both decided to rededicate their efforts toward supporting the geophysical community, recognizing that it depends ever more critically on global, space-based measurements and observations. Ted did that a decade after the 1968 Williamstown conference, and John did it a decade after the 1988 Coolfont conference. Both of these history-making conferences focused on the geophysical uses of space assets to study the planet.

Both careers were highlighted by signature space missions: Laser Geodynamics Satellite (LAGEOS) 1 and 2 and related satellites for Ted, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and now GRACE-FO for John; Magnetic Field Satellite (MAGSAT) for Ted and Oersted and Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) for John. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), TOPEX­Poseidon, Jason 1 and 2, GRACE, Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), and other successful geodetic missions have studded John’s tenure. He will leave the field with an exciting list of planned endeavors.

Even more importantly, both of these leaders realized the critical importance of deploying a global geodetic ground segment to the success of Earth observation from space, and both devoted much of their career to this goal. This is, of course, the underpinning of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). The job of facilitating the realization and maintenance of the ITRF is where AGU’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research” is unusually well illustrated: The task calls for diplomatic international collaboration, balanced coordination of multiple techniques deployed in parallel, and an unswerving commitment to open data. It represents a critical, but rarely acknowledged, foundation of all Earth observations from space. Yet because it is perceived as a “service” activity, science agencies worldwide are reluctant to invest very much in it, especially in view of the long-term commitment it requires. This leaves those who manage the activity in the frustrating position of perennially justifying their existence on the basis of what is perceived as “merely” incremental progress.

Thus, it takes a rather special kind of scientist, with a strong sense of community service, to tackle this obligation, with little prospect for personal benefit or recognition. Both Ted and John have made that choice in their day. In that sense, John LaBrecque is today the undeniable bearer of the flame once held by Ted Flinn, with the huge difference that since the late 1970s, accuracies have improved by nearly 1 order of magnitude per decade; spatial coverage and time resolution have improved even faster. So time dependence is now accessible and is not only interesting but critical to address wonderfully current questions, such as sea level change and its geographical distribution, polar cap dynamics, or even a possible coming reversal of the geomagnetic field. As of today, the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) is clearly one of the most effective components of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). This is due in no small measure to the steady efforts of John LaBrecque and his colleagues worldwide. This legacy will endure.

Dr. John LaBrecque is a most deserving recipient of AGU’s 2013 Edward A. Flinn III Award.

—JEAN BERNARD MINSTER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla


Thank you, Jean Bernard Minster and those who supported my nomination for the Edward A. Flinn III Award. We owe so much to colleagues such as Bernard Minster who support NASA and Earth Science with unrelenting and unselfish service. I am also grateful to my parents, the people of Lewiston, Maine, and the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958 for nurturing my early interest in science with an education that ultimately led me to Columbia University and the Lamont­Doherty Earth Observatory. Lamont for me was a scientific wonderland tended by scientists with global appetites for discovery and adventure. Marine geophysics, geomagnetism, and satellite altimetry of the oceans were creating a revolution of discovery, and Lamont was the center of this revolution. I owe so much to my mentor and dear friend, Walter C. Pitman III, who showed me that great science was accomplished through boundless curiosity, perseverance, and, most of all, humility.

My later career at NASA is blessed with the strong support of NASA upper management and the brilliance, dedication, and hard work of the scientists, engineers, and managers that contribute to NASA’s Space Geodesy Program. I am especially appreciative of those at the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The seminal Watertown Report (1970) called for the development of space geodetic systems to extend our understanding of the geodynamics and ocean dynamics of the Earth System. Ted Flinn built upon the vision of the Watertown scientific assembly and initiated modern space geodetic science. We use the magic of geodetic science and technology whether traveling to Aunt Sally’s home, monitoring the sea level rise, studying the dynamics of ice sheets and the Earth’s crust, or improving communications—space geodetic science and technology have become a critical asset to modern society. Although it is not yet a verb, “GPS” has replaced “xerox” in our daily language.

The last 2 decades witnessed the near collapse of essential space geodetic infrastructure while space geodetic science and its applications were growing. This decline is being reversed by the activism of the geodetic community through the National Research Council, the support of NASA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and the many international agencies and institutions that support the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS). GGOS is reinventing its global observing infrastructure and analysis systems. The new Global Navigation Satellite Systems including GPS III, Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), Beidou, Galileo, Quasi­Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), and Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) will accelerate the development of new capabilities and applications of space geodesy to our science and our society.

My Edward A. Flinn Award can be traced to the late 1950s with the establishment of NASA and the support to education by the NDEA. Let us secure continuing scientific advances through a new generation of scientists and engineers that will emerge from our nation’s strong support for education in science, technology, engineering, and math. Finally, I owe so much to Shirley Winkler for her unconditional support despite my long hours away from home and for sharing me with my other love—Earth science.

—JOHN L. LABRECQUE, NASA, Washington, D.C.

Robert Cooper Liebermann


Jarvis L. Moyers received the Edward A. Flinn III Award posthumously at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 7 December 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Preparing this citation was something of a bittersweet honor, but a task certainly made easier by the fact that Jarvis R. Moyers is so clearly an outstanding choice for the Edward A. Flinn III Award. Jarvis was involved with atmospheric science for more than 4 decades, since 1970, when he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. His research there pioneered the field of reactive halogen chemistry in the troposphere, which has become something of a “cottage industry” today, and his research was among the first to show the importance of understanding the composition of airborne particles as a function of size.

From this early exposure to a new, exciting, and dynamic field, Jarvis became a significant “forcing factor” that propelled atmospheric sciences forward into its central position in geosciences today. At the time Jarvis first joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1976 as a rotator in the Research Applied to National Needs (RANN) program, the field of atmospheric sciences was in its infancy. Exciting new discoveries and hypotheses were emerging, including those that ultimately led to the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to F. Rowland, M. Molina, and P. Crutzen. However, growing and sustaining the field beyond this nascent stage over the next decades required the wisdom to see beyond the problems that were of immediate or near-term interest, as well as to appreciate the interconnectedness of different parts of the environment. In addition, it was critical to have leadership that encouraged and facilitated research and researchers from disparate backgrounds and interests to develop and pursue creative new ideas, singly in some cases, or, in others, to merge forces in addressing broad problems. It was atmospheric science’s good fortune that Jarvis returned to NSF in 1983, first as program director for atmospheric chemistry, then head of the Lower Atmosphere Research section, head of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)/Facilities section, director of the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, and then acting assistant director for geosciences.

It was at NSF that Jarvis came to play a central role in “facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities” in a very subtle, selfless, and understated manner that was “typical Jarvis.” Examples of the results of his efforts that have left a permanent mark on atmospheric sciences abound:

Jarvis was a major force in the development of the Global Tropospheric Chemistry Program in the mid-1980s, the first comprehensive approach to understanding chemistry and interconnected cycles on a global scale. Jarvis, in collaboration with his colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, organized several groundbreaking workshops on this topic that set a research agenda that has driven tropospheric chemistry research for 3 decades. For example, these workshops formed the basis of many extensive field campaigns that elucidated not only new atmospheric processes but also the importance of treating the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere as an integrated system. As a result, Jarvis was a central figure in shaping and implementing the multidisciplinary, multiagency U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program.

Jarvis played a key role in facilitating interagency support for rapid scientific responses to unique atmospheric situations, such as the Antarctic ozone hole and the Kuwaiti oil well fires in 1991, where it was critical to mobilize scientific field resources on a time scale probably not seen—or attempted—previously. In the case of the ozone hole, this provided policy makers with critical data that formed the basis of the success of the Montreal Protocol. These precedents set the stage for enabling rapid response to more recent unexpected events, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Jarvis has been described as a “sage” in a complex maze of federal science funding, able through his quiet, thoughtful, and commonsense approach to pull together people and programs from different agencies to support interdisciplinary science. The clear result was that the “whole was much greater than the sum of its parts.”

Jarvis was an important voice for and key supporter of the development of critical infrastructure needed to advance the field. For example, he oversaw development of the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research, a heavily utilized facility for atmospheric studies that has produced some exciting new insights in atmospheric processes.

Jarvis had the vision and patience to encourage research on some really difficult problems that were not going to be solved easily or quickly. These included such areas as heterogeneous chemistry on surfaces, which later proved to be key to understanding the Antarctic ozone hole, and the development of techniques to measure highly reactive, short-lifetime species such as the OH radical. His wisdom in encouraging what might have seemed at the time to be “blue sky” research of single investigators along with large, collaborative field campaigns advanced the field in ways that would not have happened without his leadership.

A long-lasting legacy is Jarvis’s impact on the atmospheric sciences research workforce. His one-on-one quiet mentoring of the “youngsters” in the field is well known, and he got enormous pleasure out of seeing young scientists succeed. He was a supporter of diversity in the sciences long before this issue was seriously considered. This has resulted in atmospheric sciences having one of the highest fractions of underrepresented groups involved in the science, particularly women. One of us (Barbara Finlayson-­Pitts) used to joke that an advantage of being a woman in science was that there were no crowds in the ladies’ room during breaks. Happily, this is no longer the case in atmospheric sciences, and one of the significant factors was Jarvis’s encouragement to many young scientists at the critical early stages of their careers.

On a bigger platform, Jarvis also played key roles in the development, support, and continuation of programs such as the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program at NCAR and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates to provide summer internships to students. While Jarvis thought big, he remembered that great scientists start small. For example, he was one of the first enthusiastic supporters of the Atmospheric Chemistry Conference for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESS) program and worked hard to help it to become a reality. ACCESS is a meeting of 25 recently minted (or soon-to-be-minted) Ph.D.s for several days before the Gordon Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry. The attendees present their research, network with each other and representatives from U.S. science and funding agencies, and have guaranteed acceptance in the Gordon Conference. A significant portion of today’s coming “stars” in the field are graduates of ACCESS, and many will tell you it was a key event in their early career development.

Unfortunately, Jarvis passed away on 22 June 2011 after a valiant battle with lung cancer. Although he did not learn of the award before his passing, Joan, his life’s partner and wife of 44 years, and Kevin, his son, were able to attend the honors ceremony. He did have the opportunity to experience the respect, admiration, and affection of his colleagues in a gathering at NSF on 8 July 2010. He enthusiastically shared this experience with subsequent visitors to his office.

In short, Jarvis was the “best of the best,” both personally and professionally. Atmospheric sciences will continue to feel his presence and benefit from his leadership, vision, and integrity for a very long time to come. He was a truly selfless enabler, supporter, mentor, and cheerleader for the field (and he would be totally embarrassed by this tribute!). His contributions were recognized in 2006 with the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for his “outstanding leadership and exemplary record of achievement in service to the nation’s science and engineering enterprise.” We speak for all of our atmospheric sciences colleagues when we say we feel very fortunate to have called him a colleague, a friend, and, most important, a spectacular human being who exemplifies the highest standards of the Edward A. Flinn III Award.

—Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine; and Robert A. Duce, Departments of Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, ­College Station

John R. Filson received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 15 December 2010 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors an “individual who personifies the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



Throughout his career, John R. Filson has been dedicated to the reduction of the risk earthquakes pose to the millions of Americans living in earthquake hazard zones. His selfless leadership of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (-NEHRP) at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) expanded the scope and impact of hazards research and applications within USGS; with university partners in cooperation with other NEHRP agencies; and in countries around the world.

For over 3 decades he played the critical leadership role in guiding the USGS earthquake and volcano research programs during a period of profound change as they matured scientifically and evolved to better meet societal needs while maintaining high scientific standards.

John was instrumental in establishing the U.S. National Seismic Network, transforming the Worldwide Standardized Seismographic Network (WWSSN) of the 1960s to the modern Global Seismographic Network (GSN); creating the Parkfield, Calif., earthquake experiment; and expanding earthquake and volcano hazards monitoring nationwide. He also played key leadership roles in negotiations with the former Soviet Union and with China that led to deployment of open seismograph stations in those countries and vigorous collaborative scientific research programs with them. He has carefully guided the development of these modern data sources for multiuse applications in fundamental research and applications in national and global earthquake reporting and nuclear test monitoring.

In the late 1990s, John recognized that the antiquated condition of the U.S. earthquake monitoring infrastructure was a key impediment to improving our understanding of the location and severity of future earthquakes and to the development of better seismic building codes and emergency management plans. To address this need, he spearheaded the development of the plan for an Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) and shepherded this plan through the labyrinth of the federal budget formulation and congressional authorization and appropriation processes. ANSS received over $19 million in America Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds that are rapidly fulfilling John’s vision of a national seismic infrastructure for seismological and engineering research and earthquake emergency response.

As a manager, John’s dedication has remained first and foremost to growing and nurturing the earthquake hazards program to best serve the needs of the nation and the world. He always trusted the scientists’ judgment in their choice of research topics and did an amazing job of shielding his staff from what seemed, at times, like ridiculous and never–ending bureaucratic dictates.

Since “retiring” in 2004, John has assisted the National Institute of Standards and Technology in assuming lead-agency responsibility for the NEHRP program and coauthored the NEHRP strategic plan. Today John continues to serve USGS as an advisor, particularly at the National Earthquake Information Center, where he has helped develop performance standards and planning documents during a period of rapid transition to 24/7 operations and greatly expanded responsibilities. In summary, John richly deserves the 2010 Edward A. Flinn III Award for his unselfish leadership in building and strengthening earthquake research infrastructure, expanding its funding base, and broadening its societal impact.

—WILLIAM L. ELLSWORTH and WAYNE THATCHER, Earthquake Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.


It is a great honor for me to receive the AGU Flinn Award, an honor enhanced by my having known and worked with Ted Flinn early in my career.

Anyone who has ever held a position in science management knows that nothing substantial is accomplished by oneself acting alone. It takes the cooperation and commitment of others who are willing to devote their energies and intellects to common causes. For more than 30 years it has been my great good fortune to work with many such gifted individuals. I owe so much to so many that a list of their names would fill several pages, and if I chose to recognize a few in this response I would appear to be neglecting many others.

Let me just say that in my years with the USGS’s Earthquake Hazards Program I have benefited from the advice and support of scientists within USGS and others in academia, at state and federal agencies, and in the private sector. I was blessed by associations with exceptional scientists and capable technical specialists at USGS offices at Menlo Park, Calif.; Golden, Colo.; and Albuquerque, N. M. Many of these individuals not only made lasting scientific contributions but also, whenever I asked, served selflessly in management and coordination roles within the earthquake program.

I am indebted to many individuals who continue to be crucial to the development of our national earthquake monitoring capability over the past 30 years. The contributions of these scientists are often hidden behind the data and products of national and regional data centers, but I know these results rest on their intellects, insights, and sense of duty. Similarly, I am grateful for the contributions many scientists made to hazard assessments and earthquake probability forecasts, contributions that are often virtually anonymous. To those in USGS administrative, support, and technical staffs, whose work falls into the sine qua non category: Thank you.

Many distinguished scientists from the external academic community have helped by serving on advisory committees and evaluation councils and were invaluable in their guidance and hard work on behalf of the program. You know you must be doing something right when individuals of such high caliber agree to participate and contribute on a pro bono basis. I thank the state geological surveys, particularly that of California, that were a continuous source of good will and cooperation in joint work.

The breadth and quality of the support I have witnessed over the years reinforces my view that science alone is beautiful, but science applied to societal needs is sublime.

I would like to thank my citationists, Bill Ellsworth and Wayne Thatcher, who, as they have over many years, continue to make me look good.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Anne, who, through long periods of absence during travel and other periods of disappointment and doubt, never failed in her support, understanding, and love.

—JOHN FILSON, Earthquake Hazards Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.

Jay S. Fein received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the Joint Assembly, held 26 May 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



I am honored to present Jay S. Fein, recipient of the 2009 AGU Edward A. Flinn III Award. I have known Jay for over 25 years and have often witnessed his deep commitment to leading and serving the atmospheric sciences community. This commitment goes well beyond what his program management job at the National Science Foundation calls for; Jay is visionary and insightful and has on many occasions supported high-risk innovative research that has proven to be watershed science. He has an uncanny ability to balance risk taking, leadership, and partnering with national and international agencies and community members on projects in a way that does not compromise his federal oversight responsibilities, and always in a humble and gracious manner.

Long ago Jay recognized the importance of pursuing parallel climate and weather paths in complex field campaigns in order to fundamentally understand the climate system. He has provided sage advice, and served as a brilliant mediator when necessary, in such major international field programs as the Monsoon Experiment (MONEX; 1979), Tropical Ocean–Global Atmosphere/Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA/COARE; 1992–1993), Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX; 1998), The Observing-System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific-Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC; 2008), and many others.

Jay saw the need for comprehensive global models early on. When Francis Bretherton, Dave Schimel, and I were organizing the community Climate System Modeling Project (CSMP) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jay encouraged, supported, and helped define the CSMP vision. CSMP evolved into the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) effort, which now includes over 300 scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and many universities and labs working to develop a fully coupled model of Earth’s climate system. Jay was instrumental in rallying the community behind CCSM and in obtaining computer resources for the model, which has been critical to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments.

Jay has also played a vital leadership role in pioneering satellite observing technology. He supported the high-risk but highly successful Global Positioning System/Meteorology (GPS/MET) program (1995–1997), which provided the first soundings of Earth’s atmosphere using the radio occultation technique. It took courage and foresight for Jay to embrace GPS/MET in the early 1990s, because at that time the radio occultation technique was virtually unknown to most atmospheric scientists. Jay then helped lead the Taiwan-U.S. Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) mission. COSMIC extended GPS/MET by launching six microsatellites in 2006 that provide between 1500 and 2000 soundings of the global atmosphere each day in near real time. The benefit of these soundings for numerical weather prediction has been demonstrated by leading weather centers around the world. COSMIC was an extremely complex program to organize, from the political as well as the scientific and technological side, requiring negotiations and coordination among five U.S. agencies and Taiwan. It never would have happened without Jay’s profound commitment and support.

In addition to his extraordinary scientific and organizational skills, Jay Fein is a true gentleman. He has had a major impact on science overall and on my career and that of many others. I am proud to call him my friend.

—RICHARD A. ANTHES, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado


I am deeply honored to be the 2009 recipient of AGU’s Edward A. Flinn III Award, and I thank AGU, its Award Nominations Committee, and, in particular, my nominators, Rick Anthes, Jack Fellows, and Roger Wakimoto.

Whatever successes have come my way, however, have less to do with me than with the brilliant and creative research scientists and institutional leaders I have had the pleasure to work with over the past several decades. I have been fortunate to be able to work in a science I love and with the best group of colleagues one could hope for. I have also been fortunate to witness the birth and maturation of “Earth system sciences,” the goal of which was enunciated in a presentation on 26 June 1986, by Francis Bretherton:

To obtain a scientific understanding of the entire Earth system on a global scale by describing how its component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all timescales.
He further pointed out that the impact of human activities poses an additional challenge:

To develop the capability to predict those changes that will occur in the next decade to century, both naturally and in response to human activities.
The worldwide communities of geoscientists, working with colleagues in many areas of science and applications, have made extraordinary advances in meeting these challenges posed over 2 decades ago. This is a remarkable testimony to the visionary brilliance of Bretherton and his peers, including past recipients of this award as well as my nominators. That I have been fortunate enough to be a part of this extraordinary group and this period of advancement has been delightful to me and also very gratifying.

—JAY S. FEIN, The Dallas Morning News, Texas

Judy C. Holoviak received the Flinn Award at the AGU Meeting of the Americas in 2008. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



One of the most important things on which our research depends is the dissemination of results through high-quality publications. Judy Holoviak is the personification of AGU’s long and successful struggle to build and maintain a stable of the highest-quality scientific journals in the geophysical sciences. In 1964, when Judy joined the staff at AGU, the entire Journal of Geophysical Research consisted of about 5500 pages and fit on a little over a foot of shelf space. By 2000, the year Judy was appointed deputy executive director of AGU, JGR published almost 30,000 pages, Geophysical Research Letters published about 4000 pages, Water Resources Research published about 3700 pages, and “newcomers” on the post-1964 scene each published over half as many pages as did all of JGR in 1964. A lion’s share of the credit for the growth—in the best senses of the word—of AGU publications over the past 50 years goes to Judy Holoviak. She was the single, constant factor in building and maintaining the publications structure at AGU over that time.

Judy continues to provide direction to AGU publications, during the so-called “transition to electronic publishing.” It is clear it was essential that AGU make the transition or risk having its publications become irrelevant. In the 1990s, John Orcutt, then chair of the Publications Committee, worked with Judy to formulate the plans and strategies that would guide AGU in the transition. It is a tribute to Judy’s leadership abilities and dedication to the publishing enterprise that these plans were followed and that we have the relatively stable situation we do today. With Judy’s oversight, AGU is in an excellent position to emerge from the electronic publications chaos that affected the entire scientific publication enterprise over the past decade or so in much the same way as it emerged from the tremendous growth years of the second half of the twentieth century: leading the field.

Judy’s dedication to scientific publishing transcends AGU. She helped to establish the Society for Scholarly Publishing, was president of the organization in 1990–1992, and was founding editor of Scholarly Publishing Today. She has also been president of the Association of Earth Science Editors. She has served on the governing board of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for many years and has served on and chaired several committees for AIP. Judy has donated time and energy in support of scientific publication broadly, and her achievements have reflected great credit on AGU. Finally, it is noteworthy that an Antarctic glacier was named for Judy in recognition of her publications management activities in support of work in Antarctica.

Judy C. Holoviak is a perfect recipient of the Edward A. Flinn III Award. She is indeed one of “the unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation and labors of love that build and maintain the structure without which our science could not flourish.”

—GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia, Charlottesville


I cannot find the words that adequately express the profound gratitude I have for you, the members of AGU, for allowing me to serve you for almost 45 years. I treasure the partnership that has existed between you and our staff at AGU headquarters. The dedication and energy that you have expended on behalf of the worldwide scientific community as you banded together as AGU members is truly amazing. It has been an honor to work with so many hard-working, creative, and dedicated individuals at headquarters. I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of all of the staff members whose efforts over the years have joined with yours in making AGU the dynamic organization that it is today.

—JUDY C. HOLOVIAK, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Publications, AGU

Several 2007 AGU Awards were presented at the Joint Assembly in Acapulco, Mexico. Winners were introduced by President Tim Killeen in a formal ceremony held on 25 May 2007. An honors fiesta followed the ceremony.



It is with great pleasure that we recognize and honor the accomplishments of Diane E. Wickland, the 2007 winner of the Edward A. Flinn III Award from the American Geophysical Union, for her pivotal contributions to the development of the emerging field of biogeosciences.

Diane Wickland has fundamentally shaped the emerging field of biogeosciences by championing programs aimed at quantifying the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the Earth system. These range from the early efforts to determine the controls on the global methane budget, through pioneering efforts to employ satellite remote sensing techniques to study ecosystems, to international field programs that aim to determine the role of ecosystems in the global climate and carbon cycles. It was the interdisciplinary nature of these programs, which required physical scientists to interact with chemists and biologists, that more than anything else led to the increased recognition of the role of the biota in the Earth system, and the rapid expansion of biogeosciences.

Diane’s efforts have been extraordinary, and truly broad in scope. Whether through efforts in spearheading interdisciplinary carbon cycle research within the U.S. Global Change Research Program, as the most visionary U.S. promoter of the international Large-Scale Atmosphere-Biosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), or as the program manager of the highly interdisciplinary NASA Terrestrial Ecology program, Diane serves the scientific community with skill, tremendous energy, and absolute integrity.

In particular, under Diane’s leadership, the NASA Terrestrial Ecology program has quickly grown from humble beginnings into an innovative global research program that combines remote sensing, computer modeling, and targeted field campaigns to examine the two-way linkages between terrestrial ecosystems and the Earth system. Most notably, her program has spearheaded U.S. participation in large-scale campaigns such as BOREAS and LBA, which have fundamentally changed our understanding of the role of biological systems in a changing planet.

How has Diane been so effective? We believe that she succeeds as a program manager and as a scientific leader because she is, at heart, a scientist. Her scientific background allowed her to convince ecologists of the value of remote sensing tools for studying ecosystems, as well as to convince geophysical scientists of the key role of the biosphere. Her continued understanding of the science underlying complex interactions between biosphere, atmosphere, and climate allows her to manage the Terrestrial Ecology program in a way that encourages discovery, innovation, and leadership by the scientists involved.

It is also important to note that throughout her career at NASA, Diane has always put science—and scientists—first. She has worked to promote the careers of younger scientists, assist in the training of new students and postdocs, and forge international partnerships for research and training. She works tirelessly on behalf of the scientific community, going the extra mile to negotiate complex international scientific agreements and taking a leadership role in U.S. interagency efforts to support carbon cycle and ecosystems research. Her service to the scientific community has been invaluable and unselfish.

In summary, it seems especially fitting that Diane, a visionary leader in promoting the emerging field of biogeosciences, is being recognized with an award acknowledging “unselfish cooperation in research.” We are all fortunate to have a colleague like Diane, who exemplifies these qualities so incredibly well.

—JONATHAN A. FOLEY, University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Susan Trumbore, University of California, Irvine


It is an honor to receive the 2007 Edward A. Flinn III Award, and I thank Jon Foley and Sue Trumbore for nominating me, the scientists who supported the nomination, and AGU for selecting me. The extremely generous citation is rather overwhelming! I will always treasure this award because it represents recognition from the scientific community I respect and serve.

This award is also very special to me because I had the pleasure of working with Ted Flinn early in my career with NASA. I recall the great passion and dedication he brought to his work. No one cared more about the science or worked so tirelessly for its future. To be associated with Ted in this way is a very high compliment!

For me, the great joys of scientific program management come from the scientific understanding and results that I enable and from helping to advance the careers of Earth system scientists. One of the great challenges in scientific program management is the imperative to constantly adjust the program balance in order to maintain high relevancy and achieve results in our continuously changing scientific, technological, societal, and political environments. It is a challenge to find ways to be effective while working within the large federal bureaucracy. I have struggled to facilitate the resolution of the scientific and interpersonal conflicts that occasionally impede scientific cooperation. This work is exciting, frustrating, and important (usually), but it often goes unheralded. Thus I find it heartening to see this type of scientific contribution recognized by AGU.

I have been enormously privileged to work with many fine scientists, engineers, and managers throughout my career and am deeply appreciative of the knowledge and skills I have acquired through close interactions with them. The very fact that this award is given for “unselfish cooperation” means that many others share credit for the contributions attributed to me. I can’t possibly name them all here, but I would like to acknowledge and thank certain groups of people. First and foremost, I thank the scientists who do the research, keep me current on the state of the science, and bear with the bureaucratic and programmatic exercises I put them through. My colleagues and bosses, past and present, at NASA have taught me about all aspects of program management and have enthusiastically offered their knowledge, experiences, and time to help solve problems. My program management counterparts in other U.S. government agencies, and especially the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group, have unselfishly committed to the teamwork necessary for advancing interagency and interdisciplinary cooperation in global change science. The scientists and managers in Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan, Africa, and elsewhere have been wonderful partners in building successful international scientific collaborations. Throughout, Paul (“The Bold”) Donis endured much and provided sorely needed encouragement and humor! I am very grateful to these people who all share in my achievements!

—DIANE E. WICKLAND, NASA, Washington, D.C.

Pembroke J. Hart received the Edward A. Flinn III Award on 25 May 2006 during the Honors Ceremony at the 2006 Joint Assembly in Baltimore, Md. The award honors individuals who personify AGU’s motto of “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing of activities.



A few years after completing his doctorate at Harvard University [Cambridge, Mass.], Pembroke Hart joined the staff of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) U.S. Committee for the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY). He embarked on a highly productive career of more than 30 years of staff support for major initiatives in the geophysical sciences within the NAS/NRC.

During those years, Hart played an important role in the following:

Preparing a monograph, sponsored by the International Upper Mantle Committee, on the current state of knowledge about the Earth’s crust and upper mantle. The book was published by AGU and was reprinted twice. It was by far the most successful of the AGU monographs of its time.
Coordinating data exchange through the World Data Center (WDC) System and supporting the work of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Panel on WDCs in the following years.
Preparing the final report in the series of IGY annals presenting the results of the IGY.
Coordinating with boards and committees in the NAS/NRC system to continue to carry out the basic research activities of the IGY (space science, polar research, ocean science, atmospheric science, solar-terrestrial physics, and geophysics).
Activating the bodies within the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) to carry forward IGY-inspired programs (notably, the International Year of the Quiet Sun in 1964-1965) and the Upper Mantle Project (UMP) in 1962-1970 and its successor programs in Geodynamics and the Lithosphere and their U.S. counterparts, as well as Geophysics Research Board activities such as the series of studies on the interaction between geophysics and society.
The success of the Upper Mantle Project prompted the initiation in 1970 of the International Geodynamics Project. Soon, a U.S. Geodynamics Committee was created within NAS/NRC. Charles Drake and Hart were prime movers. The success of the Geodynamics activities led, in turn, to establishment in 1980 of the Inter-Union Commission on the Lithosphere (ICL). Hart was invited to be the secretary general. His diverse responsibilities in NAS/NRC bodies precluded accepting this appointment, but Hart worked closely with Edward Flinn whom he had proposed for that position.

In 1991, Hart was uniquely honored by his election as a Lifetime Member of the ICSU Panel on World Data Centers, and in 1995 by election as a Lifetime Member of the International Commission on the Lithosphere.

The World Data Center System has been hailed as one of the hallmarks of IGY’s success. Hart should take considerable credit for this. His contributions to the IGY were recognized in 1963 by naming a geographic feature in the Antarctic ‘Hart Hills.’

Through my involvement in several NAS/NRC committees, I was able to observe Hart’s remarkable effectiveness in supporting the wide-ranging global activities of those committees. Others got the credit that Hart deserves, because he encouraged them to run with his ideas. He would give me and others quiet and modest instruction listing the problem, and its detailed history, and then he would suggest a plan of action. I often tried to get Hart to give his idea to the pertinent committee, but he always demurred.

He epitomizes “unselfish cooperation in research.” He should take considerable credit for several special activities, for example, the Continental Scientific Drilling Program and the concept of transects using multidisciplinary data. Both examples and others soon became part of the international programs.

Hart learned the importance of international, interdisciplinary cooperation early. This permeated the committees he has worked with and can be seen in their written products. Hart has been very much an unsung hero. I am very pleased to see him getting some of the credit he deserves.

—ROBIN BRETT, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.


It is a great honor to receive the Edward A. Flinn III Award of the American Geophysical Union.

AGU introduced me to the concept of “unselfish cooperation in research” in 1952. Five years later, the International Geophysical Year (IGY, 1957-1958) introduced me to an international program of cooperation in research.

The IGY was envisioned by a small group of AGU members. This well-designed program was remarkably successful in those early years of the cold war. Scientific cooperation was possible across frontiers that were otherwise significantly restricted. The impact of the IGY on design of future programs-they came to be called daughter programs of IGY-was immediate. The impact on AGU began during IGY and has been felt ever since.

In the following years, I became involved in a range of international geophysical programs especially in the solid Earth (International Upper Mantle Project, International Geodynamics Project, International Lithosphere Program), and in solar-terrestrial programs and the World Data Centers.

At this meeting of AGU, a session entitled “International Science Years on the Fiftieth Anniversary of IGY” has the following description: “Four international geoscience years, each focusing on a major facet of the IGY activities, are taking place around the time of the 50th Anniversary of the IGY: the International Polar Year (2007-2009), the International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009), the International Heliophysical Year (2007-2008), and the Electronic Geophysical Year (2007-2008).”

Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Those who designed the IGY were giants. They designed a program based on science that included what could be called a platform-this includes what we now call infrastructure-to enable the whole geophysical community to see farther. I am pleased to have had a role in making that platform more useful and effective for IGY and subsequent programs.

Edward Flinn himself was among those that I was able to help in a specific way. In 1980, I proposed him as the first secretary general of the International Commission on the Lithosphere, created by the International Union on Geodesy and Geophysics and the International Union of Geological Sciences to guide the International Lithosphere Program. He agreed to accept this appointment if I could arrange backup support (i.e., infrastructure) analogous to arrangements I had made for the international secretariats of the Upper Mantle Project, Solar-Terrestrial Physics, and World Data Centers. I was able to do that for the Lithosphere Program. Flinn served outstandingly.

I thank those who proposed me for this award. Then I look back, and thank those who provided guidance and leadership over the years, in particular, Merle Tuve, Charles Drake, Thomas Malone, Philip Abelson, Robin Brett, Herbert Friedman, William Hinze, Leon Knopoff, Jack Oliver, Frank Richter, Alan Shapley, and Ferris Webster. Also, I note the important role of three members of the staff of the US-IGY program: Hugh Odishaw, Phillip Mange, and Stanley Ruttenberg. I trust that many others who generously helped will graciously understand that they are among many.

I also wish to acknowledge the important help over the years of my wife, Grace.

—PEMBROKE J. HART, Washington, D.C.

Yvon Balut received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Ocean Sciences and Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Reception, which was held on 5 December 2005 in San Francisco, Calif. The award honors individuals who personify the Union’s motto of “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing of activities.



We nominated Yvon Balut for the Edward A. Flinn III Award because he exemplifies all the qualities of “unselfish cooperation in research” through facilitating, coordinating and implementing of research activities, mostly in paleoceanography and the study of Quaternary climate change.

Yvon Balut has exceptional qualities. He is an engineer who, over the years, developed and perfected the now well known Calypso corer, which can return undisturbed sediments from the deep ocean. The record length of recovery is now 64 meters for a continuous core. This is a feat that no oceanographic institution has been able to match. In order to develop this corer, Balut has gained an excellent knowledge of coring materials, geological material to be recovered from the ocean floor and, at times, from great depths. Over the years, Balut participated in all marine coring operations and has always taken the leading role of directing the coring preparations and operations.

Everyone who has been at sea with Yvon Balut has learned to appreciate his engineering skills, but more importantly, the patience with which he has handled the many difficulties one has to frequently face at sea. Yvon Balut is always eager to please the researchers and ensures that they eventually obtain the best possible material for study. Yvon Balut spends numerous days at sea; on average, well over 200 days a year, to the service of science and with the commitment of continuously improving the technology he has designed. Since 1993, he has conducted over 50 voyages at sea.

The foresight of Balut to design and develop the Calypso corer required an extremely long research vessel with a special deck to deploy/offload and return the corer on the ship. It is of no surprise, therefore, to learn that Balut took the initiative to design the replacement for the original Marion Dufresne vessel, which is called Marion Dufresne II, now the pride of the French Polar Institute. The second role of the Marion Dufresne II is to transport, four times a year, personnel and equipment between the French territorial islands in the Indian Ocean under the auspices of the French Overseas Administration. Once again, it is well known that Balut has juggled the time spent in the Indian Ocean in order to permit the vessel to conduct research, mostly through coring, in all the world’s oceans. In a number of ways, Balut definitely demonstrated a strong will in helping the scientific community and giving it much priority over other tasks to be performed by the vessel.

The creation of the IMAGES (International Marine Past Global Changes Study) program, part of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program and PAGES (Past Global Changes), that has enabled the international scientific community to join efforts in order to study environmental changes recorded in the oceans, often at a very high resolution, could not have been envisaged without the contribution of Yvon Balut in a number of ways. Quaternary science has taken a large step forward, thanks to Yvon Balut.

—PATRICK DE DEKKER Australian National University, Canberra


Mr. President, dear colleagues:

First, I would like to thank all of you for your presence. This is indeed a great honor for me to receive this award from such a prestigious scientific union. I would like to thank Tom [Note to readers: Patrick De Deckker wrote the above citation but because he could not attend the event it was presented by Tom Pedersen] for this very flattering speech summarizing my activities.

However, I would like to say that my activities toward marine science, and paleoclimatology in particular, are not only of my own. They originate from a permanent collaboration between researchers whom I met with pleasure in laboratories and, especially, by working with them on board the Marion Dufresne II. I would like to nominate here the initiator of the IMAGES program, Nick Pisias, Nick Shackleton, Laurent Labeyrie, and Michael Sarnthein as a major director of the program.

The idea of developing a new generation of heavy and extremely long corers suitable for paleoclimate research programs emanates from these discussions carried out while at sea with the researchers. Then came the concept of building the Marion Dufresne II, which is especially adapted to perform these coring tasks and to embark significantly large research teams while enjoying typical French comfort.

I would like to draw your attention to two very important points: The Marion Dufresne II would not exist without the constant support of the directors of the French Polar Institute, originally set to focus on the polar areas. These people helped me a lot and financially supported the new focus in oceanography.

The second remark is more personal and concerns my relations with researchers. I did sail on board the Marion Dufresne II all over the world, between the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as all along the east and west coasts of the United States. These contacts proved very important for me.

The longest core so far recovered is still 65.5 meters (a world record) and took place in the Gulf of California. I would even say that the most original core record (but not the easiest one to achieve) is, in my opinion, held by the U.S. Geological Survey in the Chesapeake Bay with only one meter of water under the ship’s hull.

I particularly enjoy working with researchers from all over the world, and this has provided me with great pleasure and much satisfaction. I can honestly say that I have many great friends worldwide.

It has been a privilege to contribute much toward the progress of marine and paleoclimate science through those precious friendships.

Thank you, Mr. President, thank you to the AGU selection committee, and thank you to all of you for your kindness.

—YVON BALUT, French Polar Institute, Plouzané, France

Joseph H. King received the Flinn Award at the AGU Joint Assembly Honors Ceremony, which was held on 19 May 2004 in Montreal, Canada. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



“The acquisition, dissemination, and archiving of data are among the most important underpinnings of all of modern geophysics. The American Geophysical Union and its members have been leaders on an international basis for the unselfish sharing of global geophysics data. The World Data Center system set up as a result of the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958 was a key step in assuring that spacecraft data would be available for active scientific analysis, and would be accessible for future generations of geophysicists. I cite here one of the most central individuals in the challenging arena of acquisition, distribution, and archiving of space data: Dr. Joseph H. King.

“For the past 11 years, Dr. King was the head of the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC). Dr. King created, facilitated, and oversaw many of the services that NSSDC has provided for the space science community. These services include data and information management and dissemination; data acquisition services for various projects; standards development and information distribution; value-added services for data sets; data format development; and other interdisciplinary services. He was instrumental in reviving the NSSDC with new and important collections of data as well as the essential new technology approaches to data and information systems.

“NSSDC data dissemination is leading to the publication of significant new science. In the last 5 years, more than 400 science papers have acknowledged NSSDC data or services. To make such facilitation happen requires the ability of the NSSDC director to manage a staff of nearly seventy people; interact constantly with projects providing data; assure the data-seeking community is satisfied with products and services; and report progress to NASA management to assure the continued flow of funding. The director must also continue to improve the service for the community through constant upgrades of technology and technique. Dr. King has carried out these diverse duties with energy, enthusiasm, and strong commitment to the communities served.

“Dr. King also headed the World Data Center for Satellite Information (WDC-SI). This has the task of tracking rocket and satellite launches and making the information known to the general community. Dr. King used the collocation of the NSSDC and the WDC to aid the efficiency of distribution of NSSDC data to the world community. Dr. King has long been a respected WDC member and has influenced data policy worldwide through the data center system.

“Dr. King is perhaps most known for his heliospheric data curation efforts. Almost single-handedly, Dr. King created, maintained, updated, and put online the [email protected] data set. OMNI data are a 38-year compilation of hourly solar wind data from many spacecraft. This data set alone receives an average of over 1300 requests per year. Dr. King started the development of the OMNI database in the 1970s and has led this development ever since. The OMNI data contain over 30 measured and derived parameters of the solar wind at one-hour resolution. It is without doubt that these data have become the most-used database ever constructed for understanding solar wind influences on the Earth (and other planetary) magnetospheres.

“Finally, Dr. King long served as the IMP-8 Project Scientist. He continued to advocate the importance of this spacecraft to the science community and to NASA. IMP-8 was launched in 1973 and is still providing quality data today.

“In conclusion, I believe that Joe King’s dedicated science service, scientific publications, and unselfishness in support of the space science community make him an outstanding recipient of the Edward A. Flinn Award. Dr. King’s efforts in support of facilitating space science research have been truly remarkable. I congratulate AGU for recognizing him in this way.”

—DANIEL BAKER, University of Colorado, Boulder


“I’m very honored to accept the 2004 Edward Flinn Award, and I thank the American Geophysical Union for recognizing my efforts in this way.

“I first joined NASA’s National Space Science Data Center only about 12 years after the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year. The IGY stimulated quantum leaps forward in the international geophysical data environment. Since then, we’ve continued making steady progress in data management such that today, a large fraction of space science and geophysical data is electronically findable and retrievable. Now, as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the IGY, we are preparing for various anniversary celebrations, I*Y initiatives, and an electronic geophysical year initiative. An important goal of science data management is to ensure the long-term, correct, and independent usability of all or most of the science potential of the data produced by expensive spaceflight and other instruments. This means that a graduate student can take one or more data sets and appropriate supporting material and analyze the data correctly without having to go back to that data set’s original creators or experts. For their part, data set creators and experts need to create this accompanying documentation and other supporting material because their personal availability to help new users of their data is likely to end before the science potential of the data ends.

“There have been a great many players involved in bringing the National Space Science Data Center to its current state of community respect, as symbolized by this award to me. Let me thank NSSDC’s data providers, many at this meeting and some no longer with us. Let me thank those users of NSSDC data and services who, through their feedback, have enabled us to continually improve our offerings. Let me encourage all of you, in using the data or services from any organization like NSSDC, to be free with your constructive feedback so that those organizations may serve you and your colleagues even better.

“Let me thank the staff of the National Space Science Data Center, government and contractor, scientists, IT professionals, and data operations personnel, for their dedication and effectiveness in pursuing good data management practices and in helping NSSDC to meet its customers’ needs and expectations.

“Over the past several years, while I’ve been mostly busy managing the core NSSDC activities, I’ve been very fortunate in being able to pursue the definition and development of several value-added space physics data products and interfaces like the OMNI data set and its OMNIWeb interface. This has been my fun. There have been a small number of NSSDC staffers who have helped me on these. The key person over the past 12 years, and the only person for the past 6, has been my colleague and friend Dr. Natalia Papitashvili. Natasha has shared the product definition activities and has done all the development work.

“Another largely fun activity was being Project Scientist for IMP-8 over most of its 30+ years of operational life. I thank the IMP-8 Principal Investigators for their support, for making IMP-8 very successful scientifically, and for sharing their data individually and through NSSDC over the years. IMP-8 magnetic field and plasma data were by far the most widely used space science data at least through very recent times.

“Let me close with an acknowledgment to my wife, Eleanor, whose love, support, and endurance over the years have contributed immeasurably to my life and allowed me to pursue my support of the space science and geophysical research enterprise.”

—JOSEPH H. KING, Beltsville, Md.

Robert H. Higgs received the Flinn Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 10 December 2003, in San Francisco, California. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”



“In 1958, the Navy Hydrographic Office hired Robert H. Higgs as an aspiring young geophysicist. His first task involved collecting geomagnetic survey data at sea in support of classified Navy operations. The Office was not a research institution. It was dedicated to performing surveys that would enhance the war-fighting capabilities of the U.S. Navy fleet. Over the years, Office policies toward allowing its scientists to publish in the open literature waxed and waned. Bob’s early years were spent at a point during the Cold War when these policies were extremely tight. Office scientists were discouraged from publishing in the open literature. They could document survey results only by presenting them anonymously in technical reports published under the commanding officer’s name.

“In 1961, Bob analyzed unclassified geomagnetic survey data collected over the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. They revealed patterns of linear magnetic anomalies like those observed earlier in the northeast Pacific and elsewhere. He noted that these anomalies ran parallel to the ridge axis, were symmetrical around it, and could be correlated over long distances. He noted inverse relationships between bathymetric features and magnetic anomalies, suggested they indicated changes in paleomagnetic field direction, and suggested it should be possible to determine the age of the oceanic crust by comparing sea floor magnetic anomalies with paleomagnetic data from land. These ideas were published in a technical report sent worldwide to the most prominent geomagnetic scientists almost a year before the ‘magnetic tape recorder’ explanation for sea floor ridge formation and spreading was introduced in the scientific literature.

“In 1963, Bob became head of the Marine Section within the Geomagnetic Division. He expanded the contributions of the Office by arranging for the scientists in his group to ride ‘ships of opportunity’ to obtain unclassified geomagnetic data. He encouraged these scientists to document these unclassified surveys, publish them as technical reports, and circulate them within the scientific community. These reports had a noticeable impact. Prominent scientists from around the world began to visit the Office to confer with Higgs and his colleagues and review their analyses and interpretations. When these efforts became highly visible, they generated concern over deviating from the mission of the Office and were curtailed.

“As the plate tectonics debate continued throughout the 1960s, Bob became convinced that the classified geomagnetic data held the best supporting evidence. To share the scientific essence of the classified data with research scientists without security clearances, he created ‘sanitized’ versions in the form of low-resolution ‘zebra’ charts. These were presented at an AGU meeting in April 1969 and were significant in facilitating a more widespread acceptance of plate tectonics.

“Bob became Director of the Geomagnetic Division, Director of the Hydrographic and Geophysics Departments, then Scientific and Technical Director. He steadfastly recognized that data collected for military purposes had important scientific content and repeatedly found ways to share data and insights with research scientists. It should be obvious that Robert H. Higgs is eminently qualified to receive the Edward A. Flinn III award for unselfish cooperation in research.”

—BEN J. KORGEN, Hope Valley, R.I.


“Thank you, and thanks to Dr. Korgen and all those who supported the nomination. It is a totally unexpected honor.

“Working in the field of geophysics during the early 1960s was an exciting experience, as the concept of plate tectonics slowly began to evolve and be accepted. The U.S. Navy and especially the Naval Oceanographic Office made a number of significant contributions to the development of this concept, but they were often anonymous and unrecognized.

“I had the good fortune to work with dozens of outstanding scientists at our office whose names rarely or never appear in the scientific literature. But these were people who continually pushed the edges of science and technology forward by developing and refining geophysical survey equipment and techniques, and by spending years at sea collecting and processing geophysical data to produce charts disclosing features never seen before. They also developed new computer processing techniques and performed analyses and interpretations that provided data and insight that eventually led to a new understanding of the way the Earth really works.

“I accept this award on their behalf and on behalf of other scientists in government and private industry who have been restricted in publication of the results of their work, but who have unselfishly found a way to share it with others and moved on.

“It has been a grand ride, made even more so by this recognition. I thank you again for the honor.”

—ROBERT H. HIGGS, Sevierville, Tenn.

Daniel F. Weill was awarded the Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 8 December 2002, in San Francisco, California. The award is given to an individual who personifies the Union’s motto of unselfish cooperation in research through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.



“Daniel F. Weill is eminently qualified for the Edward Flinn Award as an individual who personifies the Union’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ on the basis of his facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities in both the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

“Dan Weill has had two careers. For 20 years following his Ph.D. at Berkeley, he had a distinguished research and academic career at the University of California at San Diego and the University of Oregon. His research in geochemistry, petrology, and mineralogy spawned a large number of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral associates; e.g., Yan Bottinga, Michael Drake, Richard Grieve, Rudi Hon, Stewart McCallum, William Leeman, Harve Waff, and John Longhi.

“In 1983, Dan took a leave of absence from Oregon to serve in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the Department of Energy. While there, he worked with university and DOE lab groups and made comprehensive contributions while honing his skills as a program director.

“In his years at NSF, Dan has been a major factor in improving the availability of advanced instrumentation to the Earth science community. These include the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS); the Global Positioning Satellite consortium of UNAVCO; the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facilities at the University of Arizona and Purdue University; ion-probe installations at UCLA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington; synchrotron facilities at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Advanced Photon Source of the Argonne National Laboratory; the Absolute Gravity facility at the NOAA labs in Boulder; and the Science and Technology Center for High Pressure Re-search (CHiPR) and Southern California Earth- quake Center (SCEC).

“Although much of the credit for these instrumentation facilities must go to the principal investigators, Dan has been very instrumental in helping the PIs to seek and obtain shared funding from other parts of the NSF, other federal agencies, and other private groups such as the Keck Foundation. His astute and careful management has provided the base of confidence that has encouraged these other funding groups to cooperate with him. The primary beneficiaries of these efforts have been the PIs and the Earth science community in general, which have thus gained access to these world-class facilities.

“I illustrate Dan’s incredible achievements by using selected quotations from the supporting letters:
‘…assuring that…DOE has a high-quality earth science component…
‘…extraordinary ability not only to see far into the future but to really care…
‘…most PI-oriented program director I have ever known…
‘…most important is his leadership in improving the infrastructure for research in geophysics.
‘…helped develop the scientific identity of modern geochemistry and geophysics.
‘…the major author of the long-range plan for Earth Sciences at NSF in 1988…
‘…establishment and encouragement of IRIS, UNAVCO,…the exploitation of synchrotron X-ray sources….All of these community efforts have benefited extensively from Weill’s guidance and insight.
‘…leadership and advice in securing the funding of large-scale programs spanning all the way across the Earth Sciences…
‘…used his energy and diplomatic skills to leverage funding for such projects from public and private sources (in particular, the Keck Foundation).
‘…done a conscientious job of balancing the needs of ‘big science’ with those of individual investigators.

“In 1985, Weill joined the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) of the National Science Foundation as the first program director of the Instrumentation and Facilities Program, at a time when there were considerable problems in EAR in balancing the funding needs for basic research and new instrumentation. He proved to be a quick learner and developed rapidly into the ideal program director: one who seeks to understand the needs of the community, keeps his eyes out for potential initiatives, and then encourages the scientists to formulate proposals to address their needs and aspirations.

“For his excellence in research and education, and in particular for his remarkable and distinctive service to the Earth science community as a program administrator at DOE and NSF, it is a pleasure and an honor to present Dan Weill for the 2002 Flinn Award of the American Geophysical Union.”

—ROBERT C. LIEBERMANN, State University of New York, Stony Brook


“Thanks very much, Bob, for those kind words. When I first learned that I would receive AGU’s Flinn Award, two questions immediately came to mind. ‘Will I have to wear a tux?’ was quickly answered in the affirmative by AGU’s ceremonies police. Formal wear may not be me, but family and friends know that I can benefit from the occasional push to do the correct thing. The second question–‘What did I do to deserve this?’–reminded me of the last time I got a citation. In that instance, a parking ticket, a citationist in uniform gave me a terse reply. Tonight’s citationist is wearing a different uniform, and the Flinn Award deserves a more thoughtful response.

“The Flinn Award recognizes ‘unselfish cooperation in research,’ but I’m not sure those words fit me much better than this tuxedo. Unselfish is an adjective usually associated with self-sacrifice, but the first point I’d like to make tonight is that whatever I may have done to deserve this award, it was thoroughly enjoyable and certainly required no sacrifice on my part.

“Sociological myth has it that we’re all entitled to fifteen minutes of fame. The next few minutes may well turn out to be my next-to-last moment in the spotlight (the one before the obituary column, that is), so let me quickly say how honored I am by this recognition, and, to put things in proper perspective, let me briefly tell you about the people who deserve to share it with me.

“The start-up, in 1985, of a program to support acquisition, development, and operation of major research instrumentation in Earth sciences did not require a flash of inspiration from me. Given the progress of technology during preceding years and the obvious need for better ways to observe the Earth and analyze its materials, something along the lines of the Instrumentation & Facilities, or IF, program had been gestating at NSF before I arrived. I was simply fortunate to be there at its birth and be given the opportunity to manage the IF baby to maturity. So it’s only fair that I should now cite the friends and colleagues at the NSF, USGS, NASA, DOE, the Keck Foundation, and the many research and teaching departments with whom I had fruitful collaborations on behalf of the IF program. My dictionary defines a bureaucrat as ‘one who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.’ We all have encountered the type specimen in (or out of) government, but the colleagues I wish to thank here are the ones who, contrary to the stereotype, were always adept at minimizing the burden of bureaucratic procedures while serving the science community. I’m truly grateful to them for having created a working environment in which I had a good time while the IF program was doing some good.

“Any career in science that spans teaching, research, and management has to be firmly rooted in its educational base. Although it’s nice to think that learning is a continuous process, when I think back about my own experience, I recognize certain peak periods of intellectual activity, first as a doctoral candidate and postdoc at UC-Berkeley and later as professor at Scripps and the University of Oregon; and I want to extend a special thank-you here to those who shared those stimulating times with me during my own education and while I was trying my best to educate others.

“I also want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the science community itself. I realize that the word ‘community’ casts a wide net, but the IF program did conscientiously try to cater to the needs of every subdiscipline of the Earth sciences, and it responded to proposals ranging from requests for modest equipment for individual laboratories to those making a case for extensive facilities on behalf of large consortia. Without the many selfless members of the large international community who reviewed its proposals and served on its review panels and special committees, the IF program could not have done what it did, and I will always be in their debt for their good work and the pleasure of their company while we served together.

“While speaking of community, I can’t resist adding that, in addition to the pursuit of scientific goals (a worthy endeavor needing no further praise from me), the science community can also be proud of its role in society. Even if, from time to time, misguided critics chide us for being too ‘curiosity-driven,’ isn’t that drive more worthy, to say nothing of ultimately more useful to society, than the unseemly greed that drives much of society around us? In fact, is it much of an exaggeration to claim that the science community can serve as a model for a troubled business community? After all, we manage to be productive for a global society, competitive and cooperative within our own sphere, all the while maintaining high ethical standards. I am proud to have contributed in some measure to such a community, and, stealing a line from a popular musical, I sometimes wonder, ‘Why can’t a businessman be more like a scientist?’

“The term ‘closure’ comes up routinely in public discourse these days, all too often associated with sad events. Although this is a happy occasion, AGU has nevertheless made it clear that I should reach closure about now. So, in closing, let me first apologize to the many friends and colleagues whom it would have been a pleasure for me to mention by name tonight had time permitted. Instead, I will end my remarks by mentioning the name of the one person, here tonight, who best symbolizes the love and gratitude with which I accept this award on behalf of many who helped me along the way. Margaret, my wife and companion of 45 years, has shared the various phases of my career with me and with many of you. I’ve been extremely fortunate that she and the rest of my family have always been there to help me keep a proper balance between the workplace and home, providing me with encouragement when things looked overwhelming at work, but perfectly willing to shut me up whenever I took myself too seriously or droned on too long. I sense that she is thinking of doing that right now, so thank you all and keep up the good work!”

—DANIEL F. WEILL, Eugene, Ore.

Vinod K. Gaur received the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the 2001 Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony on 12 December in San Francisco, California. The award is for individuals who personify the Union’s motto, “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.



“Ted Flinn would be proud of this year’s recipient of his medal, Vinod K. Gaur, currently active-though formally retired-as Distinguished Professor at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore, India. Vinod’s main goal throughout his career has been not to promote himself as an individual scientist, but to facilitate research and development in India. Two recurring themes characterize his contributions: the recognition of developments occurring outside India that he could introduce to a modern culture that values intellectual pursuit but lacks streamlined channels through its bureaucracy, and the ability to balance the financial limitations of India’s budget for science with its needs. Despite being denied the sight in one eye since childhood, his vision has been clear at every step.

“Vinod helped turn the geophysics program at Roorkee University, a traditionally strong engineering school, into one of India’s best, by insisting on solid quantitative training.

“As director of the National Geophysical Research Institute in Hyderabad, Vinod arranged for the first broadband seismograph station to be installed in India. By expanding the staff and resources to include isotope geochemistry, mineral physics, and numerical experiment, he raised the Institute’s prominence in solid Earth geophysics.

“As Secretary of the Department of Ocean Development, appointed by Rajiv Gandhi, Vinod’s most notable accomplishment was to increase by several times the intake of the fishing industry. Recognizing that most fishermen, who work from small boats, could not predict the danger of impending storms, which often kept boats ashore when risks were small, and vice versa, Vinod arranged for inexpensive radios to be built and distributed to fishermen so that they could be informed of the risks as storms developed and abated, and equally importantly of potential fishing zones mapped by satellite-derived sea surface temperatures.

“Since becoming emeritus, Vinod has been the primary stimulus for India’s joining the GPS geodetic revolution. He established the only continuously recording GPS station (in Bangalore) whose data are routinely sent to the International GPS Service. He has installed and measured as many control points in India as any. As a member of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, he serves as an advisor for the installation of a large telescope in western Himalaya (elevation > 4000 m), where he has installed another continuously recording GPS receiver, another broadband seismograph, and a monitoring facility for measuring concentrations of carbon and other greenhouse gases. Vinod plays a central role in science education in India, not only at the graduate level, but also in lower schools and with the technically untrained population; and not merely as a token high-profile member of a committee, for he chairs some such committees.

“Vinod possesses the best qualities of outstanding scientific administrators. He speaks out loudly and firmly on issues affecting society, such as nuclear testing or some scientists’ whitewashing of the impending danger posed by the next great earthquake in the Himalaya, but few listen as attentively as he when others have something to say. He can deal unpretentiously with prime ministers and politicians as well as with fishermen in their dugouts or jeep drivers in the bush. He focuses on solutions to problems, not missed opportunities. He is eager to know and understand the details of any affair, whether it be a method used in his scientific research or a program for a whole nation. He sits willingly for hours in front of a computer screen testing programs to understand what they do, and like a sponge he absorbs whatever he can. Although he would have thrived in Athens in the Fifth Century B.C., not just intellectual curiosity motivates him, for he is quick to pass on what he learns to students. Although his name is last as often as first on a list of authors, his role is rarely minor, and his understanding of work bearing his name is never shallow. The Flinn Award was invented for people like Vinod Gaur.”

—PETER MOLNAR, University of Colorado, Boulder


“I am delighted and deeply touched by this honor, which associates me with the most vibrant Earth science association in the world, and with a name whose memory remains a most moving experience of my life.

—VINOD K. GAUR, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India

Juan G. Roederer was given the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 17, 2000, in San Francisco, California. The award recognizes those individuals who personify the Union’s motto, “unselfish cooperation in research,” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.



“It is in every scientist’s best interest to work in a field that is strong, vibrant, and productive, but fields do not evolve in this way by themselves. They need a critical mass of talented individuals working, even if competitively, toward a common goal, and they need infrastructure. Someone has to take the lead, to sacrifice his or her personal time to serve the common good, or that enabling infrastructure will not be put in place. I call the realization of this need ‘altruistic self-interest.’ It is the principle that underlies AGU’s motto ‘Unselfish Cooperation in Research.’ It is the reason we should freely exchange data and ideas with our colleagues, and it has been a motivating principle for Juan Roederer in his organization of national and international programs for over three decades.

“Few scientists understand the principle of altruistic self-interest and even fewer live by it, but Juan Roederer is one of those few. As vice president and then president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy in the 1970s, he reorganized and revitalized IAGA, so that today it is arguably the most active of IUGG’s associations. Roederer was the force behind the International Magnetospheric Study from 1976 to 1978, which mounted the first coordinated attack on the physics of the Earth’s magnetosphere. He was one of the early organizers of the Global Change program. He initiated the Geospace Environment Modeling program that, with NSF support, has successfully coordinated four campaigns to address critical issues in the Earth’s magnetosphere. He was the international coordinator of ICSU’s Solar-Terrestrial Energy Program from 1990 to 1997. Back at home, Roederer led the world-renown Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks from 1977 to 1986; he helped draft the Arctic Research and Policy Act passed by Congress in 1984. He served as vice chairman and then chairman from 1985 to 1991 of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, publishing numerous articles and monographs on arctic research policy; and from 1984 to 1992, he served as AGU’s international secretary. He has accomplished all that while contributing significantly to the fields of space physics, the psychoacoustics of music, and international science policy.

“Juan Roederer was born in Trieste, Italy, on September 2, 1929; moved to Vienna as a child; and then emigrated to Argentina in 1939. He completed his education with a doctorate in physical-mathematical sciences from the University of Buenos Aires in 1952, in which he studied latitudinal variations of cosmic rays along the Andes at altitudes from sea level to 6000 meters. After 2 years of research at the Max-Planck-Institut in Göttingen, Germany, he returned to an assistant professorship at the University of Buenos Aires and was appointed chief of the Cosmic Ray Laboratory of the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission. During this period, as part of a 5-member commission, he helped reorganize the 90,000-student university, establishing full-time professorships and graduate schools that did not exist before then, and making research accomplishments a condition of faculty promotion. In 1959, he became a full professor and director of the National Cosmic Ray Center. Over the next several years, the Argentine Cosmic Ray Center established three world-class cosmic ray observatories in Argentina, operated an Antarctic observatory, flew long-duration stratospheric balloons, and launched sounding rockets.

“After a 2-year appointment as an NRC senior research fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, he returned to Buenos Aires in June 1966 to be confronted with a military coup. After a period of unsuccessful protest over the military interference in university affairs, he and his family took the opportunity, when it was presented to them, to emigrate to the U.S., joining the physics faculty at the University of Denver in 1967. From 1977 to 1986, he served as director of the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, after which he returned to teaching physics until his retirement in 1993. Since then he has continued to conduct research as an emeritus professor at the University of Alaska.

“For a career of significant service to the geophysical communities of two nations and an equally great contribution to the international community, it is in our interest to honor Juan Roederer with the Flinn Award, both to thank him for his efforts and also to encourage others to serve the community as he has.”

—C. T. RUSSELL, University of California, Los Angeles


“When a scientist retires, he/she often finds him/herself writing autobiographies and reminiscences and being interviewed for oral history accounts. As a by-product of this activity comes the self-evaluation of one’s own contributions to science.

“When I started pondering about this ‘legacy thing,’ I began to realize that, indeed, much of my professional life was dedicated not to analyzing data or developing theories, not to publishing papers, not to writing proposals, or, as a science administrator, not to running after short-term pork barrel money; but, instead, to helping develop long-term research plans and policies for the community.

“Why did I do this? Why did I so often give up opportunities for research, only to sit on some ‘obscure’ committees? The explanation may be found with the experiences during the early times in my life, as a fledgling physicist in the mid-1950s in Argentina. This was then a developing country that had just come out of a long dictatorship, with neither organized research nor full-time professorships at its universities, no basic and applied research institutes of note, and no public conscience of the importance of science. It was clear that we young physicists, spread thinly over this vast country, despite having to compete with each other for meager funds and a deficient infrastructure, had to give up a big chunk of our personal research time and work together to help create a national environment more propitious for scientific research. And we succeeded!

“This order of priorities persisted throughout my entire professional career. Once settled in the U.S., during the Cold War years of the 1960s and the 1970s, I became keenly aware of how important it was to help maintain and strengthen the only open bridge between East and West: international scientific cooperation. I can tell many tales of how joint research programs have benefited not only our colleagues in the (former) Eastern Bloc, but also even us here in the West. On the domestic front, I spent a lot of time on Academy committees fighting for the preservation of truly basic research—that which is driven exclusively by intellectual curiosity.

“Later, in Alaska, I found myself in a situation not totally unlike that of Argentina: a new frontier state in which adequate support of scientific research and public understanding of its importance were lacking. So, despite being director of the Geophysical Institute, I spent an often-highly criticized amount of time helping to create a better environment for all of science, not just geophysics; and working in close cooperation with our congressional delegation and federal agencies on the establishment of a U.S. Arctic research policy. I believed then, and still do now, that in the long term, this apparent defection from one discipline and one institution to the whole community is yet another expression of the principle of altruistic self-interest.

“I have been honored with election to the Academies of Science of Austria and Argentina, and also the Third World Academy of Sciences, and to fellowship in AGU and AAAS. Those were mainly rewards for my research activities. And now I will treasure the AGU Flinn Award with particular pride and gratitude, for it represents a recognition by the community that this much time invested in ‘altruistic self-interest’ was not wasted at all. Thank you!”

—JUAN G. ROEDERER, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

John W. Townsend Jr. was awarded the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Spring Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on June 2, 1999, in Boston, Massachusetts. The award recognizes individuals who personify the Union’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.



“John W. (Jack) Townsend, the 1999 recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s Edward A. Flinn III Award, is one the few members of the AGU whose career has taken them from frontier geophysical research to the highest levels of geoscience management but who has always retained his close identification with the Union as a member, an active committee participant, and a financial contributor. Indeed, Jack’s continued close attachment to the Union has allowed him throughout his professional career to anticipate the direction of geophysical research and then to act decisively to promote and facilitate members’ research in the geophysical sciences.

“Throughout his career, Jack Townsend has excelled at visionary institutional leadership, innovating new institutions to meet new national challenges and opportunities, and dedicated professional management that always enabled researchers and engineers to accomplish objectives that helped maintain U.S. leadership in science and technology. Jack played a crucial role in furthering the use of advanced technology, especially space technology, to facilitate the ability of the research community to advance understanding in the geophysical sciences significantly.

“Following completion of academic degrees at Williams College and 4 years after his active service in the Second World War (he was a flight instructor and a pilot in the Pacific), Jack joined the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), where he immediately became centrally involved in the very early studies of the upper atmosphere using V-2, Viking, and Aerobee rockets. His research work on upper atmosphere physics was centered on the first mass spectroscopic measurements of atmospheric constituents at the high altitudes at which the new rocket technologies allowed his innovative instrumentation (employing time-of-flight techniques for the first time) to reach. Jack’s many publications during this first decade of his career not only included new results and understanding of the Earth’s upper atmosphere but also contained the beginnings of his career-long engineering contributions to rocketry (and later satellites) as platforms for research.

“When the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed from the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), Jack moved with his branch from NRL to the fledgling Goddard Space Flight Center where, since he was one of the most senior individuals knowledgeable in space flight technologies, he was immediately thrust into the role of helping to formulate the new science and engineering activities of the agency. From this time on, Jack’s principal contributions to geophysical research were to ensure that the opportunities for cutting edge efforts were available to the personnel in the organizations that he led. At Goddard, Jack initiated the developments of in-house capabilities for small and medium scientific spacecraft in the 1960s and supervised the beginnings of the development of the Delta rocket, which has played such an important role for 30 years in the launching of science missions into orbit. A key contribution to international space science was made when Jack, together with Hugh Dryden and Donald Hornig, negotiated the first bilateral space science agreement with the former Soviet Union.

“For much of the 1970s, Jack served as the Associate Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with responsibilities that defined the science and services agency that was built from the old Environmental Sciences Services Administration. Research enterprises that he help create and nurture included the Weather Bureau, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Data Services, and the overall Research Laboratories. When Jack moved to industry in 1977 in various roles of increasing responsibility, he continued his involvement in facilitating research opportunities in the geosciences. He was responsible at Fairchild for the Multi-Mission Modular Spacecraft, the platform of which formed the basis for geophysical investigations involving the ocean (TOPEX), the Earth (Landsat 4) and the Sun (Solar Maximum Mission). The last 3 years of Jack’s career were spent as the Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he had overall responsibility for the Earth and space sciences. During his tenure, there were 17 major space flight projects in progress, as well as total operational responsibility for all of NASA’s Earth satellites.

“Jack was active for years in the AGU’s Budget and Finance Committee, helping to steer the Union along the path of strong solvency that it can be so proud of. He was also very active in the committee that worked and planned for the new Union headquarters on Florida Avenue, including tackling the multitude of issues that evolved from the environmental cleanup caused by the old service station that formerly occupied a portion of the site.

“It is most fitting that the American Geophysical Union recognizes, with the Flinn Award, Jack Townsend’s 50-year illustrious career in ‘facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities’ that have been of huge benefit to the geoscience research community.””

—LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J


“I’m really pleased, thanks to Lou, my wife, and old friends, to be here and to be able to use this occasion to give a message that is important to me, although I realize I may be preaching to the choir.

“When I was in high school and college before World War II, I thought I wanted to be a chemist. When I came back from active duty, I found I had amassed enough credits in the Armed Forces’ college programs to skip my sophomore year, that is if I became a physicist. That was fine with me, because I loved electronics. I did my graduate work building a mass spectrometer in the basement of an old brick physics building at Williams College. I worked by myself, happily alone.

“Through a series of unplanned happenings, I took my first job in 1949 at the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., where they had just started an upper atmosphere research program using the V-2 and, later, other rockets. However, our experiments were team efforts and involved some interdisciplinary work between teams. Goodbye to individual research for me! Soon the International Geophysical Year (IGY) was being planned and we were involved in international and, in some cases, interdisciplinary programs and projects.

“As you know, Sputnik was a USSR project for the IGY, and its flight (along with our problems at NRL) led to the formation of NASA and the space race with the Russians. I joined up along with my branch at NRL.

“From that time on in NASA almost everything was teamwork. Interdisciplinary science became more important as well as international collaboration. It remains that way today.

“The message then is that the Earth and space sciences we study cover a very large and complex system. The job is too big to tackle without immense data-collecting projects done with interdisciplinary science in mind. This collection will only be practical with international cooperation and collaboration on the ground, on the sea, and in the air and space above. Fortunately, our science and technology is ‘good’ in the sense that they seek to help understanding as well as people, in many cases directly. There will always be a place for individual research, but individuals will probably have to have access to data of a sort that they cannot easily acquire themselves.

“I didn’t know Edward A. Flinn III well personally. I believe he came to NASA after I had left for NOAA and died shortly after I returned to NASA from private industry. I did know of his leadership in the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) and his scientific and international leadership in lithospheric research.

“I am honored to receive this award in his memory.”

—JOHN W. TOWNSEND JR., Cabin John, Md.

Robert W. Corell was awarded the 1998 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 8, 1998, in San Francisco, California. The award recognizes individuals who personify the Union’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.



“I am deeply honored and profoundly pleased to present to you my colleague and friend Robert W. Corell, recipient of the 1998 Edward A. Flinn III Award of the American Geophysical Union. This award is for a different type of contribution to our field–a contribution of distinguished service and dedication, to be sure, but one that is characterized by ‘. . .unselfish cooperation in research through their facilitating, coordinating and implementing activities. . ..’ I can think of no one in my experience who better represents this cooperative spirit in such “activities” than Bob Corell.

“In preparing this citation, I have borrowed wholesale from the letters of nomination and support by Robert M. White, Richard E. Hallgren, and William J. Merrill. We all had the same sentiments. While it is my pleasure to offer the words, and I put much of it in the first person, it is ‘our’ citation, not mine alone.

“Dr. Corell’s contribution to environmental affairs spans four decades. In the 1960s and early 1970s, as an ocean engineer developing digital computation and control systems for oceanographic research, he founded a new laboratory that has a world-class reputation for autonomous underwater systems. In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, he applied his skills to the fisheries industry with an emphasis on preserving the ocean environment. In his spare time, he was founder and first Director of the Marine and Sea Grant Programs at the University of New Hampshire. In the 1980s, as a science administrator, he established one of the world’s first interdisciplinary Earth science institutions, the Institute for the Study of Earth, Ocean and Space at the University of New Hampshire. During the last decade, as a public administrator at the National Science Foundation, he led the conception, formulation, and implementation of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which involves 20 U.S. departments, agencies, and offices, to study the Earth’s system and to ascertain the influence of humans on the system. He also has become a statesman, developing international programs on global environmental issues and new partnerships and arrangements, such as the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, to encourage data sharing and joint science programs among developing and developed nations.

“Among all of those, perhaps the best example of his leadership and of those skills cited in the Flinn Award is his exceptional success, over the last decade, in leading the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). He was there at its inception and has developed it, within the United States and internationally, as the premier effort to understand the Earth’s interacting physical systems. I’ll dwell on this example.

I was one of a small cadre of federal officials who helped the scientific community hatch the idea. However, when Dr. Corell came to the government in the early 1980s, he turned an idea into a model program. While the planning and performance of this program involved thousands of international scientists, I believe–and it is widely accepted–that no single person has made a contribution close to that of Bob Corell. He did this not only with scientific leadership but also by reaching out to others in the scientific community and to agencies around the world, and by creating institutional arrangements that will continue this open and inclusive approach. I can think of no greater feat of ‘unselfish cooperation’ nor of facilitation of important scientific research in recent decades.

“Nationally and internationally, the Global Change Research Program has involved dozens of departments, agencies, and offices. More than an administrator, Dr. Corell proved a statesman both among agencies and among nations. The interagency and international management of the USGCRP is perhaps the most universally accepted modern model for effective government support of complex scientific programs. Most remarkable has been his ability to hold the program together when so many forces naturally work to pull it apart.

“Our community, in fact the world, is lucky that Bob Corell was in the right place at the right time. I honestly believe that no one else could have led the program as he has done. Bob continues to serve as Chair of the interagency coordination committee of the National Council for Science and Technology and therefore as the federal government’s primary spokesperson for global change research. In this role, he continues tirelessly in his promotion of research on global change.

“Of course, Dr. Corell’s contribution to environmental affairs is not limited to this last decade or this one example. As an individual investigator, he made a significant contribution to autonomous undersea systems and founded a world-class laboratory and then applied his facilitation skills and his lab’s expertise to the fisheries industry, well known for its individuality and its independent operators. He was one of the prime movers for the successful national Sea Grant Program that has some real impact on our coastal states. It was from this already successful platform that he became the outstanding science administrator at the National Science Foundation, and especially of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

“Bob Corell and I grew up about 4 miles from each other in the working-class western suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Except for the accident of a town boundary, we would have known each other in high school. Bob went on to get a Ph.D. in engineering from Case Institute and then to an academic career in ocean engineering. It was some 20 years after we both left Cleveland that I first encountered Bob in his laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. My lasting impression of that encounter was of his boundless energy and enthusiasm. It was not until another batch of years had passed, and Bob came to Washington, D.C., that I had the pleasure of really getting to know him in several professional roles–as a developer of cutting-edge science programs, a scientific leader of major interinstitutional programs, and one of the very best scientific program administrators of recent decades. In all of these activities, he has been unselfishly inclusive of others in the scientific community, of other agencies and institutions, and of other nations. He has exhibited tremendous enthusiasm, enormous openness, and real and exemplary leadership. His credibility is immense, his impact has been just as large.

“Most recently, I had the distinct pleasure of being chair of Dr. Corell’s advisory committee–the “Advisory Committee on Geosciences” for the NSF. In that position, I had an unimpeded view as Dr. Corell set out to again lead our community of atmospheric, oceanic, and Earth scientists to plan our NSF programs for the next century. He reached out to the community in his usual manner with town meetings, open discussions, careful analysis of the budget situation, a clear acceptance of all good ideas, and an immense optimism. The result was a realistic and yet expansive approach for NSF support for the geosciences that will, I believe, sustain us through the current difficult budget times. Bob Corell really used his advisors, and he worked us intensely. He helped our community make a difference in the NSF program that is so important to us.

“I have observed no more balanced combination of leadership, scientific understanding, humane approach, sense for duty, organizational skills, determination, and sustained energy in a public administrator–or anyone else, for that matter–than that of Bob Corell. Dr. Corell not only clearly believes in his mission of understanding and protecting the Earth’s natural system, but he personifies the basis for the Edward A. Flinn III Award–a supremely successful scientific facilitator who lives the motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research.’ The description of the Edward A. Flinn III Award observes that ‘it is likely that the fruits of the work of a nominee . . . will be far more widely known and recognized than the individual.’ I am not sure that this remains true in Bob’s case, but I am certain that those of you who know him well, and those of you who now know him slightly from these remarks, will join me in congratulating Dr. Robert W. Corell in this richly deserved recognition.”

—WILLIAM P. BISHOP, Desert Research Institute, Tucson, Ariz.

Jack Fellows was awarded the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Spring Meeting Honor Ceremony on May 28, 1997, in Baltimore, Md. The Flinn Award is given to those individuals who personify the Union’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities. The award citation and Fellows’ response are given here.



“A few years ago, I received an e-mail from Jack Fellows describing Jack and his children throwing bottles (with notes inside) into the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of them reaching France. It was an experiment he was doing with his children to get them to understand the importance of science. One of these bottles did indeed make it to France. It was his daughter’s Science Fair project and resulted in an engaging letter exchange with the French couple who found the bottle. I tell you this because I believe it reflects Jack’s keen interest in science, natural systems, learning, and discovery.

“Jack began his career by completing a doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1983. His research focused on how the sampling size of remotely sensed data can impact estimates of water runoff in large-scale hydrologic models. This research involved many different disciplines, including hydrology, economics, soils, remote sensing, geography, statistical modeling, and computer science and began his interest in the type of global-scale, interdisciplinary research that he has continued to work on throughout his career.

“At the conclusion of his doctorate and while interviewing for university research positions, Jack was selected for the 1983 & 1984 AGU Congressional Science Fellowship. He spent the next year with Representative George Brown on science and space policy issues, including codrafting a bill to commercialize land remote sensing satellites. It was at this time I believe he began to realize that the investment in Federal Earth science research was significant and would benefit from further coordination between the involved agencies. This AGU fellowship had a major impact on Jack’s life—resulting in a significant detour into public service —because toward the end of his congressional fellowship, Jack accepted an invitation to join the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In addition to the career potential of an OMB science position, it gave him a chance to further examine our Nation’s Earth science research portfolio before he headed back to a university research career. In early 1986, he used the research framework outlined in the Bretherton Committee’s Earth System Science Report to do an informal inventory of what the Federal government was spending on Earth science research. Many things happened after that, but probably one of the most significant was the creation of the Committee on Earth Sciences within the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology. This committee was an interagency forum that could provide policy guidance on these science investments. Jack was also the critical keystone in the Executive Offices of the President that led to the establishment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a Presidential initiative under Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

“I can still remember Jack and Bob Watson putting the finishing touches on the very first USGCRP budget brochure in 1989, with Jack ferrying the various drafts back and forth between NASA and OMB late at night by bicycle. Jack even loaded them on the truck for delivery to the Congress with President Reagan’s 1990 budget. To the best of my knowledge, no one had ever sent such a budget brochure with a President’s budget, but Jack kept pushing us along and we never found anyone to say `no.’

“Those were exciting times for us. It was very important to have such a strong partnership with OMB during this process. It was not always easy, but always constructive and professional. Jack forced us to be disciplined in integrating the program goals and the resources we might expect. He demanded that we have clear goals, well-identified objectives along the way, and ways to measure progress toward achieving those goals and objectives. It wasn’t perfect, and you can imagine how challenging it was having to develop such a specific `roadmap’ in the basic research area, including prioritizing between research areas. As challenging as it was at times, it was unquestionably the right thing to do.

“We had many years of this important partnership. We always knew we could count on Jack. He also played a similar role in several other interagency research efforts, including high-performance computing, math and science education, biotechnology, and materials science. Further, I know that he was not hired by OMB to work on something like the USGCRP. He made it an issue, got the backing of White House policy officials, and helped sustain the focus on this important activity for years. Most of these efforts were done well past the normal 8-hour working day.

“For Jack, this `short-term’ assignment turned into 13 years at OMB. During this time, Jack also oversaw NASA’s and NSF’s budgets and programs at OMB and was OMB’s overall coordinator for the Federal government’s roughly $75 billion research and development portfolio. He has been OMB’s representative for years on the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology and its successor, the National Science and Technology Council. It has been incredibly important to have a person with Jack’s experience and personality on these important Federal interagency coordinating bodies.

“The OMB is a demanding place to work, and Jack has done extremely well there, as demonstrated by his positions of increased responsibility and authority. I think this reflects his capability. What has been accomplished with him reflects his commitment to excellence and to expanding the boundaries of organizations to enable cutting-edge research that seeks to understand the complexity of planet Earth. Jack continues to maintain this delicate balance—dedication to research and the meshing of that research with the dynamic political environment. I would like to thank the Flinn Award Committee for their selection of Jack D. Fellows for this award.

“Congratulations to Jack for that accomplishment and for his many years of service to the community.”

—ROBERT W. CORELL, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.


“Thank you, Bob, for your very kind citation. I’m extremely honored to receive the 1997 Edward A. Flinn III award. I came to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1984 after a year in the Congress as AGU’s Science Fellow. I had accepted a position in the OMB with the hopes of trying to further coordinate our nation’s Earth science investments. I thought that might take about a year to complete. That was more than 14 years ago! I didn’t stay because coordinating Earth science research took that long, but because OMB was such a fascinating place to work. The OMB does many things, but most simplistically it helps the President implement his priorities and oversees the running of the Federal government. It is probably fair to say that OMB’s work ends up being problems that can’t be solved elsewhere. It is a humbling place to work, where substance and politics blur together at a frenetic pace.

“Although I had always intended to return to the university research environment, I kept finding engaging issues to work on, including global change research, redesigning space stations, math and science education, and much more. Each year, I continued to faithfully renew my AGU membership and wondered whether this would be the year of my return. My guess is that it will be a surprise to many that this year’s Flinn award went to someone in OMB. Frankly, it surprised me too. However, a lot of coordinating, facilitating, and implementing of research programs important to the AGU research community goes on in Washington. I clearly consider it my great fortune to have been a part of this important process for many years.

“I have continued to work primarily on issues related to our nation’s research and development investments, but probably one of the most interesting projects I worked on was the early years of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). I think it was so interesting because, like most of the things I work on, it took a significant amount of trust building and cooperation to produce an effective outcome.

“I think the many successes of the USGCRP laid the foundation for many subsequent Federal interagency research efforts. I was very fortunate to have been a part of the USGCRP initiative. I’m aware of at least two scholarly studies and two doctoral theses that have been written about the creation and evolution of the USGCRP. When asked by the authors of these studies why I thought the USGCRP had happened, I have always responded that in 1988 our nation had (1) a very hot summer, (2) a research community ready to engage in research on global change (e.g., the Bretherton report, technologies to make global satellite observations, etc.), (3) a policy community beginning to awaken to the issues of global warming, and (4) a group of dedicated and creative researchers that happened to be in key Federal positions in Washington. I’m not sure that the USGCRP would have happened without all four of these components, but I am sure that it would not have happened without several key people being here in Washington and the many gifted researchers that contributed from around the nation.

“Early on in my OMB career, Francis Bretherton had an enormous impact on my thinking about Earth science research. With this knowledge, I did some poking around on what investments our nation was making in the Earth sciences. Even as early as 1985, it was looking like well over $1 billion annually. At the same time, I started meeting people like Bob Corell at National Science Foundation, Mike Hall at NOAA, Ari Patrinos at the Department of Energy, Dick Johnson at Office of Science and Technology Policy, Shelby Tilford and Bob Watson at NASA, Gary Evans at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dallas Peck at U.S. Geological Survey, and many, many others. They were ready to pour a lot of energy into improving the coordination of the Federal Earth science investments. All of these people (and many others that I have probably failed to name) deserve a piece of this award. By the time of the Bush Administration, this team was operating very effectively and it was not hard to convince senior policy officials of the USGCRP’s merits in the effort to address global warming policy issues. Today, the USGCRP is funded at roughly $2 billion annually and is an important Clinton Administration research priority.

“I have gone on to work on many things since those “heady” days working on the USGCRP, but there was one very important lesson I learned from this experience. It is difficult to make things happen in the political world unless you have a simple story of where you are headed and how you plan to get there. To me, that translates into having well-articulated goals and objectives and milestones to show progress toward achieving them. Without this, it is very difficult to move a program through the arduous Federal budget process. Make it an interagency research program, and you have a challenge of epic proportion on your hands. You must convince policy officials who are under tremendous pressure to balance the budget and to fund other important policy priorities that somehow all these agency contributions contribute to an overall goal and cutting any one of them can undermine the effort’s progress. The simple story is the glue. I’m not sure I ever saw this done perfectly, but the USGCRP was the best example I have seen in my tenure. My hat is still off to all those involved in the USGCRP.

“I do think the AGU and its membership can play a dramatic role in this process by helping to contribute to this integrated view of the Earth sciences. The current era of balancing the budget will continue to put significant stress on research funding. Not all things can be funded. However, staying engaged in the political process and helping decision makers make the tough tradeoffs can build an important trust between the AGU research community and Washington. Building relationships with organizations like OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy are important steps in this process. It was useful in the past for the AGU to review and comment on things like the USGCRP and agency decision making, although it could have happened much more routinely. The government has significant legal restrictions that prevent it from directly soliciting information from specific groups. Fortunately, we can clearly take note of any offered information.

“In closing, I want to thank Bob Corell, Mike Hall, and Ari Patrinos for their nomination and the Flinn selection committee, the Officers of AGU, and the entire AGU membership for this award. I also want to thank Sarah Horrigan, the many people who wrote letters on my behalf, and, of course, the many people with whom I have had the great pleasure of working side-by-side over the last 14 years. I believe I was told by Sarah that Francis Bretherton said something like “`in his wildest ideas he could have never imagined writing a letter of support for someone in OMB.’” Francis, I don’t know how OMB might take that, but it clearly means a great deal to me. I also want to thank my family. They paid a price for those years I worked so closely on the USGCRP and for OMB’s generally insane work schedule. Whatever, I contributed to these interagency efforts had a lot to do with their continued support and the anchor they provided me.

“This is a particularly important time for me and my family. This spring I made a decision to leave OMB and will be joining the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado in mid-August. I look forward to continued interactions with the global change community but in a totally new capacity as the Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Director of UCAR’s Office of Programs.

“Lastly, I want to honor a dear friend of the community. Ned Ostenso died recently. He gave many years of his life to this community. I had the great fortune of speaking with him just a month before his death. He had spent so many productive years in the DOD’s Office of Naval Research and NOAA’s Office of Atmospheric Research (OAR) and he was reflecting on his choice to retire from OAR to have some fun and spend more time with his lovely wife Grace. In fact, he was giving me advice about what I might want to do in the future. His passing is a great loss to the community, and a reminder of how fragile life can be. In his honor, let us all do some good science, make a contribution to our nation, and make sure we have fun along the way.”

—JACK D. FELLOWS, Science and Space Programs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C.

Raymond Walker was awarded the Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Banquet on December 17, 1996, in San Francisco, California. The Flinn Award is awarded to recognize those individuals who personify the Union’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research” through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities. This award is given not more often than annually. The award citation and Walker’s response are given here.



“I am honored to present my colleague and friend, Raymond J. Walker, recipient of the Edward A. Flinn III Award of the American Geophysical Union, the sixth individual so honored. The Flinn award differs from most awards in our field by honoring those who have distinguished themselves through dedicated service to the geoscience community. Few among us have contributed so unselfishly and in so many different ways to the advancement of our discipline as Ray Walker. He contributed as a research scientist, teacher, friend, counselor to students, as a wise and dedicated advisory committee member, and as a leader of new undertakings. Ray has made his mark in many ways. Among his space plasma colleagues, his unique talent for extracting results relevant to important physical questions from computer simulations is highly valued, but his broad and varied scientific accomplishments are not limited to computer simulations. He is an ideal collaborator: quick, perceptive, and generous in sharing ideas and credit; his collaborations span continents and oceans. That’s just the beginning; it is not what brings us here today. We come to honor Ray principally for his leadership in convincing his colleagues that scientific data acquired with great effort and at great cost to the community and the nation should be treasured, protected, and made generally accessible. Not an easy job, but one that Ray has mastered brilliantly.

“Think about the problems. If you ever waited for months for a data set (extracted from a principal investigator after much bowing and scraping) and then found you could not make head or tail of it, you’ll understand. Ray did something about these problems, and a few others. He was very influential in selling the community on the idea that data belong to all of us and that they should be made available very quickly. He insisted on internally documented data sets that explicitly describe the contents, the coordinate systems used, the measurement units (1 Jovian radius means different things to different people at different times). He insisted on a procedure for validating data through a new type of refereeing process that checks, for example, whether archived data can be used to make plots that are realistic. Catalogues have been developed, linking data sets to correlative data such as spacecraft ephemerides and other simultaneous measurements essential for scientific work. The output is produced in forms that can be used by any computer through CD ROMS or networks. Ray’s activities taught me to use a new vocabulary: “platform-independent,” “TCPIP protocol,” and so forth. Databases are decentralized. Instead of being collected at data centers where the staff may be unfamiliar with the technical features of the instrumentation and data processing, the data archives are maintained at institutions where they remain under the supervision of scientists familiar with the type of instrumentation and the type of data. The concept of a data node was thus developed.

“Walker now serves as the project scientist for the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). Under his guidance, PDS has become an effective tool for planetary plasma research. He personally leads the Planetary Plasma Interactions Node (PPIN) centered at the University of California at Los Angeles. This node is responsible for plasma and field data from planetary missions. Ray never loses sight of the objective of providing the highest quality space physics data to the scientific community. Pedigrees are important and are taken as seriously as they are for cats and dogs. With data from PDS comes an assurance of good breeding! Ray’s vision of a scientific data system met opposition from some who thought that the efforts that it entailed were not necessary, but Ray remains unyielding on the issue of quality. His vision and his dedication have inspired his staff and his collaborators to show that his goals could be achieved. The PPIN node that has resulted has been referred to as “the jewel of PDS.” The importance of quality has been accepted throughout the PDS. Ray Walker, through PDS, has created a model that will shape the development of archival data systems for all of the environmental sciences and provide an exceptional service to the scientific community.

“In a broader sense, Ray has worked with the Catalog Interoperability Advisory Committee (which he chairs) to make it easier for Earth scientists, planetary scientists, astronomers, etc., to address interdisciplinary problems. By putting together a directory of all of the data potentially useful in these different fields, they have facilitated access for “outsiders” to the relevant information. The directory has brief descriptions of the data holdings of NASA, NOAA, and other U.S. agencies in addition to European and Japanese agencies. “Ray’s knowledge and experience using computers in new ways to achieve important scientific objectives attracted the attention of the American Geophysical Union. He chaired their Committee on Information Technology for 3 years and in that time helped guide numerous changes that are transforming the way the Union carries out its business.

“In summary, Ray Walker represents ideally the service and leadership characteristics recognized by the Flinn Award. He has coordinated the process of assembling the tools of research; he has implemented new tools for accessing and understanding the measurements; he has played a key role in developing a new type scientific program; and he has provided critical support to the research community by introducing new ways of doing research. He brings distinction to the award that is being bestowed on him today.

“Let me end by saying that my words cannot convey the degree to which this modest and dedicated scientist has managed to become one of the most respected and affectionately regarded members of the hard-driven space sciences community. He has friends all over the world, but especially at UCLA, where he is the glue that links his more narrowly focused colleagues. He is the confidante who helps the students with their problems, both in studies and in getting along in the world. I have been fortunate to have worked extremely closely with him since he began his graduate studies, and I cannot think of a time when he has failed me in any way. We are lucky to have a colleague among us who so brilliantly exemplifies AGU’s motto “unselfish cooperation in research.”

—MARGARET KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles


“I am pleased and honored to have been selected to receive this year’s Edward A. Flinn III award. Thank you! When I first learned I was to receive the Flinn award my immediate reaction was “why me?”, since so many have worked together to make Planetary Data System (PDS) possible. There are far too many to thank each individually.

“The ideas for PDS first took shape with the work of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Data Management and Computation (CODMAC) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I was one of the first selected to serve on CODMAC after it became a standing committee. I participated in CODMAC for 5 years and in that stimulating atmosphere formulated most of my ideas about the management of science data. The members of CODMAC realized that our space data were irreplaceable and must be preserved for ourselves and future scientists and that the preservation of space science data required a partnership between NASA and the scientific community. We achieved this goal with the help of several NASA managers, starting with Bill Quaide, a previous Flinn award winner, who appreciated the importance of preserving planetary data. PDS is a partnership between Jet Propulsion Laboratory managers and engineers and university and laboratory scientists. Because scientists and engineers frequently have very different approaches to projects, disagreement and some conflict are inevitable. PDS Project Manager Sue McMahon has worked tirelessly to keep JPL engineers and university scientists on the same wavelength. No single organization has the scientific expertise to manage all types of planetary data, so PDS was developed and operated as a distributed system both in terms of the data and human talent. At last count, PDS employed the talents of scientists and technologists at 26 universities and laboratories in the United States and Europe. As I said, there are far too many to thank individually. However, I would like to single out two people, Todd King and Steve Joy, who have done the work of developing and operating our part of PDS at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“I am deeply indebted to my colleagues at UCLA who have stimulated my fascination with computing and numerical solutions to both scientific and data problems. Much of my background in data management technology came from late night sessions with Neal Cline and Bob McPherron. In computational physics I have enjoyed a 14-year collaboration with Tatsuki Ogino. Finally, I must recognize the two friends and colleagues who have most influenced me. First, I would like to acknowledge Maha Ashour-Abdalla. Maha and I started out as competitors two decades ago and have been arguing physics and computing and advising each other ever since. Maha, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Finally, I want to thank Margy Kivelson. Margy was a researcher just entering space physics when I was a graduate student. As she learned space physics, she taught me. I will always remember her running into my office to tell me about the new concept she had just learned. They say we learn best when we teach others. Margy, I’m glad to have contributed to your education, since I learned a lot and I have continued to learn through our collaboration ever since”

—RAYMOND G. WALKER, University of California, Los Angeles

Vladimir Cermak


Richard A Carrigan


William Jennings Best


William Lee Quaide


Robert Watson


Honors Contacts

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