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James B. Macelwane Medal

Information on the Macelwane Medal

The James B. Macelwane Medal is given annually to three to five early career scientists in recognition of their significant contributions to Earth and space science. Nominees are selected for the medal based on their depth and breadth of research, impact, creativity as well as service, outreach, and diversity.

The Macelwane Medal was named in honor of former AGU president James B. Macelwane (1953-1956) who was renowned for his contributions to geophysics. Macelwane was also deeply interested in teaching and encouraging scientists, founding the Department of Geophysics at St. Louis University and serving as Dean of the Graduate School, along with various other roles, all while always committing to teach at least one course.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the James B. Macelwane Medal will receive the following benefits during the award presentation year:

  • 1
    An engraved medal
  • 2
    Awardee will be made an AGU Fellow (if the honoree has been an AGU member for three consecutive years and is not already a Fellow)
  • 3
    Recognition in Eos
  • 4
    Recognition and invitation to give a talk at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 5
    Four complimentary hotel nights at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 6
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting


AGU membership is not required for nominees, however, they should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 1
    Nominees: The nominee must be an early career scientist within 10 years of receiving their Ph.D. or the highest equivalent terminal degree as of 1 January of the year of the nomination. Exceptions may be considered by the medal committee.
  • 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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Suggestions for nomination and support letters

All letters should focus on the impact, novelty, creativity, depth, and breadth of the nominee’s research rather than quantitative metrics such as the number of publications or H-factor or biographical facts that are listed in the nominee’s CV. Nominators and supporters should provide a short description of how they know the nominee and his/her work and provide a personal perspective on how the nominee compares with other early career scientists in a broad field. Letters should include an evaluation of:

  • The nominee’s stature
  • The nominee’s impact on mentoring and teaching
  • The nominee’s participation in high-level committees or outreach activities

Nominators and supports should include their own credentials or associations with scientific organizations such as AGU Fellow or member of the National Academies.

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Nominations are Open!

The nomination cycle for 2020 AGU Union awards, medals, and prizes is now open until 15 March. Nominate a colleague, peer or student today.

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Past recipients

Honors Contacts

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Robert Rader

Director, Engagement and Membership

202-777-7418 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Antonio Covington

Program Specialist, Section Awards and Lectures

202-777-7484 | [email protected]