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Joanne Simpson Medal For Mid-Career Scientists

Information on the Simpson Medal

The Joanne Simpson Medal is given annually to two to three mid-career honorees in recognition of their significant contributions to Earth and space science. Recipients of this award may work across any Earth and space science discipline.

This medal is named in honor of Joanne Simpson, who was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology and during her career made fundamental contributions to modern research on tropical clouds and hurricanes. The medal recognizes exceptional mid-career scientists who have made transformative scientific advances or breakthrough in the Earth and space sciences, have demonstrated strong leadership, and provided outstanding service to science and society. Medalists are selected by the Joanne Simpson Medal Committee.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Joanne Simpson Medal will receive an engraved medal, as well as the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    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)
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    Four complimentary hotel nights at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 5
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy. All individuals should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 1

    Nominees: The nominee is not required to be an active AGU member but must be within 20 years of receiving their Ph.D. or the highest equivalent terminal degree as of 1 January in the year of the nomination.

    PLEASE NOTE: Allowances to this eligibility requirement will be considered under AGU's Honors Program Career Stage Eligibility Requirement Allowance Policy. This policy grants allowances to the career stage eligibility requirement based on the following family or medical leave circumstances: childbirth; adoption; personal serious illness; primary caregiver of a person with a health condition, and any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, child, or parent of the employee is engaged in military service. Allowances for other extenuating circumstances not covered in the above examples (i.e., economic hardship, other career breaks, etc.) can also be considered.

  • 2
    Nominators: Nominators must be active AGU members. 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.
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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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  • Scientific excellence: What are the scientific contributions of the candidate’s body of work through the introduction of new ideas and data collection efforts and/or development of new analytical methods and/or approaches for synthesis across Earth and space science? What publications have resulted and what insights have been gained?
  • Scientific impact: Answer how the candidate’s work has made a significant impact on his/her field overall and its growth, through influencing current and future research. Articulate these contributions and their importance in a way that can be understood by peers and those outside their research field.
  • Broader impact: Evaluate who has benefitted from the work, the candidate’s recognitions and notable service to his/her field, and how they align to the AGU mission and vision.
  • Reputation and leadership: Evaluate whether the candidate’s service, collaboration and leadership have immeasurably aided the work of science or non-profit organizations, government agencies, institutions, and external committees.

Past recipients


Year of honor

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Marie Edmonds
Isabella Velicogna

Penelope L. King


Ann Pearson


Fuqing Zhang


Olivier Bachmann


Endawoke Yizengaw


Honors Contacts

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Artesha Moore

Vice President, Affiliation, Engagement & Membership

202-777-7530 | [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]