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john adam fleming medal

Information on the Fleming Medal

The John Adam Fleming Medal is given annually to one honoree in recognition of original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.

Established in 1960, the Fleming Medal is named in honor of John Adam Fleming, who made important contributions to the establishment of magnetic standards and measurements. Fleming served as AGU officer in a number of positions, including: secretary of the Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity section (1920–1929), Union General Secretary (1925–1947), and honorary president (1947–1956).

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the John Adam Fleming 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 at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 3
    Four complimentary hotel nights 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


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 senior scientist, but is not required to be an active AGU member. 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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Nominees are awarded based on criteria around excellence, impact and leadership during their career. Nominators should address the following:

  • Scientific excellence: Explain why the candidate’s published work over his/her career meets the Fleming Medal criterion of outstanding science: “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.”
  • Impact: Provide evidence that the candidate’s work has had a significant impact on his/her field, in terms of original ideas, methods, and/or new observations. The nature of these contributions should be explained in ways that can be understood by those outside the specific research discipline.
  • Broader considerations: Identify who has benefitted from the candidate’s work, and describe service to his/her discipline, particularly as it pertains to the mission of the AGU.
  • Reputation and leadership: Characterize the nominee’s international standing in his/her discipline.
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Past recipients


Dr. Dennis Kent has made many distinguished contributions to paleomagnetism that have had extensive and fundamental impact in the wider Earth sciences. Dr. Kent is a broad thinker who focuses on the bigger questions in his research field and beyond. A key finding that contributed to the establishment of the central paradigm of the Earth sciences — plate tectonics — is that marine magnetic anomalies provide a record in the seafloor of the sequence of polarity reversals of Earth’s magnetic field. With esteemed colleagues, Kent built on this foundation to develop a geomagnetic polarity timescale that provides a chronology for about the last 120 million years of Earth history. This foundational global geochronology has nearly universal utility and has underpinned our understanding of Earth and its history, particularly concerning the timing and rates of Earth processes. With other esteemed colleagues, Kent has effectively doubled the length of the geomagnetic polarity timescale by extending it beyond the timescale available from ocean crust using astronomical tuning of continental and marine sediments. In addition to these “greatest hits,” Kent has made seminal contributions to understanding diverse issues, including how sediments record paleomagnetic signals, how Earth’s magnetic field behaves while it reverses polarity, how the magnetic signature of ocean crust records reversals and variations of intensity of Earth’s magnetic field, testing the foundational hypothesis of paleomagnetism (the geocentric axial dipole hypothesis), building a chronology of human evolution, correcting sedimentary paleomagnetic records to estimate paleolatitude more reliably, and unraveling puzzles involving global plate tectonics and ancient climatic change. All of these subjects are well-plowed ground, yet Kent has managed to make telling contributions to each with a substantial body of work that touches all aspects of the Earth sciences. In addition to these research contributions, Kent has been an exceptional mentor of younger scientists, many of whom have developed into outstanding researchers. He has also served as a leader of globally important professional organizations, including AGU, and research institutions. Few individuals in geomagnetism, past or present, have made such substantial contributions to the advancement of geophysics. Dr. Dennis Kent is a giant of the Earth sciences and a richly deserving John Adam Fleming Medalist. — Andrew P. Roberts Australian National University Canberra, Australia


I thank Andrew Roberts for his generous remarks and the co-nominators for placing my candidacy in such a favorable light that it was accepted by the committee of AGU to bestow this significant honor in geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. I want to take this opportunity to single out the person most responsible for putting me on the path to a career in science that has led to receiving this honor: my dearly departed mentor, colleague and friend Neil Opdyke. He hired me cold to work in the Paleomagnetics Lab at bucolic Lamont during my senior year at City College. He then somehow managed to get me into the graduate program at Columbia; the attractive offer reached me by telegram on Columbia’s R/V Vema just a month into what should have been a year cruise. I accepted, returned to Lamont, and have basically been here since. It was such a jarringly exciting time and place to be. Drifting continents and plate tectonics, geomagnetic polarity reversals recorded in magnetic anomalies and the magnetostratigraphy of deep-sea sediments, the pacing of Pleistocene ice ages were all ripe topics for exploration using paleomagnetism. Neil was the master; he always knew what was important and provided passionate support for pursuing answers with empirical data generated in his lab. I met my wife, Carolyn, at Lamont, where we were part of a wonderful social and intellectual scene. Neil left me the lab when he departed for a tenured position at the University of Florida in 1980, and this presented me the challenge and ultimate deep satisfaction of mentoring a cadre of graduate students and brilliant postdocs and spinning up field projects with colleagues far and near. In the late 1990s, I joined the tenured faculty at nearby Rutgers University, where a singular pleasure was to teach a large undergraduate course called “Earth and Life Through Time.” The course was designed to satisfy a science requirement for nonscience majors, but it enabled me to expand my research horizons. I was also fortunate to supervise outstanding Ph.D. students, with whom I am still actively working. Wish you were here, Neil, but I thank you in spirit along with Carolyn and family and friends and colleagues for all their support and the good ride that made it possible to arrive at this honor bestowed by AGU, the nonpareil geophysical organization I’ve been associated with for my entire career. — Dennis Kent Columbia University New York, New York


David Dunlophas made major discoveries with far-reaching implications in geophysics through his experimental research on magnetite fine particles and by developing, with Professor Wyn Williams, the first 3D numerical model for nanostructured magnetite, predicting unusual vortex spin structures in it. The widely used tome Rock Magnetism: Fundamentals and Frontiers was co-authored by David and his wife and research partner, Dr. OzdenOzdemir. Along with her and many colleagues, students and postdocs, David Dunlop has written over 200 research articles and two dozen chapters to elucidate why ultrafine magnetite and other iron minerals are such vital contributors to the stable memory of ancient magnetic fields in many planetary crusts and meteorites. 

I have known David for more than 50 years now. He has never been a solo sprinter in science. His generosity to me and a hundred other scientists, especially the younger ones, is legendary. He has made significant contributions to the development of strong research in rock magnetism internationally. He has served the Canadian Geophysical Union, AGU and our international body, the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA), in many roles of leadership to advance geomagnetism worldwide. 

I will cite now some of my personal choices among David’s ingenious discoveries in magnetism. During the early days of our lunar sample research, some of us were trying to use rates of acquisition curves in a steady field of viscous magnetization versus time in a small magnetic field. But the soil did not always preserve its magnetic memory by the time one turned around! David sorted out the problem by reminding us that viscosity can work both ways: acquisition and decay. The decay constant for the iron in soils was so large that the imparted magnetization literally decayed in front of our eyes. Similarly, at a 1973 IAGA conference in Japan, David presented a heuristic model by which ocean crust at suitable depths being warmed by thermal gradient could overcome internal energy barriers and add to the stable remanent signal if the ambient temperature was not above the Curie point, of course. 

With his experimental acumen and legendary data sharing, David Dunlop has served the magnetic community in many ways. His time versus temperature nomograms for magnetite- and pyrrhotite-bearing rocks have been used by many colleagues to infer the original depths that the rock came from after exhumation. Because of his thorough preservation of well-characterized data magnetic techniques are now used in planetology, biomagnetism and reading paleoclimate change records in China.

— Subir K. Banerjee 

University of Minnesota Twin Cities 

Minneapolis, Minnesota


A Russian colleague once said, “You don’t need a hundred rubles; you need a hundred friends.” I am profoundly honored to join previous Fleming medalists who blazed the trail in geomagnetism and planetary physics. But I wouldn’t be here today without help from many friends. •

In 1962 Tuzo Wilson, about to discover transform faults and establish plate tectonics, enticed 10 young engineering physics students into geophysics. Magnetic stripes over the oceans are the signature of seafloor spreading — but how do they form and survive over millions of years? My Ph.D. supervisor-to-be Gordon West, with a few sketches, introduced me to magnetic nanoparticles and their coupled-spin domains. Only diamonds are forever, but magnetic nanoparticles run a close second. •

Herein lies a puzzle. Once a second domain develops, the particle should lose its stable magnetic memory — but it doesn’t, fortunately for paleomagnetism, the quantitative record of ancient planetary magnetic fields. This puzzle of pseudo-single-domain magnetic memory has occupied me ever since. It now seems close to solution thanks to Wyn Williams’ micromagnetic modeling, initiated with University of Toronto’s first supercomputer 30 years ago. •

Life is full of adventures. I studied with the giants of rock magnetism, Takesi Nagata and Minoru Ozima in Tokyo and Émile Thellier in Paris. In 1964 Subir Banerjee took an interest in my first conference presentation, kindling our lifelong friendship. Later, his Institute for Rock Magnetism made possible key experiments by our group. David Strangway helped establish our Toronto lab and gave me an entrée into lunar magnetism. Frank Stacey, on a visit to Canada, discovered my work and added references to it in his textbook. Ted Irving invited me to co-author a book, sadly never finished, and while visiting Peter Wohlfarth, the seeds were sown for another book, Rock Magnetism: Fundamentals and Frontiers. •

ÖzdenÖzdemir, co-author of that book and of many seminal papers, has been the mainstay of our group. Experimentalist extraordinaire, she made visible magnetic domains in magnetite’s (110) “magic plane” in a detail never achieved before or since. In an experiment to demonstrate that magnetic stripes can survive chemical change, she spent 4 days and nights in and out of a shielded room. She has no peer. •

One must teach a subject to really learn it. My students and postdocs taught me as much or more than they learned. Today, as colleagues we remain in touch. I am deeply grateful to all of you. •

— David Dunlop •

University of Toronto•

Toronto, Ontario, Canada•



For pioneering theoretical research on solar system plasmas and on development of an advanced numerical model for predicting space weather.

Field Photos 

Tamas Gombosi Fleming Medal Field Photo 1 Tamas Gombosi Fleming Medal Field Photo 2


Michelle F. Thomsen was awarded the 2019 John Adam Fleming Medal at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019 Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2019 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.”



Since the beginning of the space age, the environment outside Earth’s neutral atmosphere has been a laboratory for fundamental plasma physics, for the interaction of the solar wind with the bodies of the solar system, and for phenomena that impact our daily lives. Dr. Thomsen has been at the forefront of space plasma research throughout her career. Her work blends discovery, insight, theory, and skillful data analysis. It has left its mark on our cumulative knowledge and on numerous young scientists mentored by her.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) spacecraft made pioneering observations of the shock formed by the supersonic solar wind encountering Earth’s magnetosphere. The universality of shock waves, their implication in generating cosmic rays, and the contradiction between the collisionless nature of interplanetary space and the requirement for shock dissipation fueled intense scientific activity. Dr. Thomsen discovered the mechanisms for energy partition among electrons, ions, and suprathermal particles and their primary dependence on shock conditions. She discovered intense explosive events, known as hot flow anomalies, capable of distorting the magnetosphere. Her studies of shock particle acceleration and magnetic structure represent both the discovery and comprehensive underpinning of modern shock physics.

Dr. Thomsen exploited the Los Alamos geosynchronous data sets to reveal the dynamics of Earth’s magnetosphere. She demonstrated that intense space weather events require a combination of interplanetary conditions and the state of the plasma in the magnetotail, thus linking bursty flows in the magnetotail to the intensity of geomagnetic activity. Her insight into magnetospheric flows led her to underpin the physics of the Kp index as a measure of activity.

Dr. Thomsen’s masterful analysis of in situ plasma data led to several important studies at Saturn, including the identification of plasmoid structure in its magnetotail. This confirmed the operation of magnetic reconnection in the Saturnian magnetosphere, attributing simultaneous measurements of energetic neutrals to charge exchange with the reconnection-accelerated ions. Her expertise in the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument led to the first discovery of cold charged nanometer-size water ice grains in the geyser plumes from the moon Enceladus. Such grains had been hypothesized to exist in a number of astrophysical contexts.

Throughout all these scientific advances, Dr. Thomsen mentored numerous students and postdocs in the art of rigorous scientific discovery. She has played active roles in community service at local and national levels. She epitomizes the qualities of scientific excellence and leadership that have led to her Fleming Medal.

—Steven J. Schwartz, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder; also at Imperial College London, U.K.


I am deeply grateful to be receiving the Fleming medal, but I feel strongly that it should really be awarded to an entire community of space scientists. Space science, especially work based on spacecraft measurements, is not a lone-wolf operation. In my entire list of publications, only two are sole authored. The rest either have at least one (and often several) coauthor or else were first authored by someone else. In fact, the best papers were generally not mine! At last count, 155 of my colleagues have granted me the privilege of participating in their research. And I haven’t counted them, but probably many more than that have contributed their expertise and insight to my own work. Some of these colleagues read like a Who’s Who of space science, and others were youngsters, just setting out on the grand adventure. To all of them I am deeply grateful for the collegiality and unselfishness that has marked our journey.

I have also been greatly privileged to be able to participate in a number of groundbreaking missions, including the first spacecraft measurements of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s magnetospheres, the first high-resolution measurements of Earth’s bow shock, the first in situ observations of a cometary coma and tail, unique plasma measurements from a six-spacecraft constellation of geosynchronous satellites, in-depth plasma and composition measurements from 8 years of Cassini’s orbit around Saturn, and the rich new plasma data from Juno at Jupiter. The instruments that returned the data from these missions were a marvel of design and construction, and I am greatly indebted to all the scientists, engineers, and other support personnel whose efforts produced such great scientific opportunity. And finally, I am grateful for the encouragement and support of my wonderful family, who have made it possible for me to pursue such a richly rewarding career. I am therefore pleased to accept the Fleming Medal on behalf of the entire “village” of people who have brought us to this day.

—Michelle F. Thomsen, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Ariz.

Forrest S. Mozer was awarded the 2018 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 12 December 2018 in Washington, D. C. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.”



It was recognized at the very outset of the space age that a complete description and understanding of plasmas in space would only be achieved if electric fields (from DC to high frequencies) could be measured together with the particle fluxes and the magnetic fields. Professor Forrest Mozer, an eminent and groundbreaking space physics member of AGU, is the recipient of the 2018 John Adam Fleming Medal. Professor Mozer invented and pioneered the flight of the spherical double-probe techniques that revolutionized experimental space plasma research, techniques that are continuing to make major advances in the field to the present.

Without the electric fields, essential physical quantities such as the Poynting flux could not be determined in the plasmas. Unlike most particle fluxes and magnetic fields, electric fields are generally much more difficult to measure because spacecraft carrying instruments can easily disturb the fields. Early space-age discussions involved the possible feasibility of using electron beams and long antennae of various types. However, double probes proved from the outset to be far superior. In addition to his double-probe innovations, Professor Mozer also was the first to develop and fly (on the International Sun-Earth Explorer 1 (ISEE-1) Earth-orbiting spacecraft) a burst memory device for the capture of waveform bursts (electric and magnetic), which included the first microprocessor flown in space in a science experiment. Such waveform capture, generally triggered by a large-amplitude wave, has become essential in experimental magnetosphere research to return electric (and magnetic) field data that would otherwise be lost and thus not available for complete physical interpretation and application to theory.

Professor Mozer, his students and his colleagues, and, eventually, investigators around the world have employed his electric field and waveform capture inventions and subsequent improvements to make fundamental contributions in many areas of space plasma physics. For example, it was long recognized that electrons and ions produce aurora emissions. Professor Mozer and his students and colleagues, using data from his instruments, discovered that electrostatic shocks (at altitudes of ~1 Earth radius) accelerated the electrons downward into the atmosphere to make discrete auroras. He also discovered double layers and solitary waves in the plasmas in auroral regions and their relevance for acceleration processes.

Without Mozer’s double-probe and waveform burst techniques flown on many spacecraft (including the recent Cluster, Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS), Van Allen Probes, and Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) missions), instances of space plasma reconnection and their physical nature would not have been identified or understood. The very first measurements of the Hall electric field at Earth’s magnetopause were possible because of the double-probe technique. More recently, on the MMS spacecraft, he and his colleagues measured the parallel acceleration of electrons by Fermi reflection from time domain structures in reconnection regions.

In addition to his pioneering contributions over more than 5 decades in space plasma physics, Professor Mozer invented and patented in 1974 the first integrated circuit speech synthesizer in a commercial product. This was motivated in part by his mentoring of a sight-challenged physics graduate student. As an entrepreneur he has cofounded two companies to develop and market speech systems. Professor Mozer, a true Renaissance physicist, amply deserves the John Adam Fleming Medal recognition by AGU.

—Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark; also at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Laboratories (retired), Murray Hill, N.J.


I thank the American Geophysical Union and the Fleming Committee for the honor and satisfaction associated with my receiving the Fleming Medal. I accept it on behalf of the students, postdocs, researchers, engineers, and software developers who did the heavy lifting for which I am being honored. I thank every one of them for making our research both fun and exciting.

This all started in the 1960s when it was known that electrons were accelerated to relativistic energies in the Van Allen radiation belts and auroras but the electric fields responsible for this acceleration were neither measured nor understood. It occurred to me that one might use Langmuir probe theory to put a bias current on a pair of separated spheres and to then measure their potential difference to determine the electric field. The sensors were required to be spherical in order to symmetrize their responses in the directed sunlight, magnetic field, and plasma flow. We tried this detection scheme for the first time on a French sounding rocket flown from Andenes, Norway, in October 1966, and we made the first electric field measurements in the ionosphere. My colleagues in this endeavor were Arne Pedersen, Ulf Fahleson, Carl-Gunne Fälthammar, Mike Kelley, and Paul Bruston.

We continued this research at Berkeley by flying many sounding rockets and more than 100 electric field measuring balloons. Then, in 1976, we had the opportunity of flying a three-axis double-probe electric field experiment on an Air Force piggyback satellite called S3-3. On this flight, we made the first DC and low-frequency electric field measurements above the ionosphere. We observed extremely large parallel electric fields that we called electrostatic shocks and that accelerated electrons to make the discrete auroras that are featured in most auroral pictures. Our team of graduate students and postdocs at that time included Mary Hudson, Bill Lotko, Bob Lysak, John Wygant, Cindy Cattell, Roy Torbert, Bob Ergun, and Gar Bering, all of whom went on to distinguished careers as faculty members at other universities.

Our electric field research continues actively to this day with collaborations involving Ivan Vasko, Oleksiy Agapitov, Vladimir Krasnoselskikh, Solène Lejosne, Ilan Roth, and many others.

And last, I want to thank the group that made all of this seem worthwhile: my children, Mike, Todd, Dana, Laura, Sam, and H.K. Thanks, kids, I love you.

—Forrest S. Mozer, Space Sciences Laboratory and Physics Department, University of California, Berkeley

Mary K. Hudson was awarded the 2017 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 13 December 2017 in New Orleans, La. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.”



Mary K. Hudson, AGU Macelwane medalist and Fellow, is, without peer, a leading international expert in theoretical studies and understanding of Earth’s radiation belts and space plasma environment. Mary Hudson’s research productivity and versatility in a wide range of space plasma topics and her outstanding service to the space physics research community amply qualify her to be the 2017 AGU Fleming medalist.

Early in her career Mary made significant contributions to theoretical studies of plasma processes and instabilities in Earth’s ionosphere. These included a novel tackling of the spread F problem, the existence of which produces (among other deleterious effects) scintillations and outages in communication satellite signals.

The existence of signals in the ­ultralow-­frequency band in Earth’s magnetosphere has been investigated almost since the advent of sensitive magnetic ­field–­measuring instruments in the 19th century. Mary recognized early the importance of these waves for affecting radiation belt dynamics and effectively created a new area of radiation belt research. Seminal theoretical and computer modeling work by Mary (including guidance of her students and colleagues) elucidated the fundamental importance of these waves for the transport and energization of trapped particle radiation.

As ­co–­principal investigator (­co-PI) for two of the
five instruments on each of the dual Van Allen Probes
(VA Probes) spacecraft and as ­co-PI for the NASA Balloon Array for ­Radiation-­belt Relativistic Electron Losses (­BARREL) studies of precipitating electrons, she has provided the essential underlying theoretical and modeling expertise to these projects, as well as to the entire VA Probes program. Her leadership participation has been essential for interpretation and major advances in understanding.

Mary has unselfishly served the space research communities in numerous significant capacities. These include as ­co-PI for the ­decade-­long National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center CISM (Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling). She served as chair of the NSF Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) Steering Committee. Mary served exceptionally well as cochair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Solar and Space Physics. In the AGU family, Mary served on the Education Committee of the Space Physics and Aeronomy section and as secretary of the section. Very importantly, in her professional career at Aerospace and in her several academic positions (including a tenured endowed position at Dartmouth) she has served unselfishly (and often unheralded) as a strong mentor and a talented role model for women physicists and women in technical responsibilities.

—Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark; also at ­Alcatel-­Lucent Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J.


It is my great honor to receive this award around the 60th anniversary of the launch of the first “artificial satellites,” as they were called, Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957 and Explorer 1 on 31 January 1958, first reporting the Van Allen radiation belts. I have had the privilege of studying these in recent years using remarkable data from the NASA Van Allen Probes. I began two solar cycles prior when the Sun changed our view of static radiation belts and space weather emerged as a growing concern in a world now connected by artificial satellites.

I became interested in space and the cosmos early because of the space race and my childhood telescope. I was fortunate to attend a great public university, the University of California, Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to work with pioneers in radiation belt studies at the Aerospace Corporation, George Paulikas and Bern Blake, and another radiation belt pioneer, Charlie Kennel, my thesis supervisor.

Arriving at the University of California, Berkeley in 1974, I was again fortunate when Forrest Mozer led the first electric field ­double-­probe experiment to study processes that produce the aurora. A group of us including Bill Lotko, Bob Lysak, Ilan Roth, Cindy Cattell, John Wygant, and Mike Temerin—all barely 30—made a reputation for ourselves helping to explain the exciting ­S3-­3 satellite observations

I might have stayed in the “auroral zone” had the opportunity not arisen for faculty positions at Dartmouth. My husband, Bill Lotko, and I are both greatly indebted to Professor Bengt Sonnerup, who encouraged a California native to make the leap to rural New Hampshire. I am grateful to numerous very talented students, postdocs, and senior colleagues who made the leap to the Granite State, as well as my funding agencies. It is a great pleasure to share this moment with many of you tonight. James Van Allen told me when he handed me the Macelwane award in 1984 that I was the first woman to receive it. I am most happy this is not the case for the Fleming—Janet! Grandma Sadie Martin “leaned in” a long time ago as one of only four women in her graduating class. Our two wonderful daughters, Lauren and Anna, are paving the way for granddaughters Sally and Maddie to aspire to anything they want to be. I thank them for the future and my husband, Bill Lotko, who has never wavered in his encouragement.

—Mary K. Hudson, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

Robert Coe was awarded the 2016 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 14 December 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and/or related sciences.”



Robert Coe is a ­­­world-­­­renowned scientist who has made significant contributions to several broad areas of geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. His scientific accomplishments have illuminated the research of many who work in areas ranging from geomagnetism and paleomagnetism to volcanology, geochemistry and petrology, and tectonophysics.

Coe is one of the pioneers in paleointensity determination. In the 1960–1970s Coe singularly developed a means of more accurately measuring the intensity of the ancient field recorded in rocks. This method, which bears his name, is now the gold standard of all paleointensity methods. Along the way he has produced many of the most reliable paleointensity values that we have. His most cited Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) papers are still the bedrock references for anyone attempting to do the paleointensity work.

Coe has made significant contributions to the understanding of geomagnetic secular variation, including magnetic field reversals. Coe was one of the first paleomagnetists to use and realize the potential of geodynamo models as a tool to better understand observations of geomagnetic field behavior. He has teamed up with other ­­world-­class scientists, such as Gary Glatzmaier and Peter Olsen, to combine paleomagnetic results with dynamo theory. For example, he and his colleagues have shown that the reversal rate of the geomagnetic field can be significantly affected by lateral changes in the heat flux through the ­­core-­mantle boundary.

Coe has also made seminal contributions to the studies of tectonics. He and his students have carried out paleomagnetic projects in various tectonic settings, over scales ranging from small fault blocks to cratons. These works have led to new ideas about how ­­large-­scale continental collisions occur.

In the area of service, Coe’s record is every bit as exemplary as it is in research and teaching. He has served as editor for JGR and the Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity, as president of AGU’s Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section, and as a member of numerous national and international science panels and advisory boards.

Coe’s unwavering generosity in sharing his time, knowledge, and other resources extends to both colleagues and students. He has set a standard of integrity and professional commitment that is well respected in our community. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development of paleointensity methodology and scientific achievements in tectonophysics and geodynamo research, Coe is thoroughly deserving of the John Adam Fleming Medal.

—Rixiang Zhu, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China


Many thanks to AGU for this honor, to my students and many colleagues around the world for their friendship and collaboration, and to my wife and children for their support and inspiration. Looking back 60 years to when I first entered college, I realize that I’ve been very fortunate. I had no idea I would become a scientist, only that I was searching for understanding and meaning deeper than myself. After a year’s sampling of general education requirements, I was drawn toward the demonstrable truth found in the natural sciences. Eventually my love of the outdoors, mountaineering, and long discussions with my roommate about geologic time led to geophysics. I was privileged to have some truly inspiring teachers and mentors, including William Lipscomb in chemistry and Francis Birch in geophysics as an undergraduate and John Verhoogen, Allan Cox, and Mervyn Paterson as a doctoral student and postdoc. Given license to choose whatever interested me for my thesis, I hit on the ­­little-­studied problem of deciphering the ancient magnetic field intensity hidden in the paleomagnetism of rocks. I managed to make significant progress, but even more satisfying has been to witness the huge strides made since by many younger colleagues. After a formative postdoctoral year in Australia, I again met with great fortune by being offered a job at the new University of California campus in Santa Cruz. With it came the opportunity to help start a department of Earth sciences from scratch in an amazingly beautiful setting, in a culture that emphasized equally the instruction of undergraduate and graduate students, and with complete free rein to pursue my intellectual interests. I made some rewarding excursions into deformation experiments and phase changes in minerals, but once again the many varied aspects of paleomagnetism eventually captured most of my attention, with its combination of fieldwork, lab measurements, and theory. For my entire career, and now into retirement, I’ve been able to investigate the paleointensity, secular variation, excursions, and reversals of the geomagnetic field and tectonics and magnetostratigraphy in regions around the world including North America, Alaska, China, Siberia, and Papua New Guinea. What an incredible privilege it has been to be given the freedom to search for truth and beauty in the natural world, wherever my curiosity led me.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

—Keats, 1819

—Robert Coe, Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz

Andrew F. Nagy was awarded the 2015 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 16 December 2015 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



Professor Andrew F. Nagy is a most appropriate selectee as the 2015 John Adam Fleming Medalist for his seminal contributions to the understanding of the chemistry, dynamics, and energetics of the terrestrial and planetary ionospheres. He began his career in the 1950s on sounding rockets and followed the ascent of the space program to ever-greater altitudes in our atmosphere and then to even greater distances from the Earth to the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

His contributions have been as both an experimentalist and a theoretician. He has had an enormous influence on the fields of solar-terrestrial physics and planetary atmospheres. He has applied his knowledge of the Earth’s atmosphere to better understand the physical and chemical processes of the planets of our solar system. One of his key contributions to planetary science was guiding the Pioneer Venus aeronomy and solar wind interaction investigators as they struggled to understand this first and best example of the interaction of a flowing magnetized plasma with a neutral atmosphere and its ionosphere.

He has contributed importantly to science policy and to the transference of scientific knowledge to the community through his recent book, his publications, and his lectures. Not only has he had a remarkable career of his own, but he has influenced a large number of successful scientists in their research, training the next generation of atmospheric and space scientists to follow their own paths of excellence.

—Christopher Russell, University of California, Los Angeles


Chris, thank you very much for your very kind words. Also many thanks to colleagues who supported my nomination and the committee who made the selection. Looking at the list of previous awardees makes me especially humble to join their company. Being honored by the American Geophysical Union is also very meaningful to me as I saw it grow over the last 50 years. The first Journal of Geophysical Research on my shelf is from 1961, and I remember the first West Coast Meeting at Stanford University around 1963.

At this time it is very appropriate to acknowledge all the people who helped me along my career and were along for the very rewarding and exciting ride that brought me to this point. I was an electrical engineering undergraduate in Sydney, Australia, and as the result of a fluke encounter I received a Fulbright Grant to do graduate work in the United States. Another fluke sent me to Michigan, where looking for a summer job, I was sent to see Nelson Spencer, who at that time was the director of the Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL). He offered me a summer job, which was the beginning of a long and very rewarding career in space science. George Carignan, who was the director of SPRL from 1963 to 1984, was a very supportive and important person in my career. I started out doing experimental work, and the many engineers and technicians, too many to list, played a very important role in these efforts. I moved into theoretical and modeling activities in the 1970s, and from then on I owe a tremendous amount of credit to my colleagues, students, and postdocs. In the latter category are Rich Stolarski, Ralph Cicerone, Bill Chameides, Tom Cravens, and Tamas Gombosi; the last two became colleagues with whom I have worked closely to date. I also need to acknowledge some of the many other colleagues whom I worked with over all these years, such as Peter Banks, Ian Axford, Rick Chappell, and Bob Schunk. Of the many wonderful students let me just mention four, namely, Ray Roble, Janet Kozyra, Hunter Waite, and Yingjuan Ma. Over the years I was also fortunate to be part of numerous spacecraft missions, including OGO-6, Dynamics Explorer, Pioneer Venus, Phobos, and Cassini, which opened exciting new horizons for me.

Last, but not least, I want to thank my family for their support and understanding in putting up with all my absences.

—Andrew F. Nagy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Gary A. Glatzmaier was awarded the 2014 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 17 December 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



Gary Glatzmaier is known worldwide for his pioneering use of massive three-dimensional numerical models that simulate convection in the interiors of planets and stars. His most significant scientific accomplishment is developing a mechanically and thermodynamically consistent numerical model of the geodynamo that produces occasional, spontaneous polarity reversals of the magnetic field that closely resemble the polarity reversals in the paleomagnetic record.

In a series of papers beginning in 1995, Gary and his collaborator Paul Roberts made first-principles numerical simulations of the magnetohydrodynamic dynamo process in the Earth’s electrically conducting fluid outer core, thereby providing a convincing demonstration that the main geomagnetic field is generated by a -self--sustaining fluid dynamo.

In addition to being an important scientific achievement—the origin of Earth’s magnetic field had long been cited as one of the major unsolved problems in physics—this was also a game-changing technological advance. Thanks to Gary’s vision, physical insight, and skill at numerical modeling, along with his generosity in sharing his numerical models with the community, we can now make direct comparisons between numerical dynamo predictions and magnetic data from the Earth and other planets.

Following his work on the geodynamo, Gary also made seminal contributions to the dynamics in Earth’s mantle and the interiors of planets and satellites throughout the solar system, particularly the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn and their moons.

Gary has served with distinction as an officer in the U.S. Navy; as a member of numerous national and international science panels and advisory boards; as a fellow of AGU, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and also as a member of the University of California, Santa Cruz, faculty and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Gary’s unselfish approach to research has spawned a new subfield of our science that aims to reveal the origin of planetary magnetic fields, starting from basic physics and chemistry. His work has inspired a generation of young scientists eager to use numerical dynamos as a tool for understanding how magnetic fields are produced in objects as large as Jupiter, as small as planetary embryos, and as distant as the exoplanets.

The purpose for which the John Adam Fleming Medal was envisioned—to recognize original and highly significant research in geomagnetism and related sciences—is a most fitting description of Gary Glatzmaier’s fundamental and groundbreaking contributions.

—Peter Olson, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.


Thank you, Peter, for those kind words. I am delighted and certainly honored to receive this year’s John Adam Fleming Medal.

I have been very fortunate to have had great opportunities and wonderful colleagues over the years.

Nearly all my research has been based on computer simulations. I wrote the first version of my convective dynamo code 3 decades ago while a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, learning dynamo theory from Paul Roberts and Chris Jones.

I then spent 16 years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory doing computational studies of magnetic field generation in the Sun, Jupiter, and the Earth. I also simulated global circulation in the Earth’s atmosphere and mantle. I’m thankful for all the support I received during those years from NASA and from the University of California’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP). I want to mention Bob Malone, who got me interested in global climate modeling, and Chick Keller, the director of the Los Alamos branch of IGPP at that time. IGPP also sponsored the annual Los Alamos Mantle Convection Workshop, where I first met and collaborated with many now longtime friends and colleagues like Jerry Schubert, Peter Olson, Uli Christensen, and many others.

In 1998 I joined the faculty of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). My teaching there over the past 16 years has been a great experience. I made sure that each of my graduate students learned how to write a two-dimensional nonlinear magnetoconvection code. I have also had many productive research collaborations with my colleagues at UCSC. In particular, my good friend and UCSC colleague Rob Coe collaborated with Paul Roberts and me on geodynamo studies.

When I got the first version of my dynamo code running 30 some years ago, I never imagined I would still be using it today or that others would be using some version of it for their research. I have been improving this code over the years, and now, with the latest massively parallel supercomputers, which allow us to run much higher resolution and more realistic cases, it is again time for me to make some major improvements to the anelastic equations and numerical methods used in the code.

In closing I want to thank my wife, Tracy, who has been my best friend.

—Gary A. Glatzmaier, University of California, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Spiro K. Antiochos was awarded the 2013 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



The John Adam Fleming Medal is awarded for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.” Originality and technical leadership are exactly the characteristics that distinguish the research of Spiro K. Antiochos. Spiro possesses a truly unique combination of physical insight, creativity, and mastery of the concepts and mathematical and numerical tools of space physics. These talents have allowed him to develop completely original theories for major observational problems and to test and refine those theories using sophisticated numerical simulation codes that he himself helped to develop. Spiro’s physical insight is especially impressive. He has an uncanny ability to identify the fundamental aspects of complex problems and to see physical connections where others do not. This can sometimes involve ideas that may initially seem counterintuitive to those with less creativity. Many of Spiro’s revolutionary advances have opened up whole new areas of study and shaped the course of space physics. Examples include the breakout model for coronal mass ejections (CMEs), the S-web model for the slow solar wind, and the thermal nonequilibrium model for solar prominences. The breakout model is of special significance to AGU as it strives to promote science for the betterment of humanity. CMEs are enormous explosions on the Sun that can have major “space weather” impacts here on Earth. They affect technologies ranging from communication and navigation systems to electrical power grids. Breakout is the leading theory for why CMEs occur and may one day be the foundation for more accurate space weather forecasting.

In addition to being a science leader, Spiro has played an extremely important role as a community leader. He has served on numerous agency, National Academy, and community committees. Service to AGU includes associate editor of the Journal of Geophysics Research and member of the Fellows Committee. However, one contribution to AGU stands out in particular. As the elected chair of the Solar Physics Division (SPD) of the American Astronomical Society, Spiro organized the first joint meeting between the SPD and AGU, held in the spring of 1994. This watershed event led to steadily growing ties between the SPD and AGU communities. Solar sessions at the AGU Fall Meeting are now more numerous than ever.

Spiro’s many distinguished contributions have been formally recognized before. He is a recipient of the George Ellery Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the E. O. Hulburt Award of the Naval Research Laboratory, the John C. Lindsay Award of the Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Exceptional Scientific Achievement medals. Spiro is an elected Fellow of AGU, the American Physical Society, and the Royal Astronomical Society.

As a world-renowned pioneer and leader in space science, Spiro Antiochos is a highly deserving winner of the 2013 John Adam Fleming Medal.

—JAMES A. KLIMCHUK, Heliophysics Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.


Thank you, Jim Klimchuk, for this far too generous citation, and thank you very much, my AGU colleagues, for honoring me with the Fleming Medal. When I consider the list of excellent scientists who have been awarded the Fleming Medal, I am humbled that you have included me in their company. I am especially proud that this award is from AGU because only later in my career did I change my science focus and join AGU. This was the best professional decision I have ever made. As a result, I have met many wonderful colleagues. I’ve always loved doing research, but my colleagues in AGU have made it so much more enjoyable. Also, moving to AGU gave me the opportunity to participate in truly exciting science. My present position is that of senior scientist for space weather at NASA Goddard. It is interesting to note that the field of space weather science did not even exist when I started my career. I was very fortunate to be part of the beginning of a new field and, as a result, to be able to participate in the explosive advances of space weather science over the past 2 decades.

I’ve witnessed amazing progress during these years, much of it due to improvements in experimentation but much also due to improvements in my areas of expertise: theory and modeling. We can now solve the full set of equations for phenomena that we actually observe on the Sun, the heliosphere, the magnetosphere, and the ionosphere. As a result of this progress in theory and modeling, physics in general has changed completely. When I started in science, physics was all about discovering the laws of nature, but now the frontier work is about understanding how those laws affect humanity. This is the science of AGU, and I am honored that my contributions to that science have been recognized with the Fleming Medal.

Of course, I could have accomplished nothing on my own; all my contributions have resulted from the help of others. First and foremost, I want to thank my family: my sons, Brendan and Brian, and especially my wife, Mary. Her steadfast support and infinite patience have been truly heroic. Also, I am so fortunate to have three close colleagues, Jim Klimchuk, Judy Karpen, and Rick DeVore, with whom I have worked in partnership for many years and who are responsible for any success that I may have had. They have made every aspect of the work enjoyable, even the writing of endless proposals.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my support at NASA headquarters, in particular the Living With a Star (LWS) program led by Lika Guhathakurta and the Supporting Research and Technology (SR&T) program now led by Jeff Newmark and previously by Bill Wagner. NASA has supported my science throughout my career, beginning with graduate school at Stanford in the 1970s, and recently has even gone so far as to hire me.

Finally, thank you, all my colleagues; it is a pleasure to work with you.

—SPIRO K. ANTIOCHOS, Heliophysics Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Mike Fuller was awarded the 2012 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 5 December 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



Mike Fuller has produced innovative research in geomagnetism for over 50 years. He has been a pioneer who applied magnetic measurements to make major advances in physics of magnetic minerals, obtaining and modeling geomagnetic reversal records, origins of crustal magnetism for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and meteorites, and the role of biomagnetism in pigeons, whales, and human brains. Mike also helped design, fabricate, and bring on line a new generation of highly sensitive magnetometers based on superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs).

Mike joined the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics at Cambridge University to do a PhD in 1958. At the time, it was thought that rocks with variable shape or crystalline anisotropy could cause deviations between the thermally recorded magnetization vector in a sample and the geomagnetic field vector. Mike and colleagues showed, however, that the recorded incorrect direction could easily be corrected by measuring susceptibility and remanence anisotropy in the laboratory.

Mike has since made many seminal contributions to fundamental rock magnetism, such as the Lowrie-Fuller test to determine if the observed natural magnetization is from the desirable “single magnetic domain” particles with temporal stability of eons. Even more famous is the much cited 1977 Day et al. paper where Fuller and his students developed a technique to recognize three types of magnetic domain structure that allows us to explain the behavior of many magnetic minerals. Mike and his student Susan Halgedahl showed further that single grains of magnetite much larger (~μm) than the theoretical upper limit of 80 nm can behave like stable single domain grains because of the difficulty in nucleating reversed domains This discovery provided one explanation why less stable multidomain grains can often provide stable magnetic directions.

He went on to produce invaluable work on lunar samples. Mike’s team showed that relative variation of the lunar magnetic field has been dramatic: very high in the first few hundred million years and then a precipitous fall possibly signifying a dying lunar magnetic dynamo. This discovery was first made by Runcorn’s group but was quite controversial. Mike’s work made believers out of many more researchers. For measuring lunar sample magnetism he collaborated with Bill Goree in the development of SQUID magnetometers whose sensitivity and maintenance-free use are phenomenal. Mike was the first to use a SQUID in a pass-through mode, suitable for measuring the magnetization of long cores so as to investigate secular variation and magnetic field polarity transitions. These magnetometers are now standard and irreplaceable equipment on the drilling vessels JOIDES Resolution and CHIKYU, and in many shore-based laboratories.

These few examples out of many illustrate the exceptional breadth of Mike’s research. His most significant advances have been made in lunar magnetism, rock magnetism, and the development of SQUID magnetometers. His CV demonstrates a person of great curiosity and significant practical skill, who has materially advanced our understanding of multiple fields within solid Earth and planetary magnetism.

–Subir K. Banerjee, School of Earth Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Chris Harrison, Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics, University of Miami, Miami, Florida


Thank you Chris and Subir for nominating me for the Fleming Medal, and for your very kind comments on my research. In looking back over the medalists since 1962, it is hard to believe that I could be lucky enough to join such distinguished company. Yet, I have been very lucky through life. First, I was lucky to go to Christ’s Hospital and Cambridge University. Second, my Aunt Marjorie married a physicist, Johnnie Clegg, who was an excellent teacher and inspiration for me. Third, to be born in England in the mid-1930s was to be a member of a fortunate generation of scientists. Providing one safely negotiated World War II, one joined the academic world at a time of great excitement, of expansion, and support for science.

My research started at school, where C. F. Kirby and other science masters, encouraged us to plan experimental tests of all our ideas. At Cambridge, as an undergraduate, with Ron Girdler’s help, I got started on work on magnetic fabrics and their effect on magnetization directions. After graduation, I joined John Belshé’s group. Seiya Uyeda was visiting and helped me in my rock magnetism. On completion of my PhD, a brief Post Doctoral, and a few years in industry at the Gulf Oil Research laboratory, I joined Professor Nagata and Kazuo Kobayashi at the University of Pittsburgh. When Kobayashi returned to Japan, I inherited his group and began nearly 50 years of leading a research group in the style I had learned from Johnnie Clegg and John Belshé.

From my first graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, Bill Lowrie, to my last, Shao Ji-chen, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, I was lucky to have wonderful graduate students from whom I have learned so much. Bob Dunn and his experimental skills were at the heart of much that we did. My most important contribution was probably listening carefully to Bill Goree, when he told me about his SQUID magnetometers. Its applications in our field were very obvious. Sadly he passed away at far too early an age. Other ideas came as group efforts and as the years passed we expanded from rock magnetism to reversal records, to the tectonics of SE Asia, to lunar magnetism and to biomagnetism. I thank those at NSF and NASA, who supported our efforts. This work has brought the joy of working with colleagues from all over the world in some of the great scientific adventures of our times.

Despite all that has gone so happily for me, I am saddened by the changes in universities since I was at Cambridge half a century ago. They have changed fundamentally. Inflated and costly administrations now run universities with concerns closer to industrial concepts than to the welfare of the academy. Meanwhile, and not, I think, just coincidentally, tuition fees for college education have reached astronomic levels. I fear that my generation has not defended the academy as well as we should have.

–Mike Fuller, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

Alan Title was awarded the 2011 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 7 December 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



Alan Title is immensely curious about many things, in both science and society. The combination of that curiosity, a strong memory, and an unusual imagination serves him well, making him a remarkable solar scientist, optical designer, and research manager.

He has led the development of critical hardware components. He motivates an innovative group of engineers in the development of instruments for ground-based observatories as well as on a series of spacecraft, including Skylab, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), Hinode, Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), and the future Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). As principal investigator on these projects, he inspired researchers around the world to new thinking about the behavior of the Sun’s magnetic field. And he tirelessly spreads the discoveries from solar research to other research disciplines as well as to the public.

Alan’s technical skills have helped the observational solar physics community to observe the solar surface at very high resolution by substantive advances in image stabilization and in adaptive optics. He developed the first practical Michelson interferometer filter, now used to measure surface magnetic fields while simultaneously allowing helioseismic measurements that have supported major advances in our understanding of the inner workings of our neighboring star.

Alan’s unrelenting advocacy for an open-data policy, initially for SOHO’s Michelson Doppler Imager and for TRACE, has contributed to making this the standard for all of NASA’s Heliophysics missions, where it is a tremendous stimulus for solar physics in particular and heliophysics in general.

He has supported the community through many committees and panels, including a Decadal Survey Committee, the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council, the NASA Advisory Council, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) council, and many others.

Among his many scientific contributions, his work on the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s surface magnetic field stands out. He invented the term “magnetic carpet” to describe the multitude of dynamic magnetic connections in the solar atmosphere that drive the solar corona and are imprinted in the solar wind. He stimulated feature tracking to map the solar surface flows as these carry magnetic field around. His thinking frequently places problems in a much larger context, and his helpful questioning often enables colleagues to formulate more far-reaching conclusions than they initially saw in their work.

The importance of his work for solar physics, space physics, and related scientific disciplines, be it in the form of hardware development or scientific investigation, makes him a worthy recipient of AGU’s 2011 John Adam Fleming Medal.

—Karel Schrijver, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif.


The Fleming Medal is a great honor. It is especially pleasing to me that AGU recognizes that solar physics is important for understanding the Earth and its surroundings. Also, I accept this honor with the recognition that Alan Title is the name for a team of scientists and engineers who have for more than 4 decades developed instruments, measurement techniques, and data analysis systems. These instruments have been used to explore the Sun from its deep interior to its outer corona. I’ve had the honor of leading this team since 1971, and because of them I am receiving the Fleming Medal.

I have been very, very lucky in my scientific career. My thesis advisor, Robert B. Leighton, had recently discovered the solar 5-minute oscillations and the fact that magnetic field was strong and compact well away from sunspots. These were hot topics at the time, and his students were fashionable. I was also lucky that I was a teaching assistant for the original Feynman lectures. The physics I learned in those classes has been a guide throughout my career. I left California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for Harvard College Observatory, where I had the opportunity of working on the H-Alpha telescope for Skylab. This gave me an introduction the NASA space program and the art of writing proposals. At Harvard I met Larry Mertz and invited him to work in my lab. He in turn revolutionized how I thought about optical filtration techniques. Jim Baker was kind enough to share his thoughts on optical systems. I also met a very bright undergraduate, Ted Tarbell, who is here tonight, and a very bright graduate student, Ruth Peterson, who is also here this evening and who is my wife.

I left Harvard to lead the solar group at Lockheed, which was then at Rye Canyon in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. At Rye Canyon, Harry Ramsey showed me how to design practical optical systems. Five years later the group moved to the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Labs, where we became close collaborators with Loren Acton’s X-ray group. In the 1990s, Phil Scherrer and I formed the Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research.

Looking back on my career, I feel my most important contribution has been my role in developing an international open data policy for heliophysics. Since the SOHO mission all of the heliophysics missions done by NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency/Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, and the European Space Agency have had a policy of releasing near–real time data without restriction. Software to calibrate the data, analysis software, and powerful tools to search the database are now available to all. In the beginning it was hard to convince some scientists and administrators that an open data policy was a good idea and that neither the teams developing instruments nor the funding agencies would suffer from giving away their data; rather, their science would be enhanced by discoveries of the greater community working on the data, while the visibility caused by the greater range and quicker publication of new results would reflect well on the funding agencies. As predicted, the policy has been successful, and all have benefited.

—Alan Title, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif.

James L. Burch was awarded the 2010 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 15 December 2010 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



It is an honor and a pleasure to introduce the 2010 John Adam Fleming Medal recipient, James L. Burch. Jim’s extraordinary career as a scientist and leader in space physics embodies the medal’s recognition of original research and technical leadership.

His early, original research in the 1970s and 1980s on the mysteries of the high-altitude polar regions and Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere was crucial in advancing the field, and these studies are still cited as classic contributions to space physics. This and later fundamental research resulted in his election as AGU Fellow in 1995.

If anything, Jim’s scientific career accelerated and diversified after this milestone. By 1995, Jim was planning the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission. This mission used innovative imaging techniques to observe the global structure and dynamics of plasmas in Earth’s inner magnetosphere. As principal investigator (PI), Jim demonstrated both technical and scientific leadership, publishing numerous, definitive papers using data from the mission. IMAGE changed profoundly the community’s understanding of the inner magnetosphere and its dynamic response to solar wind forcing.

The second quality of Fleming Medal recipients is technical leadership. Jim’s development of Southwest Research Institute’s Space Science and Engineering Division into a world-class organization is extraordinary evidence of his technical leadership. In addition, Jim has been a PI on several successful missions and is currently instrument suite PI for the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. The MMS team includes more than 60 coinvestigators and collaborators from more than 30 institutions. Through Jim’s leadership, this flagship NASA mission will revolutionize the study of magnetic reconnection as a fundamental plasma physics process.

Jim has held several important leadership positions on NASA, European Space Agency, National Academy of Sciences, and National Research Council committees. In particular, he chaired several committees that have defined the course of space physics and aeronomy for more than 2 decades. These include the Space Physics Strategy Implementation Study for NASA in 1989 and, later, the first-ever Sun-Earth Connection (now Heliophysics division) Roadmap Committee in 1996. Mission prioritization for the Heliophysics division’s Solar Terrestrial Probes that came from this committee still remains in effect.

At the National Research Council, Jim was chair of the Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP). During his tenure, Jim led more studies than any other CSSP chair, including initiation of the first-ever Space Physics Decadal Survey. Both the NASA Roadmap and Decadal Survey leadership came at crucial times, when the field needed well-defined direction.

Finally, Jim has been a strong supporter of AGU and has served in several leadership roles, including editor and editor in chief of Geophysical Research Letters (1989–1993), president of the Space Physics and Aeronomy section (1996–1998), chair of the Committee on Public Affairs (2000–2002), and chair of the Meetings Committee (2004–2007).

It is rare to find a scientist like Jim and one who has enjoyed such a successful career. It is equally rare to find a leader with Jim’s technical capabilities, which allow him to participate in complex scientific programs at all levels. The Fleming Medal is a fitting tribute to his career.

—STEPHEN A. FUSELIER, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, Calif.


I first want to thank my good friend and colleague Stephen Fuselier for his very kind citation. While I was shocked to learn of my selection for this medal, it is a great honor to accept it here tonight. Over the past 45 years I have been engaged with AGU in one capacity or another on issues often transcending any scientific boundaries. This involvement led to wonderful friendships with AGU staff members and scientists across various geophysics disciplines. But to receive this great honor was completely unexpected, and I will be forever grateful to AGU and my colleagues who supported my nomination.

Many people deserve my profound thanks, but I can only name a few and describe briefly how I have benefited from my association with them: Brian O’Brien, my thesis advisor at Rice, who introduced me to the joy and rigor of experimental space physics; Eugene Parker, who always makes the correct predictions while reminding me that O’Brien was right when he said, “Jim, you’re just not cut out to be a theorist”; Bob Hoffman, who somehow found me in the Army and gave me my first job in science at Goddard Space Flight Center after 3 years away with no clear path back into the field; Lou Lanzerotti, who showed me that the statesmanlike approach is best for advancing the future of our science; Jerry Goldstein, who demonstrates that the fresh outlook and enthusiasm of younger scientists lead to exciting new breakthroughs even in a fully mature field like space physics; Dave Young, whose work confirms that innovative instrument development is what fuels the scientific engine of space physics; Chris Russell, who relentlessly shows that rapid progress is made when investigations are carefully tailored to available data sets, which in space physics are always incomplete; and Dan Baker, who recognizes that because of the vastness of space, supplementing reductionism with a systems approach to science can lead to results that are both fundamental and far reaching.

Doing research in space requires large resources, and I am grateful to Southwest Research Institute for providing the support necessary for our group to succeed. I commend NASA for maintaining its outstanding long-term program of peer-reviewed science, and I especially want to thank the two most recent directors of NASA heliophysics, George Withbroe and Dick Fisher, for the confidence they have shown in me.

As we all know, a career in science involves hard, interesting, and fun work done with well-educated and like-minded colleagues having high integrity. However, as exciting as work in this field often is, it does not take my breath away. That only happens, and has for the same 45 years, every time I see my wife, Kathy. Finally, the youngest of our three wonderful children, Kenny, is here tonight with his wife, Amy. By his example, Kenny has taught me what is really important in life.

Thank you, everyone, very much for sharing this wonderful evening with me.

—JAMES L. BURCH, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas

Bruce T. Tsurutani was awarded the 2009 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 16 December 2009 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



Bruce Tsurutani has made remarkable contributions to the study of plasma waves at Earth, planets, and comets; to space weather; to magnetotail dynamics; to collisionless shock physics; and to ionospheric perturbations resulting from flares and penetrating solar wind electric fields. But Bruce has taken each of these topics further to examine the consequences as they ripple through the highly connected Sun-Earth system.

He (and colleagues) did the initial and fundamental work in identifying the mechanisms by which geoeffective solar wind disturbances are amplified in the heliosphere to drive extreme events at Earth. However, Bruce’s research into the causes of space weather led him in another direction as well. He demonstrated that low solar activity (indicated by low sunspot numbers) did not necessarily mean low magnetic activity at Earth. He discovered that energy input to geospace during years of strong high-speed stream activity could actually exceed the energy input from the short-lived but intense active region eruptions during solar maximum years. His identification of Alfvén waves as the geoeffective feature in the coronal hole wind drove another breakthrough in our understanding. Most recently he is following space weather impacts down into the ionosphere, examining disruptions that challenge critical communications and navigation systems during extreme events.

A curiosity about how severe a space storm could become drove Bruce to investigate one of the strongest magnetic storms in recorded history, the Carrington event of 1859. A press release was taken up by the news media and even made it onto national television, kicking off a comedy segment reporting “weather” on the Sun. The publicity, and the interest and goodwill it generated, was invaluable. His paper on this storm was ultimately used as part of the basis for a National Academy of Sciences study report on the economic impacts of space weather.

As impressive as Bruce’s work has been, his leadership may actually be his greatest legacy. He served terms as secretary, president-elect, and president of the Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) section of AGU. During this service, he initiated major SPA lectures, a Ph.D. student award, and the revision of the entire AGU index terms. He organized four Chapman Conferences along with a variety of workshops. Many of the resulting publications have become standard references in heliophysics.

Bruce’s leadership also extends into the international community. One of the true merits of his collaborations with scientists worldwide has been his openness and collegiality, earning him their respect and appreciation and making him an important emissary for U.S. science abroad. Over the same time interval that Bruce received a half dozen NASA recognition awards for work on U.S. space missions, he also received the Latin American Geophysical Society Gold Medal and the Brazilian National (Von Braun) Space Medal.

In summary, Bruce has enriched our field through his own research, the ways he has involved the community in that research, and his leadership. This is an excellent opportunity to honor an individual whose career and contributions go right to the heart of the Fleming Medal.

—JANET U. KOZYRA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Thank you, Janet, for your generous and kind words. It is particularly pleasing to have these come from a colleague and highly productive scientist whose work and work ethic I admire. I want to thank Kinsey Anderson of the physics department and the many fellow graduate students and postdocs at University of California, Berkeley for initial guidance along my path toward becoming a useful and productive scientist. Kinsey told his students to always remember to have fun while doing science, words of wisdom that I have cherished. I pass this on to the younger generation out there.

I have had the great fortune to be at an institution (only one in my career), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, that not only fostered my career in space plasma research but also encouraged me to interact intensively with those outside the institution and the country. I have had the very good fortune to partner with great minds in countries like Brazil, Japan, Portugal, Germany, India, and many others. The axiom “two heads are better than one” is certainly a truism if they are able to work together as an equal-partnership team. My publications almost always involve one or several other authors, and I therefore view this award as being a collective one.

I was lucky to come up at a time near the beginning of the space age. I met, and in some cases worked with, giants like Chapman, Alfvén, Forbush, Simpson, Van Allen, Obayashi, and Bryce. These people were “straight-shooting” pioneers who were simply trying to solve the puzzles of nature. Whether they realized it or not, they were role models for me and my generation.

One incurs debts as one moves along the path of life. University training often comes at great expense (mine certainly did). My institution (and eventually the public) has helped me do what I wanted to do scientifically throughout my career. It even paid me for it! These debts should be repaid. It was a great pleasure working with AGU as an officer and in other capacities. In some of these functions, I was able to “facilitate” some of my fellow scientists to help them expose their scientific results and at the same time repay some of my debt. I hope that I am getting close to even on the debt sheet now.

Finally, I would like to thank my ever sharp, gentle, 96-year-old-mother and my deceased attorney father (who forced me to go to university), and my wonderful wife, Olga, for moral support over the years. I am grateful to Ansel Adams for an early birthday photo (under trying circumstances) documenting our humble beginnings. The United States allows one the opportunity to become what one wants to, for which I am very grateful. I hope that I have been a good representative for my ethnicity in return. I also thank my friends (both in and out of science) and colleagues for their con-tinued support. One could hardly ask for more in life. In conclusion, it is a great pleasure and honor for me to accept the AGU John Adam Fleming Medal for 2009.

—BRUCE T. TSURUTANI, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Robert L. Parker was awarded the 2008 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held 17 December 2008 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



This year’s AGU John Adam Fleming medalist, Robert Parker, is a unique individual. He possesses not only enormous mathematical flair and an inquiring mind but also a passion for passing his knowledge and his enthusiasm on to generations of students who have benefited from his tutelage. His research accomplishments range across the entire spectrum of geomagnetism. His elegant and long-standing work in electromagnetic induction and resistivity sounding alone is worthy of the award, and yet Bob has made crucial contributions within the areas of seamount magnetism; statistical models of paleosecular variation; numerical methods for potential field modeling applied to the crust and core; and rigorous theories for extremal inversions for magnetization structure on Earth and on Mars. He is a world-renowned expert on the general subject of inverse theory, having written one of the authoritative books on the subject.

Rigorous interpretation of a set of geophysical data is a passion for Bob Parker. This is borne out no more so than in his work on the inverse problem of electromagnetic induction. This nonlinear problem has a remarkable solution that Bob probably regards as his most important research contribution. Bob’s development of the solution to the inverse problem generated three seminal papers published in the early 1980s showing the form of the best fitting conductivity model for a set of data. A crucial outcome of this work was a definite statement about the maximum depth for which electrical conductivity properties could be derived from a certain data set. Parker’s work on this problem continues to the present day, and his most recent contribution with student Ashley Medin and colleague Steve Constable shows the confidence limits that can be placed on water in the upper mantle.

In the area of main field geomagnetic modeling, Bob Parker was responsible for a paradigm shift in the treatment of the inverse problem of determining the global geomagnetic field. Working with his student Loren Shure and longtime colleague George Backus, his idea of smoothing or regularizing the field at the core-mantle boundary rather than other schemes, termed the method of harmonic splines, has led to discoveries concerning the magnetic field in the core that could never have taken place otherwise. In the area of modeling of magnetic fields and magnetization of surface rocks Bob Parker has made numerous important contributions. He seized the opportunities arising with the advent of new data over seamounts to attack the inverse problem of seamount magnetism. Bob Parker developed the theory of ideal bodies in both gravity and magnetism, and applied the latter to derive bounds on the magnetization on Mars. In paleomagnetism the statistical model of paleosecular variation of Constable and Parker remains a touchstone for paleomagnetism, by virtue of its simplicity. Bob Parker’s well-known book on inverse theory has proved to be an inspiration for many of us, owing to its pedagogical explanations of the intricacies of the subject. Parker has also coauthored the authoritative book Foundations of Geomagnetism.

—ANDREW JACKSON, Institut für Geophysik, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland


Thank you, Andy, for your generous assessment of my work. It is truly an honor to be awarded this prestigious medal and to join the ranks of my illustrious predecessors.

If there is a theme in the list of apparently random things I’ve worked on that Andy has told you about, it is my interest in trying to understand what it is one can deduce from a geophysical data set with utmost confidence. I have been profoundly influenced in this quest by my friend and colleague George Backus, also a Fleming medalist. He once drew a conclusion based on the assumption that the energy stored in the geomagnetic field was probably less than mc2, where m is the Earth’s mass; only George would say, “probably.”

I was attracted to inverse problems in gravity, magnetism, and electromagnetism precisely because they seem to present a much more fuzzy view of the interior than seismology, where things are so beautifully clear, or at least they are alleged to be. A magnetic survey obviously must contain some information, but what is it exactly, given that such a wide variety of models can match observation? A common solution is to pile on as many assumptions as necessary to get a unique answer. But then how much of that answer comes from preconception? My preference is to make as few assumptions as possible and to explore the complete range of alternatives. The downside of my alternative is the risk that when you get your answer, everyone says, “We knew that already.” In fact, everybody didn’t really know it; they just believed it, and there is a difference between knowledge and belief.

I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with some very talented students. I would like to mention a few. Marcia McNutt, president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Research Institute, and former president of AGU, was my student, as was Cathy Constable, who is now my colleague at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and now president of AGU’s Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section. Philip Stark, now a distinguished professor of statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, was my most mathematical and skeptical student; he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Another former student is Loren Shure, employee number 2 at the MathWorks, which created MATLAB. Loren and I wrote a program called plotxy with Alan Chave, which inspired parts of MATLAB. I enjoy writing general-purpose computer programs, but it is the fate of software written by people like me to be overtaken by the work of the professionals, like Loren and my son Paul, who works for Google, by the way.

There are really two aspects of science: the narrative and the technical. The narrative side is the one that gets the public’s attention: meteorite wipes out the dinosaurs; water discovered on Mars; Earth’s magnetic dipole heading toward zero in the near future. But while we all love a good story, it is the quality of the technical support for the story that distinguishes the good science from the bad, separates real neuroscience from Freud. So I am particularly proud to have been awarded AGU’s John Adam Fleming Medal, which explicitly recognizes technical accomplishments.

—ROBERT L. PARKER, University of California, San Diego

Janet G. Luhmann was awarded the 2007 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 12 December 2007 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is “for original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.“



This year’s John Adam Fleming medalist quickly established a reputation as an innovative and productive scientist with a broad range of interests. She made early and seminal contributions to aeronomy, cosmic rays, and magnetospheric and planetary physics. She contributed importantly to the understanding of the interaction of the solar wind with the atmosphere and magnetic fields of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. She has examined the behavior of planetary rings, the interaction of interstellar neutrals with heliospheric plasmas, as well as the interaction of planetary neutrals with the heliosphere. She has led in the study of the interaction of the moon Titan with the Saturn magnetosphere, and most recently she developed a vigorous solar physics effort, leading the im-plementation of the IMPACT particle and field package on the twin STEREO mission, now entering its second year of successful operation.

Like John Adam Fleming many years before her, she not only contributed broadly in her fields of planetary, solar, and space physics but she also led in service to the community. She was elected by her peers to be president of AGU’s Space Physics and Aeronomy section; she was selected by the National Academy of Science to chair the most influential committee in her field, the Committee on Solar and Space Physics [CSSP]; and she was asked by AGU to be editor in chief of JGR-Space Physics [JGR-A] during the difficult period as it ended its sole reliance on the printed page and prepared for the electronic era. In each of these roles she performed unstintingly and without equal. The SPA section grew in numbers and became a coherent voice for its community. CSSP’s advice to NASA led to a series of well-executed missions from which the field is benefiting as we speak and JGR-A published more high-quality articles than it ever had before.

To give you some insight into Janet’s depth, breadth, and advanced thinking, the first talk I heard Janet present was in 1978 at the COSPAR meeting in Innsbruck on the effect of ion engines on the magnetospheric plasma. This was 20 years before we launched the first technology demonstration of an ion-propelled spacecraft and almost 30 years before we sent Dawn, the first ion-propelled, purely scientific mission, on its way to the asteroid belt. She was decades ahead of her time.

We now live in an era of limits. We are running out of space on the planet. There is only so much money for science. Our programs have cost caps. The hardest limit with which to deal is time. There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. Janet somehow seems to have figured out how to conquer this limitation. She does not waste a minute. Wherever she goes, she is reading. She reads on BART; she reads in bank lines; she reads at the supermarket checkout stand.

I would now like to present to you the 2007 Fleming medalist: a woman who has conquered space and time, Janet Luhmann.

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


Thank you, Chris.

Having 2 minutes to speak volumes is only fitting, as that is the way life is. I wonder what John Fleming would think of today’s world and today’s AGU, and of the way our science and scientific research have evolved! Since Fleming’s last publications in the early 1950s, the Apollo pictures of the pale blue dot supposedly stirred in humans the need for living cooperatively and taking care of our planetary home. The world I was to live in would focus on important matters toward the greater good. The quest for and intelligent use of knowledge would be widely appreciated and rewarded. Becoming educated about our universe would be a priority for everyone. Common sense and merit systems would prevail.

Cursing the darkness is easy, but it is better to light a candle. We AGU members are part of a mission to enable human understanding and appreciation of our natural world, and that is becoming an ever greater challenge. Making a difference today requires volunteering one’s scarce time on endless reports, panels, and committees, as that is our system!

I admit to deriving great satisfaction from the opportunities made available to me by colleagues, sponsors, institutions, students, and friends, without whom I would not be standing here. I am grateful and humbled for being recognized. The best part has been the opportunity to do what I do. I may work on Venus data interpretation in the morning, have a Cassini team teleconference on Saturn’s moon Titan at lunch, and check the space weather in the afternoon to see if the Sun has provided new excitement for STEREO observations or CISM project analysis. It is a fantastic way to spend one’s professional life, although I wish it were easier to survive in it and share the highs with others.

In my second minute, I will carry forward a tradition started by my esteemed presenter by urging new thinking on the AGU goals of these honorable events. It is the younger members of our community whose lives and work are most affected by such recognition. The benefits for them extend far beyond these ceremonies. Doors open wider to applicants who come with professional honors. The influence of our increasingly relevant research efforts can be felt sooner and by more people if more students and professionals in all walks of life are exposed to the latest understanding of our planet. Promoting more of our best motivated younger members to help them achieve positions of greater influence in academic and administrative arenas should be a top priority of our union.

Additional young career awards or fellowships for outstanding efforts in science, education, and service would be a small blip on AGU’s radar screen with big impact. These might involve endeavors encom-passing several AGU sections, where answers often lie, so casting a wide net should be considered. As for AGU’s younger members, I urge you to do more than good research. Life is short on cosmic and geophysical timescales. Light as many candles as you can.

—JANET LUHMANN, University of California, Berkeley

Subir Kumar Banerjee was awarded the John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting honors ceremony, which was held on 13 December 2006, in San Francisco, Calif. The medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



Since his arrival in the early 1960s—holding degrees in physics and exploration geophysics from Indian universities, and a Cambridge University (U.K.) Ph.D. in geophysics—Subir Banerjee has maintained an eminent position in the world community of rock magnetists and paleomagnetists. His unique role began with seminal works on the physics of magnetism in natural and synthetic materials, revealing an uncanny insight into the nature of magnetic materials. These early works were instrumental in creating a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of rock magnetism to problems in paleomagnetism. Over subsequent decades Subir has instilled in all of us who research the records gleaned from rocks of Earth’s past magnetic field a fundamental awareness, namely, the need for any solid paleomagnetic conclusion to be anchored in a thorough understanding of the relevant rock magnetic conditions both at the time of and subsequent to the acquisition of remanence.

Subir’s prolific contributions on the fundamentals of magnetic remanence and its carriers in both sediments and igneous rocks—along with those many insights into the potential of rock magnetic investigation applied to a wide array of geophysical problems—are seen consistently throughout his career. With his students, Subir has researched a multitude of rock magnetic matters applicable to important problems in the Earth sciences: magnetic properties of seafloor basalts; paleofield strength on the lunar surface; fine-scale paleosecular variation and paleointensity from lake sediments; and grain-size magnetic thresholds in magnetite, to name a few. The focus he has brought to using variations in magnetic properties in both sediments and soils as proxies for paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental change is an enterprise now seen as a primary reward of rock magnetic study. Whereas many fundamental theoretical concepts of fine-particle magnetism originate in physics, it is the cutting-edge creativity and imagination of Subir and his students which has secured the bridge between rock magnetic study and Earth science as a whole.

What also makes Subir Banerjee such an exceptional researcher is not only his selfless dedication to the field, but also his steadfast belief in nurturing new ideas from younger members of the community; that is, his generous humanity. More than any other rock magnetist or paleomagnetist in the world, Subir Banerjee has fostered close interactions on an international scale. He has been a guiding light, the principal catalyst and spokesperson for a global community of cooperative research. It was Subir’s vision for a center fostering close ties and cross-fertilization of ideas that evolved into the U.S. National Science Foundation-supported Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM) at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he has been director since its inception in 1990. This unique and highly successful facility houses some of the most sophisticated equipment yet developed for understanding the fine structure and properties of carriers of magnetic remanence. Several hundred scientists, emerging and senior, have seen residence at the IRM—truly the epicenter for state-of-the-art rock magnetic research.

At national and international meetings alike—including this very meeting of the American Geophysical Union—there are virtually no sessions involving magnetism and rocks that are not deeply influenced by the insights and the distinguished work of Subir K. Banerjee, this year’s recipient of the John Adam Fleming Medal.

—KENNETH A. HOFFMAN, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


I am most grateful to AGU and the John A. Fleming Medal selection committee for choosing me as the medalist this year. It is not false politeness when I say that I am delighted, but also a bit surprised, at being selected to receive this medal, which honors a famous geomagnetist and is given for research in the magnetism of the whole gamut of solid Earth and its surrounding atmosphere.

Rock magnetism, my research area, concentrates its focus on the submicrometer scale, and my current research on magnetic biomineralization and environmental change is even at the scale of nanometers. What may not be self-evident is the essential role that rock and mineral magnetism plays in interpreting or reinterpreting paleogeomagnetic and paleoenvironmental records. However, as John A. Fleming himself pointed out in 1938, in addition to “ionospheric research to the solution of problems of the ephemeral variations of geomagnetism… [r]esearches on the magnetization of crustal rocks and anomalies of the Earth’s field produced by geological formations are potential sources of information but lightly drawn upon as yet.” (Thank you, Greg Good, for this quote.) By honoring me, therefore, the Union is recognizing the contributions not only of a single scientist but also all of us who work in fine particle magnetism of natural materials for both its fundamental aspects as well as its global applications.

As a research student at Cambridge University (U.K.), I was fortunate to be left alone to ‘sink or swim’ (an old Cambridge tradition) by my genuinely supportive supervisors, J. C. Belshé and the late Sir Edward Bullard. Frank Stacey and fellow graduate students Mike Fuller and Chris Harrison were, however, the day-in and day-out ‘research advisors’ who taught me my rock magnetism. During my postdoctoral years, first at Mullard Research Laboratories (Redhill, Surrey) and then at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (U.K.), I discovered the allure and worth of low-temperature magnetic studies from Kurt Hoselitz and Ken Creer, my postdoctoral advisors, and Bill O’Reilly, with whom I formed a very productive partnership.

After my move to the United States, the late Allan Cox, my first true mentor, firmly redirected my vision of rock magnetism as an end, to a tool to solve larger-scale questions in geomagnetism, marine magnetism, and environmental charge records. The generosity of the U.S. National Science Foundation, the W. M. Keck Foundation, and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, have allowed me to realize my dream of founding the Institute for Rock Magnetism as a new international entity, ‘a college of scholars’ in rock magnetism. I have been helped in this by senior and junior colleagues, too many to be thanked individually. But I would single out for thanks a few, such as David Dunlop, Mike Fuller, Ron Merrill, and the late John Verhoogen from among my senior colleagues; postdoctoral colleagues Bob Butler, Ken Hoffman, Yohan Guyodo, and Thelma Berquó; and students Bruce Moskowitz, Steve Lund, John King, Christoph Geiss, Stefanie Brachfeld, and France Lagroix. The crucial support of my late parents, neither of whom could go to college, and the abiding love and patience exhibited by Karin (my ex-wife), Manju (my wife), and my three daughters, Sujata, Claire, and Rekha, have sustained me throughout, and I thank them from my heart.

—SUBIR K. BANERJEE, Institute for Rock Magnetism, and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota

Margaret G. Kivelson was awarded the Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 7 December 2005, in San Francisco, Calif. The medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



“After a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (with Nobel Prize winner Julian Schwinger) and part-time work at the RAND Corporation during her children’s early childhood, Margaret Kivelson entered geophysics in the 1960s. Since then, Margaret has led a remarkable career in the fields of solar-terrestrial physics, heliospheric and planetary science, and, in particular, planetary magnetism. Her achievements include the following.

“In the 1970s, being involved in the first definitive in situ measurements of solar-terrestrial coupling showing magnetic reconnection was fundamental, developing the best codification of the Pioneer spacecraft Jovian magnetic field measurements, and laying the foundations of a better understanding of how magnetospheric convection feeds Earth’s energetic particle belts. In the 1980s, picking up the challenge to develop a magnetometer for the Galileo mission to the Jupiter system, developing an understanding of terrestrial ULF [Ultra-low frequency] pulsations, and working on the interaction of small bodies with the solar wind.

“In the 1990s, triumphantly leading the Galileo team to a series of astounding discoveries, particularly about the varied magnetic behavior of the Galilean satellites.

“In the past 10 years, the scientific harvest of Galileo has been great, and Margaret’s part in it has been very large. She has been responsible, through the measurements made by her instrument, for the most surprising and challenging results from the mission. Her discoveries concerning the magnetic fields and the magnetized environments of Jupiter’s Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, are going to be seminal references in planetary science.

“No planetary scientist would have predicted that the major and unexpected differences in the magnetic fields of each of the moons would be perhaps the most extraordinary of the harvest of results returned by Galileo. Her scientific leadership was required and tested to the full to overturn some of the very strong initial objections. But now our view of the formation of the moons has to change. The discovery of the intrinsic field of Ganymede would have been a discovery alone, enough to etch her name in history. However, the implications of her work in deducing the existence of magnetic induction signals at Europa and implying thereby a liquid ocean below the ice of Europa have gained her media attention worldwide, and deservedly so. As a renaissance scientist, Galileo and his telescope changed the way we view Jupiter and the universe. On the mission named for him, Margaret’s repertoire of theory, observation, modeling, and data analysis has revolutionized our view of the Galilean moons

“Margaret has educated and inspired many students and colleagues. In her role as educator and scientist, there are few who can match her skill to transform complicated physical ideas into mathematics, and mathematical equations into beautifully crafted prose. Most remarkable, for someone whose scientific genius is such that she could have justifiably focused on her own pursuits, is her continual willingness to find time to work on behalf of other, more junior scientists. Often, but certainly not exclusively, these are female scientists, for whom she has been an extraordinary role model and mentor. For these contributions, and for her scientific achievements and leadership, it is an honor to present Margaret Kivelson with the John Adam Fleming Medal.”

—HOWARD J. SINGER, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colo.


“Thank you, Howard, for your generous words. I am honored to accept the John Adam Fleming Medal, which recognizes original research in space physics. How remarkable to receive accolades for having fun and working with wonderful colleagues. It is a special pleasure to see my name linked to the 37 distinguished recipients who preceded me.

“Today’s honor gives me a chance to thank the many family members, friends, and colleagues whose kindness and commitment to high standards in scholarship helped bring me before you today. My family: My parents, sister, in-laws, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren allowed me to pursue my interests certain of their support, affection, and approval.

“It was my good fortune to be launched on a scientific career under the guidance of Julian Schwinger, whose rigor and emphasis on fundamentals served me well even outside the field of quantum electrodynamics. I owe to him also my circle of longtime friends, many from the impressive group of graduate students who flocked to Harvard to work with him.

“At UCLA[University of California, Los Angeles], I discovered the excitement of space physics. It offered new terrain both in theory, where nineteenth century physics was found to have new and previously unrecognized applications, and in observations, where spacecraft data motivated new concepts and provided tests of theory without which science cannot survive.

“It was Bill Libby who brought me to UCLA, thinking that I knew something about plasmas. Long hours in the library soon gave me the background to fulfill his expectations. Paul Coleman encouraged me to undertake responsibilities on a magnetometer team and set me on the path still followed. Other UCLA colleagues, Krishan Khurana, Ray Walker and Bob McPherron, enrich my days through their friendship and intellectual curiosity. It is particularly fitting that I acknowledge Chris Russell, who as Fleming medalist in 2003 pointed out how few women receive medals. That is probably the only reason why I stand here today, but I do thank Chris for his support of me and other strong female scientists.

“Among those women are many of my special friends: Fran Bagenal, Phyllis Greifinger, Valeria Troitskaya, Imke DePater, Michele Thompson, Michele Dougherty, Renee Prang?Meg Urry, Melissa McGrath, and others who join me in encouraging our younger female colleagues to aim high. Women are still poorly represented at the top levels, especially in academia, but we continue to push.

“The immense reward of working with outstanding students and postdoctoral associates cannot be overstated. Their names should join mine in receiving this honor.

“It is disappointing to both of us that my friend, David Southwood, is unable to be in San Francisco today to share the exhilaration of this event. Our collaboration has enriched my life and my professional contributions. We have written more than 60 papers together. He surely owns a piece of any award given me. Finally, I want to remember my dear husband, Daniel, whose love, friendship, and generosity of spirit made my life beautiful and rewarding. His confidence in my abilities made it possible for me to take on the challenges that led me to this platform today.”


David Gubbins was awarded the Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 15 December 2004, in San Francisco, California. The medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



David Gubbins is one of the most complete geomagneticians possible. His research has cut across the traditional disciplines in geomagnetism, taking him from theoretical magnetohydrodynamics and thermodynamics to observational geomagnetism, palaeomagnetism, and applied crustal magnetism. This breadth has made Dave unique in the subject. That Dave has worked so widely is entirely characteristic of him: His instinct is to follow a problem wherever it leads if he thinks it will bear fruit, and he has no regard for boundaries.

Dave began his research working on kinematic dynamos with Teddy Bullard, and was one of the first to find convincing examples of working dynamos. A second fundamental contribution from Dave’s early career was made in a series of papers in the late 1970s, in which Dave and collaborators Jack Jacobs and Guy Masters began a careful analysis of the thermodynamic equations governing core convection and magnetic field generation. Although this topic has been revisited since, the conclusions stand essentially unaltered today.

Dave combines rigorous mathematical and computational analysis with remarkable physical insight, and is not averse to speculation. For example, in an amazingly prescient paper in the Bullard volume of JGR in 1981, Dave predicted that the inner core was likely to rotate in response to electromagnetic torques acting on it. Numerical dynamos exhibit this effect, and this spawned a whole new (controversial) area, leading seismologists to scrutinize their records for evidence of the effect.

Dave is almost certainly best known for his work on mapping of the field at the core-mantle boundary. He was the first to realize that this is really an inverse problem, addressed in a seminal paper with Kathy Whaler in 1981.

Dave realized the potential benefits of pushing the techniques back into the past; with Ph.D. students beginning with Jeremy Bloxham, Dave created maps of the magnetic field back to 1650.

The fruits of this labor were enormous. The maps revealed an intriguing near-symmetry in the field, and the location of high-latitude flux patches was tantalizingly suggestive of the influence of the inner core. And the longevity of the high-latitude flux patches led Dave to contemplate thermal or topographic coupling to the lower mantle, an effect demonstrated in a series of papers from his long-standing collaboration with Keke Zhang.

I think our picture of the core magnetic field has never been the same since. Dave has been the author of two books and has been an extremely effective mentor for Ph.D. students; 10 of the 17 theses Dave has advised have been in geomagnetism (his other career being a seismologist!).

A tireless servant to the community, Dave has never shied from controversy; for example, his constant needling of palaeomagneticians has led to a much improved discourse between them and the rest of the geomagnetic community. He has served as SEDI chairman, embracing all disciplines relevant to the real focus of his research, the core. It is with pleasure that I present to you my colleague and mentor David Gubbins as the recipient of the 2004 John Adam Fleming Medal.

—ANDREW JACKSON, University of Leeds, U.K.


It is a great honor to accept this 2004 John Adam Fleming Medal from the AGU, and a pleasure to receive such a flattering citation from my colleague and friend Andrew Jackson. The Fleming Medal is given for all forms of geomagnetism, and the list of recipients includes the most brilliant scientists in the field. Two, George Backus and Jack Jacobs, have been very influential in my own scientific development and career.

I have had a lucky career in science. I was lucky to belong to a generation that could attend university in Britain without vast expense to the family, and to have the example of an older brother who was already enjoying a successful academic career. I was lucky that Cambridge took me on despite the advice of my headmaster, and lucky to eventually find myself in Teddy Bullard’s Department of Geodesy and Geophysics in Cambridge, then one of the great crossroads for geophysicists as well a hive of activity itself in the immediate aftermath of the plate tectonic revolution.

It was pure luck to start a Ph.D. in dynamo theory at the time of the smaller, but no less significant, revolution in dynamo theory that occurred in the early 1970s when the work that had been going on for a decade behind the iron curtain by people like Stanislav Braginsky, another Fleming medalist, and Fritz Krause, reached the west; and I was lucky enough to have Keith Moffatt on hand to explain it to me.

My postdoctoral work was in the United States, as it was for many scientists of my generation. In 3 years, I learned the organization and generosity of American science, attained what was then called the ‘BtA’ degree, and returned, with trepidation and some reluctance, to Cambridge and a salary cut of a factor of 5. There my career might have faltered were it not for Jack Jacobs, another Fleming medalist, who had himself just taken a salary cut of a factor of 7 to return from Canada.

Cambridge under Jack continued to be a wonderful place to do science. For me, the years were marked by what now seems like an endless stream of brilliant students, many of whom have stayed in the subject: Guy Masters, Kathy Whaler, Carl Spencer, Colin Thomson, Jeremy Bloxham, Andrew Jackson. Later in Leeds I was joined by Ken Hutcheson, Gideon Smith, Graeme Sarson, Steve Gibbons, and Nick Teanby; the scientific achievements listed in the citation owe more to them than to me.

It is disingenuous to take pride in one’s students achievements, but I cannot help but be proud of having supervised the first woman to be appointed to a chair of geophysics in the U.K.—only the second in the whole of Earth sciences—Kathryn Whaler.

At Leeds, I have been lucky in attracting some brilliant geophysicists to join the department; the U.K. has never had a more stimulating Earth science community. I must make special mention of my scientific collaboration with Keke Zhang. Working with Keke is like getting off your bike and getting a ride in a fast car: Ideas are formulated, tested, replaced, without any worries about a problem extending into months or years. Our collaboration continues today, and will continue as long as I am able to keep up with him.

Geomagnetism is a small but essential part of geophysics. The GP section of AGU is one of the smallest, but it has contributed to many major discoveries, not least the use of reversals in dating plate motions. It is a difficult subject, but the surprises keep coming and I shall continue to enjoy the discoveries to come.

—DAVID GUBBINS, University of Leeds, U.K.

Christopher T. Russell was awarded the Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 10 December 2003, in San Francisco, California. The medal honors “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.”



“Christopher T. Russell of the University of California at Los Angeles has an unequaled record of scientific accomplishment in space physics. His research covers almost all areas of the field, but the emphasis has been on the physics of planetary magnetospheres, including that of Earth, and their interaction with the solar wind. His appetite, energy, and enthusiasm for space physics are of legendary proportions. His bibliography lists more than 300 first-authored papers, and a total of more than 1000. This large body of work has been, and continues to be, essential to the development of space physics as we know it today. Chris is also a very active participant in the international scientific community and has devoted an enormous amount of time, thought, and energy to building and supporting infrastructure for our science.

“Notably, Chris was one of the first to recognize and appreciate fully the importance of Dungey’s suggestion that the dynamic evolution of Earth’s magnetosphere is controlled by magnetic reconnection. In a series of landmark papers beginning in the early 1970s he and his colleagues explored the many different ways in which reconnection would manifest itself in magnetospheric phenomena. Out of that exploration came papers that helped establish the importance of a strong and prolonged southward directed solar wind magnetic field for eroding the dayside magnetosphere and for producing geomagnetic storms; explanations for the diurnal and semiannual variations of geomagnetic activity and for asymmetric polar cap convection; a basic model for magnetospheric substorms that is still fiercely debated today; and the discovery of flux transfer events. The latter not only provided long-sought direct evidence for reconnection at Earth’s magnetopause, but also radically revised the way we think about the reconnection process.

“The above provides a small, but important, sample of the reach and impact of his science. Chris has also published on the interaction of the solar wind with the Moon and with every planet except Pluto, as well as with asteroids, comets, and ephemeral dust trails. His work has helped reveal the physical structure of collisionless shocks and the nature of planetary magnetopauses. He has discovered flux ropes at Venus and has published extensively on ULF waves in planetary magnetospheres, on the intrinsic magnetic fields of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, on lightning on Venus and Earth, on substorms at Mercury and Jupiter, and on a myriad of other topics, including the ridiculous and the sublime. He has created new coordinate systems, new data analysis techniques, new concepts, new missions, new ways of doing space science, and new space scientists, all the while maintaining a keen sense of humor.

“Chris has served as the principal investigator for magnetometer experiments on four space missions and has overall responsibility for the success of the upcoming Dawn asteroid mission. He has previously received honors from the RAS, the AAAS, COSPAR, and the AGU. His exceptional and unique research achievements and technical leadership in space physics and planetary magnetospheres make him a most deserving recipient of this year’s John Adam Fleming Medal.”

—JACK GOSLING, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California, New Mex.


“I am very pleased to receive this award named for a fellow geomagnetician, John Adam Fleming, who was once very influential but is now somewhat less known. For those interested in his career, I refer you to an excellent biography written by Merle Tuve and published in the National Academy’s Biographical Memoirs in 1967. Fleming was ‘an indefatigable worker and a prolific writer.’ He served as General Secretary of AGU for a full solar magnetic cycle, or 22 years. In addition to geomagnetism, the Fleming Medal recognizes work in atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences. Awards, however, are often defined more by the recipients than any other factor. The 35 men who have received this award before me include some of the most brilliant I have ever met. They also include the only scientist who has ever hit me, but that story is better left for another time.

“I have many people to thank for helping me during my career, but none more than my mother, who at 89 years of age is still a very bright woman. She, like myself, was strongly attracted to science, but her father would not allow a young girl to pursue such a career. She was directed to study to be a secretary. Fortunately times have changed, and last year in the United States more doctorates were awarded to women than men.

“We have many excellent female scientists in our profession, and I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best. Among these have been Marcia Neugebauer, Joan Feynman, Margaret Kivelson, and Janet Luhmann. But where are names like these in the list of AGU Fleming medalists? Where are the Carols, Nancys, Patricias, Michelles, and Peggys? It is time for AGU awards to become more inclusive. One way to begin this process is to rename some of the awards. For example, Marcia Neugebauer would be just as appropriate a role model for today’s scientists as John Adam Fleming was for scientists in the 1960s.

“In closing, let me stress that I am very grateful for being selected for this award, but I would have also been quite happy to wait while some of my equally deserving colleagues were honored.”

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

Ronald T. Merrill was awarded the Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 8 December 2002, in San Francisco, California. The medal is given for original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



“Ron Merrill was born in Detroit, Michigan. He obtained a master’s in mathematics from Ann Arbor and then decided to try Earth sciences, going to Berkeley to obtain his Ph.D. under John Verhoogen. With such a background, it is not surprising that Ron has made his mark in solid Earth geophysics. I first met him in 1974, when he worked with me in Australia while on his first sabbatical leave from the University of Washington. Our scientific collaboration has thus extended over nearly 30 years, and it is a great privilege for me to have been asked to present the citation for his award of the John Adam Fleming Medal this evening.

“Ron has made significant contributions in two very different areas of geophysics. He has made original and fundamental contributions to our understanding of rock magnetism, and the processes by which rocks acquire their magnetization and so preserve a record of the ancient geomagnetic field. He was a pioneer in relating paleomagnetic directions recorded in rocks to dynamo theories of the origin of the geomagnetic field. He has been a leader in this field for the past 25 years and has been the senior author of two books that have played an important role in bringing together these diverse disciplines in solid Earth geomagnetism.

“In rock magnetism, Ron was the first to demonstrate nonreproducible self-reversal in rocks. He was the first person to investigate the problem of low-temperature oxidation of magnetite, now known to be quite common in magnetite-bearing rocks. The understanding of the magnetic effects of chemical changes in rocks is of the utmost importance for the interpretation of paleomagnetic results, and Ron was one of the pioneers in this field. In the 1970s, Ron and his students published a series of papers providing the fundamental parameters for the acquisition of TRM and ARM in rocks, including the basic grain size properties. He was the first to realize that the demagnetizing field was in-correctly treated in magnetic studies. This led to the application of micromagnetics to rock magnetic theory and opened up a new era in rock magnetism. Bringing micromagnetic concepts into rock magnetism involved ideas such as LEM states and transdomain remanence. These applications in rock magnetism were the first in physics and predate their use by physicists in magnetic materials. Ron was the first person to use renormalization group theory in rock magnetism, a first in geophysics!

“When Ron first visited me in Australia, we had many discussions on the use of the dispersion observed in young lava flow successions as a measure of paleosecular variation. We wrote our first joint paper on this topic, published in Reviews of Geophysics in 1975. In this review paper, Ron’s major contribution, was to make the first attempt to relate such measurements to dynamo theories. This was the first of a set of pioneering papers leading to the publication of our book in 1983 entitled The Earth’s Magnetic Field: Its History, Origin and Planetary Perspective. Ron was the driving force and senior author of this classic book that relates dynamo theory to the ancient magnetic field measurements derived from paleomagnetism.

“Ron has continued to be at the forefront of this new and exciting dimension in relating paleomagnetic data to dynamo theory. This has been on three main fronts: paleosecular variation, analysis of the time-averaged paleomagnetic field, and the analysis of geomagnetic reversal sequences. At this time, Ron also started to work with my younger colleague Phil McFadden. I understand that we are together referred to as ‘M-cubed’ or the ‘three Ms.’ A major breakthrough occurred when it was realized that variations in the dipole and quadrupole (primary and secondary) families from dynamo theory could be used to model the dispersion of paleomagnetic data from lava flows. The relationship between lower mantle convection and geomagnetism through plumes, Taylor instabilities, and core-mantle interaction led to the realization that the Cretaceous superchron is not a reflection of any difference in stability of the normal and reverse fields. Rather, the reversal process gradually slowed down and then just stopped for a while, because of changing core conditions that eventually passed through a critical stage. With the rapid advances in this field, Ron was again senior author in a complete rewrite of the 1983 book, now written jointly by the ‘three Ms.’ This was published in 1996 as The Magnetic Field of the Earth: Paleomagnetism, the Core, and the Deep Mantle.

“Most of our knowledge of the history of the Earth’s magnetic field has been derived from studies of the magnetization that rocks have acquired over millions of years of Earth history. Ron’s contributions have been fundamental to our understanding of the processes and theory by which rocks acquire their magnetization. Such understanding has been vital in interpreting paleomagnetic measurements in terms of variations in the geomagnetic field with time. His pioneering work in relating these measurements to dynamo theory of the origin of the field has opened up a whole new dimension in solid Earth geomagnetism.

“Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you the winner of the 2002 John Adam Fleming Medal, Ronald T. Merrill.”

—MICHAEL W. MCELHINNY, Port Macquarie, Australia


“Thank you, Mike, for your generous words. I feel greatly honored to receive the John Adam Fleming Medal. I am also delighted and flattered to have such a longtime friend and colleague deliver my citation.

“John Denoyer, a faculty member at the University of Michigan, gave me my first job in geophysics and persuaded me to go to graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley. When I entered Berkeley, John Verhoogen was graduate student advisor. He offered little support for my dream of doing field geology while I climbed mountains, and he insisted that I take a class in E&M. I was tempted to end my career at Berkeley on the spot. I knew that electricity and magnetism were not for me! Eventually Verhoogen became my advisor, and this was one of the best career decisions I have ever made. I also began my friendships with Subir Banerjee, Rob Coe, and Ken Hoffman while at Berkeley, and they have continued to contribute to my scientific growth ever since. Interestingly, all of us eventually ended up serving terms as AGU section presidents. Not long after I left Berkeley, I met a student of Mike McElhinny’s, Charles Barton. Charlie not only became a lifelong friend and colleague, but he also has provided a continual steam of cartoons that I have used in my talks for the past quarter century.

“Perhaps the most important talent I have is my ability to pick good colleagues. Certainly, I need to thank all of my graduate students, my University of Washington colleagues, and also the faculty at the Research School of Earth Sciences of the Australian National University, where I have often visited. I appreciate the generous help I have received over many years from Dave Dunlop, Mike Fuller, Sue Halgedahl, and Bruce Moskowitz in rock magnetism; Gary Glatzmaier and Paul Roberts in dynamo theory; Mike Brown and Frank Stacey in mineral physics; Ken Creager in seismology; and John Booker, Cathy Constable, Dennis Kent, Minoru Ozima, and Dave Stevenson in a variety of subjects. I apologize to the many scientists who I have not explicitly mentioned but who have also significantly contributed to my personal and intellectual growth.

“Naturally, there are a few individuals who require special mention. The first of these is my citationist, Mike McElhinny, with whom I have been working since 1974. It is true, as many of you have probably suspected, that Mike and I drafted our first manuscript in a bar after a long field trip in Australia’s outback. Around 1980, Mike told me that he was trying to hire a paleo-magnetist who was a reader at the University of Rhodesia (now the University of Zimbabwe). He assured me that I would like this unusually brilliant scientist. Immediately, I knew I would dislike this man. After all, what role could I play in our scientific team with Phil McFadden around? Surprisingly, we formed an instant friendship, in part, because we felt we might be the only two people on the planet who believed there was no difference in stability between Earth’s normal and reverse polarity states. Our friendship has continued to grow over the past two decades, a time during which Mike, Phil, and I have published many papers under a variety of permutations and combinations of authors. Finally, I wish to thank my family, my sons, Craig and Scott, and especially my wife, Nancy. Without Nancy’s love and continual support, I would not have received this medal.”

—RONALD T. MERRILL, University of Washington, Seattle

Martin A. Uman was awarded the Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 8 December 2002, in San Francisco, California. The medal is given for original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



“Martin A. Uman is the world’s foremost authority on the physics of lightning, and his contributions in both pure and applied research and in teaching and service have helped to shape progress in the field for almost 40 years.

“Cloud-to-ground lightning produces return strokes, one of the most powerful and damaging processes on Earth, at least at the point of attachment. Martin began his research on lightning in the early 1960s at the University of Arizona, where he analyzed optical spectra of return strokes that had been obtained by Leon Salanave and students such as Richard E. Orville. Martin estimated the peak temperature in a lightning channel, and he made the first estimates of the channel pressure, opacity, and electron density. After a few years, he moved to the Westinghouse Research Laboratories, where he compared the plasma characteristics of lightning with long laboratory sparks and where he wrote two books: one for a popular audience and one technical monograph. Both are still in print. In the early 1970s, Martin moved to the University of Florida, focusing on lightning electromagnetics-work that is his hallmark today.

“While he was at Westinghouse, Martin became interested in the electromagnetic fields that are radiated by lightning. After a short time, he and Kenneth McLain published a new, time-domain theory that described the fields that would be produced by a wave of current that propagated up a long channel at a constant speed. This was an exciting development, because their ‘transmission-line model’ (TLM) predicted a simple relationship between the shape of the radiated field and the current waveform at the ground. Thus, the TLM and a measurement of the field were sufficient to estimate the peak current in a return stroke remotely. After Martin published his model, he and I began a long collaboration in which we measured the characteristics of lightning fields in the time-domain and checked how well the TLM described these fields at various distances. Today, the TLM is being used in many applications worldwide and in research. In 1976, Martin and I co-founded Lightning Location and Protection, Inc. (now Global Atmospheric, Inc.), a small Tucson company that manufactures lightning locating systems and that now owns and operates the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). Today, the NLDN provides real-time lightning data to the National Weather Service and many other agencies, and similar networks are operating in over 40 foreign countries. I can personally attest that Martin’s research provided an excellent foundation for the NLDN and related technology.

“In recent years, Martin has developed new and improved models, and he and Vladimir Rakov have established a large, international laboratory for lightning research and testing near the University of Florida. At this facility, lightning is created artificially using rocket-triggering techniques; and Martin and Vladimir, together with their students and colleagues, are now addressing many questions about the physics of lightning, how lightning interacts with structures, and the mechanisms of lightning damage. They are also using this new knowledge to improve methods of lightning protection and lightning testing.

“In all my associations with Martin Uman, I have found him to be an extraordinary teacher and a scholar of the first rank. He was named Teacher-Scholar of the Year in 1988-1989 at the University of Florida, that university’s highest award for a faculty member, and he was also voted Florida’s Scientist of the Year in 1990 by the Florida Academy of Sciences. AGU has derived much benefit from Martin’s service on committees, his numerous publications, and his insights as a reviewer and an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research. Martin is a Fellow of AGU, AMS, and IEEE, and he received the Hertz Medal from IEEE in 1996.

“On the personal side, Martin is a warm, unselfish individual with a delightful sense of humor. He has helped me and my students at the University of Arizona on numerous occasions, and I am confident that everyone working in atmospheric electricity will be honored by the award of the John Adam Fleming Medal to Martin A. Uman.”

—PHILIP KRIDER, University of Arizona, Tempe


“Thank you very much, Phil. I am particularly pleased that you were able to write my citation. Our long-time collaboration has been a source of considerable pleasure to me, and our joint work has certainly played a significant roll in my being awarded the John Adam Fleming medal.

“The fact that I am in science at all I attribute to an inspiring high school physics teacher, Harry Tropp. My post-Ph.D. career has been strongly influenced by several individuals and several unforeseen events. At the University of Arizona, my primary research in my first faculty position (in the Department of Electrical Engineering) involved the study of weakly ionized gases, an extension of my Ph.D. research. At U.A. in 1962, I serendipitously met the group from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics working on lightning, including my citationist. The subsequent collaboration with this group was to influence the rest of my scientific career, but I didn’t know it at the time.

“At Westinghouse Research Laboratories, my plan was to extend further my dissertation work in Westinghouse’s famous atomic physics group. However, a Boeing 707 exploded after being hit by lightning, and the federal agencies were funding research to understand why. As the laboratory’s only ‘lightning expert’–although I was hardly one then–these circumstances motivated a redirection of my research efforts, and I spent the next 7 years doing little else but studying lightning and long sparks.

“In 1969, Apollo 12 was struck by (actually initiated) lightning (twice) just after launch. More federal money flowed. Phil Krider had received his Ph.D. and was then at NASA in Houston and helped coordinate the lightning community’s lightning/Apollo research effort. Ken McLain (a mathematician at Westinghouse) and I developed some models of return stroke behavior. In order to test those models, Dick Fisher (then an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh working part-time at Westinghouse) and I designed the first wide-band lightning electric field measuring system, initially used in Pittsburgh, and then at the Kennedy Space Center in concert with Phil and, after he joined the U.A. faculty, his research group at U.A. At the University of Florida, most of my research in the 1970s and 1980s was done in collaboration with Phil and his team at U.A. As a by-product, Phil and I developed the lightning locating system he describes in the citation. In the early 1990s, Vlad Rakov from Tomsk Polytechnic, Russia, joined the U.F. faculty, providing a quantum leap in the University of Florida’s lightning research capability. In the mid-1990s, Vlad and I founded the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing (ICLRT) at Camp Blanding, Florida, where to date, over 35 researchers (excluding U.F. faculty, students, and staff) from 13 countries have studied both natural and triggered lightning.

“Clearly, at each stage of my career, I have been fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time and to be able to work with the right people. Some of those individuals are named above. Others, including then-graduate students Y. T. Lin, Maneck Master, Marcos Rubinstein, and Rajeev Thottappillil, and including colleagues Bill Beasley, Gerhard Diendorfer, Doug Jordan, and C. A. Nucci, have also played a very important role in my career and in my being awarded the Fleming. I thank you all.”

—MARTIN A. UMAN, University of Florida, Gainesville

John T. Gosling was awarded the John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Spring Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on June 2, 2000, in Washington, D.C. The medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.



“Dr. John T. (Jack) Gosling of the Los Alamos National Laboratory has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the solar wind and its interaction with the geomagnetic field. His strength is the analysis and interpretation of data obtained from plasma instruments in space; he doesn’t stop at the look?what?we?saw level, but goes on to ask and to answer the difficult questions of physical causes and effects.

“Jack has long studied the evolution of high?speed solar wind streams as they move out through the solar system. The high?pressure interaction regions that develop where fast wind slams into slow wind ahead of it are the dominant solar wind structures in the outer heliosphere. It was Jack who first demonstrated how these interaction regions evolve with distance, ultimately becoming bounded by forward?reverse shock pairs. More recently, he discovered that these interaction regions have large, opposed north?south tilts in the opposite solar hemispheres, a result he explained in terms of flow geometries close to the Sun. Jack was the first to show that the interface between the fast and slow wind often is characterized by a large shear in the flow and a change in chemical composition. He also showed that the slow, dense wind must usually originate within coronal streamers.

“Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, arise from the sudden release into the solar wind of enormous volumes of plasma previously trapped in the corona by the solar magnetic field. Jack was the first to provide a comprehensive description of these events. He developed techniques for identifying CME material in the solar wind and showed that the helical magnetic fields and magnetic topologies often observed within CMEs can arise from three?dimensional magnetic reconnection. Jack was the first to demonstrate that nonrecurrent geomagnetic storms are caused by solar wind disturbances driven by fast CMEs. Then, in a famous paper provocatively titled “The Solar Flare Myth,” he overthrew the old paradigm that solar flares cause major solar wind disturbances, geomagnetic storms, and auroras, pointing out that CMEs were, in fact, the responsible agent. More recently, Jack showed that CMEs observed in the solar wind at high heliographic latitudes are often enveloped by shock waves produced by their overexpansion. He also demonstrated how a slow CME injected into a faster surrounding wind gets accelerated to high speed.

“Jack has worked extensively on problems related to kinetic aspects of collisionless shocks in space. His paper on the different types of suprathermal ion populations observed upstream from Earth’s bow shock opened up a new era of collisionless shock studies in the late 1970s. Jack and his colleagues dissected the physical processes responsible for heating the solar wind plasma and initiating the acceleration of particles at collisionless shocks. Among other things, Jack provided the first direct observational evidence that a shock is unsteady and constantly reforms when the upstream magnetic field is roughly parallel to the shock normal. Finally, Jack has done extensive work on the problem of magnetic reconnection at the Earth’s magnetopause. He was the first to report observations of reconnection both at high latitudes and along the flanks of the magnetosphere, demonstrated that reconnection often produces bulk flow reversals at the dayside magnetopause, and discovered the offset between the electron and ion edges of the low?latitude boundary layer as a unique signature of the reconnection process.

“Jack stands out in the field of space physics not only because of his phenomenal ability and productivity and the diversity of his work, but also because of some unusual personality traits. His insistence on every detail being absolutely correct, and correctly stated, has struck terror into generations of postdocs. When a solar wind physicist receives a 4?page referee’s report suggesting improvements in every aspect of a paper, there’s a good chance Jack was the referee; but his opinions are deeply respected and usually gratefully accepted. He has served our community well in many ways.

“I am delighted to present Dr. John T. Gosling as the winner of the John Adam Fleming Medal for 2000.”

—MARCIA NEUGEBAUER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


“I particularly appreciate Marcia’s citation; not only has she long been a friend and colleague, but also it was Marcia who first proved beyond a doubt that what Biermann and Parker had suggested namely, that a continuous, supersonic wind from the Sun filled interplanetary space actually existed.

“My route to this podium has not been a direct one, nor has it been a solo journey. I’d like to mention a few of the people who have helped make my career in space physics a success. My interest in science developed relatively late, a result of a chance encounter with an astronomy book while laid off from a summer job loading trucks. I initially was in over my head as a physics graduate student at Berkeley, but Bob Brown and Jim Barcus provided just the right level of support in guiding me to my degree while introducing me to the joys of balloon expeditions in the Arctic. As Marcia noted, my career has largely been built on the interpretation of space plasma data; most of those data were provided by a series of superb experiments meticulously designed and executed by Sam Bame. It was Art Hundhausen who, by his example, taught me how to think about and work with space plasma data and who introduced me to compressible fluid dynamics and the physics of stream evolution and disturbance propagation in the solar wind. A large number of individuals, then at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, were responsible for the success of the coronagraph experiment on Skylab and shared in the initial excitement about and studies of coronal mass ejections. It was also in Boulder that I began collaborating with Vic Pizzo, whose models have provided the basis for understanding the Ulysses measurements at high heliographic latitudes.

“For many years at Los Alamos I have worked closely with Bill Feldman and Michelle Thomsen; their different talents and research styles have nicely complemented my own in a large number of investigations. Bill, Michelle, Goetz Paschmann, Chris Russell, and Norbert Sckopke provided many of the insights that helped unravel the physics of collisionless shocks and effects associated with magnetic reconnection at Earth’s magnetopause during our joint analysis and interpretation of the ISEE 1 and 2 data. Later, Dave McComas joined me in a number of solar wind studies and simultaneously has been developing innovative space plasma instrumentation for the future. Others who have contributed substantially to the work being honored here include Steve Fuselier, Terry Onsager, John Phillips, and Pete Riley, all thriving survivors of the postdoctoral experience at Los Alamos, and Nancy Crooker who manages to challenge past conclusions within imitable grace.

“There is much more I’d like to say, about family, especially Judy and Marie; about friends, colleagues, and editors; about the supportive environment provided by the space plasma team at Los Alamos; about the excellent opportunities that have come my way in science and in life; about our remarkable progress these last 35 years in understanding the solar atmosphere and the plasmas and energetic particles that populate space; about the tremendous satisfaction associated with scientific discovery and new physical insight; about the role of passion in scientific accomplishment; about the merit of playing to one’s strengths; about the value of criticism, creativity, and style; about controversies both scientific and otherwise; about competition and cooperation; about the AGU; and about other things, but the AGU wisely limits these responses. I will close simply by thanking those who nominated me for this medal and the Fleming Committee and the Union Executive Committee for finding me worthy of, and trusting me with, this honor. It is very much appreciated.”

—JOHN T. GOSLING, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico

Paul H. Roberts was awarded the 1999 John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 15, 1999, in San Francisco, California. The medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, and related sciences.



The spectacularly realistic simulations of magnetic field generation in the Earth’s core since 1995 have received so much publicity that most geophysicists are well aware of the remarkable progress that has been made in the last few years. The dynamo theory, however, is not new but, rather, a long-standing problem in geophysics. The idea that the magnetic fields of the Earth and Sun arise from dynamos operating in their interiors was first put forward by Joseph Larmor in 1919, but Thomas Cowling ruled out two-dimensional dynamos by his famous theorem in 1933. The period when Paul Roberts was working for his Ph.D. in Cambridge coincides with the time when Walter Elsasser and especially Edward Bullard were making significant efforts on the homogeneous dynamo problem. Paul’s advisor at Cambridge suggested that he might try to solve the dynamo problem.

“Paul received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1954; his dissertation was on theoretical geomagnetism, but there was nothing on the dynamo. He spent post-doctorate years at the University of Chicago and then returned to England and started to work at Newcastle upon Tyne on the problems of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) of the Earth’s core. His early results include a paper written with Stan Scot about the possibility of estimating core surface motion using secular variation data and the frozen flux approximation. In 1968, Paul wrote about the convection in a rapidly rotating fluid sphere. This and a later paper by Fritz Busse in 1970 showed that the motions would be predominantly two-dimensional and confined to a set of convection rolls aligned parallel to the rotational axis.

“In 1975, with Subodh Kumar, Paul presented one of the first successful spherical kinematic dynamos. David Gubbins and Chaim Pekeris and his colleagues came up with other successful models at about the same time. Two other papers from 1972 (one with Michael Stix) became classics of the so called $alpha$-effect dynamo theory. Paul returned to MHD dynamos in the 1980s and worked with Gary Glatzmaier and Stanislav Braginsky. The papers with Stanislav on so-called model-Z dynamos demonstrated the subtle balance between Coriolis, Lorentz, and buoyancy forces in the core.

“The recent developments of the fully three-dimensional MHD models have been really remarkable. Gary and Paul presented their first geodynamo models in 1995, at about the same time as Akira Kageyama, Tetsuya Sato, and their colleagues reported on their successful stellar model. Gary and Paul simplified the problem by using the Boussinesq approximation and obtained a spectacular demonstration of a geomagnetic polarity reversal. They also claimed that the inner core is rotating faster than the mantle by a few degrees per year. The seismologists rose to the challenge, and it is now an exciting if controversial branch of their subject. Their work was followed by several more Boussinesq models by other groups: Jeremy Bloxham and Weijia Kuang; Peter Olson, Uli Christensen, and Gary Glatzmaier; Shigeo Kida and Hideaki Kitauchi; and Ataru Sakuraba and myself.

“In 1996, Gary and Paul decided to move toward more realistic models that include both the compressibility of the Earth and the fact that the fluid core is cooled from the top but freezes from the bottom. The necessary theoretical apparatus was at hand. In 1995, Stanislav Braginsky and Paul published the most thorough investigation ever undertaken of core MHD. Gary and Paul made this the basis of the more realistic model that is now central to their work. They have recently, with Robert Coe and Lionel Hongre, shown how the statistics and reversal characteristics of the geomagnetic field depend on the assumed pattern of heat flow from core to mantle.

“There are about 250 papers listed in Paul’s publication list, and they reveal his broad range of interests, from sonoluminescence to superfluidity. These are remote from geomagnetism, and it would be inappropriate for me to dwell on them here. Instead, I would like to draw your attention to two salient features of the list. The first is that Paul is asked to write a review of dynamo theory just about every year! In my opinion, this reflects how people rely on his judgment in evaluating the progress made in the subject. Second, the list of Paul’s coauthors is truly impressive, showing both that he has always been in the mainstream of scientific developments and that his work has had a strong influence on other people.

“In summary, Paul has made an extraordinary contribution to geophysics, especially to the dynamo theory. He is thus a most fitting recipient of the John Adam Fleming Medal of the American Geophysical Union. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Paul Roberts to you.”

—MASARU KONO, Institute for Study of the Earth’s Interior, Okayama University, Tottori-Ken, Japan


“I am grateful to Masaru Kono for his kind words and for initiating the proposal that led to the honor that the American Geophysical Union has conferred upon me. I would also like to thank others who supported his proposal. I can fairly claim to be one of the doyens of geodynamo theory, one of the old fogies of the subject. It all started for me at the outset of my research career when I asked my advisor in Cambridge to suggest suitable thesis topics and he proposed that I should either prove that fluid dynamos could not exist or find a working model. This was a daunting prospect, indeed, for a starting postgraduate student! After a year, I switched topics and advisors; it would be another 6 years before two fluid dynamos were independently devised, albeit ones that were geophysically unrealistic. During my year of failure I learned a lot about magnetohydrodynamics—then a young subject—and was able to demonstrate that the sources of the geomagnetic secular variation did not have to be, as was commonly supposed at the time, within 100 km of the core surface, a result of erroneously applying the electrodynamics of solid conductors to fluids. With hindsight it seems so obvious, but at the time it did not. My new advisor, Keith Runcorn, was so astonished when I told him that he practically fell off his chair The insight helped me to my Ph.D., and I was able to accept the invitation of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar to become his postdoc at the Yerkes Observatory, where I learned a great deal before having to return to the U.K. to fulfill my national service obligations.

“My interest in the geodynamo was rekindled in 1965 when news reached the west of the powerful advances being made by Stanislav Braginsky. It was an exciting time for the subject. Steenbeck, Krause, and Radler were revolutionizing ideas about solar, stellar, and galactic magnetism, and I began to develop a passion for the subject and, as Hegel wrote, ‘Nothing great in this world has been accomplished without passion.’ Passion, then, is a necessary state, as many of us know well, and it certainly made me an expert in what everyone else was doing and, very occasionally, like Robert Burton’s ‘dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant,’ I could see something a giant could not.

“My move to UCLA in 1986 gave me the privilege and pleasure (which I treasure beyond measure) of working with Stanislav Braginsky and Gary Glatzmaier. I am grateful to them and to many colleagues and students (too many to name here) for contributing to my success as a geophysicist. The geodynamo has come remarkably far since I first encountered it almost 50 years ago, although there is (as I hope the funding agencies have noticed) still much to be done. To compare the subject today with where it stood nearly half a century ago is like comparing the Kitty Hawk with a Boeing 747. And, like the Boeing, there is room for many passengers, though what we need is not passengers but, rather, more hustlers and zealots to propel the subject onward. To them, ‘welcome aboard!’”

—PAUL H. ROBERTS, University of California, Los Angeles

Donald M. Hunten was awarded the John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Spring Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on May 27, 1998, in Boston, Massachusetts. The John Adam Fleming Medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, and related sciences.



“Professor Donald M. Hunten is a model for all of us engaged in the study of planetary atmospheres. He is first of all a superb scientist, one of the finest aeronomers our planet has produced. He is that rare combination of instrumentalist, observer, theorist, and responsible representative of his field that makes a “compleat” scientist.

“Don’s contributions are evident everywhere in the record of terrestrial and planetary aeronomy. In the 1950s, he was preeminent among those who developed the ground-based instruments that obtained the spectra required for an understanding of the excitation of Earth’s airglow and aurora, and he also developed the theories that explained the data. Together with W. Fastie and L. Wallace and his student L. Broadfoot, Don was among the first to instrument and fly the sounding rockets that acquired in situ observations of the same phenomena in the visible and ultraviolet.

“From the Earth and sounding rockets, he easily made the jump to other planets, telescopes, and spacecraft. In the early 1960s, he and J. Chamberlain contributed to the deflation of the Martian atmosphere by demonstrating the weak points in earlier attempts to derive the red planet’s surface pressure, thereby helping to save NASA the embarrassment of a proposed Martian lander whose parachute might never have opened! With R. Goody and N. Spencer, Don was the godfather of the Pioneer Venus mission and a key scientist in its highly successful implementation and the analysis of the results.

“Probably his single greatest achievement was the beautiful development of the theory of diffusion-limited escape and the subsequent analysis of escape of hydrogen from the planets. In the course of that work, he and D. Strobel and T. Donahue used combined flow and gas phase chemistry models to explain how odd hydrogen chemistry works in the Earth’s middle atmosphere and how it is related to hydrogen escape. A similar kind of analysis, this time in parallel with M. McElroy and T. Donahue, explained the perplexing mystery of the stability of the CO2 atmosphere on Mars.

“Turning to the outer solar system, Don developed a model for the atmosphere of Titan prior to the Voyager 1 encounter in 1980 that was so good it became the standard after the data came in confirming it. With his extraordinary intuition and insight, he had correctly surmised that Titan must have a massive, molecular nitrogen atmosphere, well before there was any detection of N or N2 on this intriguing satellite. In the following decade, Don used his excellent grasp of physics together with his extensive experience in deep space missions to play a critical role in the design of the Cassini-Huygens mission, now safely on its way to Saturn and Titan.

“Presently, he is analyzing data from the Galileo Probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere and investigating the tenuous, gaseous envelopes around Mercury and the Moon, showing no signs of slowing down in his endless quest for scientific results of the highest quality.

“No review of Don’s accomplishments in his chosen field would be complete without mention of his stimulation of others through teaching and wide-ranging scientific collaborations that have stressed the interdisciplinary nature of research on planetary atmospheres. He has also been extremely helpful to the scientific community, serving on endless advisory committees including the Space Science Board. He chaired others, such as COMPLEX, served a term as President of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, and even did a stint at NASA Headquarters. In all of these activities, as in his scientific work, Don has always maintained the highest standards and demanded them of others.

“We are delighted he is receiving the 1998 John Adam Fleming Medal of the American Geophysical Union. He is that rare recipient who brings honor to an award.

—TOBIAS OWEN, University of Hawaii


“Thank you very much, Toby, for those kind words. I was fortunate to be born at just the right time to benefit from the huge expansion of universities and of research opportunities, which began just as I received my Ph.D. at McGill University at Stuart Foster’s Radiation Lab in 1950. I was offered a postdoc at the University of Saskatchewan, where Balfour Currie had just received a huge grant from the U.S. Air Force Cambridge Research Center (AFCRC). The broad terms included work on the aurora and upper atmosphere, and I proceeded to build instruments and learn about this new field. One of the principal tools was the 1939 book by John Adam Fleming, Terrestrial Magnetism and Electricity. Although the space age was in its infancy, the work described in that book was from the age of ships, geomagnetic observatories, and ionosondes. To get more up-to-date, I devoured the papers and review chapters of David Bates, some of them written with Marcel Nicolet. Important collaborators from across the border was Joe Chamberlain, who, for a couple of years, was our AFCRC contract monitor and then joined Yerkes Observatory, and Tom Donahue; all three of us shared an interest in sodium airglow.

“In 1962, Joe invited me to join the Space Division at the newly organized Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, and after arranging a leave of absence I moved there a year later. We had a sounding-rocket program and lots of telescopes, but what influenced me most was the scientific staff that Joe had assembled, especially Joe himself and Michael McElroy, who had been a student of David Bates and Alex Dalgarno. A frequent visitor was Richard Goody. Working with them and others such as Lloyd Wallace and Michael Belton, I learned the beginnings of the new field of planetary atmospheres and how to act like a theorist. I became more and more involved with NASA planetary missions, first with analysis of data from the Mars and Venus Mariners and then through the wonderful ultraviolet spectrometers flown by Lyle Broadfoot on Mariner 10 and the Voyagers. Richard Goody involved me in his successful campaign to make Pioneer Venus a reality, and a natural follow-on was the early work defining Galileo and Cassini-Huygens.

“In 1977, I moved across the street to the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), a flourishing institution founded by Gerard Kuiper and built to eminence by Chuck Sonett. Once again, this gave me the opportunity to work with graduate students–always one of my greatest pleasures. I will mention only a few names: Gordon Shepherd, Howard Rundle, and Lyle Broadfoot at Saskatoon, and Nick Schneider, Mark Sykes, Bashar Rizk, and Ann Sprague at LPL. I have learned from everyone I have mentioned, and working with them has always been one of life’s greatest pleasures.

—DONALD M. HUNTEN, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona

Jean-Louis Le Mouël was awarded the John Adam Fleming Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 10, 1997, in San Francisco, California. The Fleming Medal recognizes original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, and related sciences. The citation and response are given here.



“Jean-Louis Le Mouël is among our century’s most effective geomagneticians. It reflects much credit on the AGU that he is now a Fleming Medalist. He has made many significant contributions to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of magnetic data and has solved several long-outstanding theoretical problems. There is space here to describe only some of the highlights of his research: (1) Field and theoretical work to establish the observability of local regions of high conductivity in the crust (channeling and lensing). (2) With Vincent Courtillot and Joel Ducruix, the first observations suggesting a magnetic impulse in 1969, and the most complete discussion of the data and their possible implications for lower mantle conductivity. Based on what appeared to be another impulse over a decade later, Le Mouël, Courtillot, and Dominique Jault predicted a kink in the length-of-day curve. Its timely appearance made a strong case for magnetic impulses. (3) With Courtillot, derivation from the Maxwell equations of a previously ignored physical constraint that helps to estimate the lower-to-upper mantle transfer function at the 11-year sunspot period. (4) The independent discovery that Hill’s hypothesis of tangential geostrophy is defensible in the upper core and removes a large part of the ambiguity in inferring the fluid motion at the top of the core from the magnetic secular variation. (5) With D. Jault and C. Gire, the observation that two purely mechanical torques between core and mantle are probably so large as to preclude detection of magnetic torque in the variations of length of day. These torques arise from geostrophic pressure on Hide’s core-mantle boundary bumps and the gravitational attraction between density inhomogeneities in the core and mantle. (6) With Y. Cohen and M. Menvielle, the use of unmanned balloons to make random magnetometer surveys with a crustal resolution that will never be obtainable from satellites. (7) With M. Alexandrescu and V. Courtillot, the assembly of a geomagnetic time series at Paris going back four centuries. (8) With J. Zlotnicki, the use of magnetic ground surveys in volcanology. (9) With G. Hulot and A. Khoklov, mathematical proofs that the external field can be recovered from complete directional or intensity data on the surface of the Earth. Directional data leave an undetermined multiplicative constant in the recovered field, and the observed direction field on the surface must have only two dip poles. Intensity data must be supplemented by observing the location of the dip equator, and the sign of the recovered field remains ambiguous.

“Jean-Louis’ interest in the details of the data makes him a very effective scientist. For example, while director of the French National Magnetic Observatory at Chambon-le-Foret, he was led by various suspected anomalies in the observations to discover an iron spike left by accident in the concrete magnetometer pier by its original builders, and an electrolytic contact between lead and copper drain pipes activated seasonally by changes in the water table. Both had contributed errors of several nanotesla to the observatory’s data for nearly a century.

“Jean-Louis is a public-spirited scientific citizen and a conscientious administrator. During his 10-year term as director of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, he fostered a stimulating and productive environment for staff, students, and visitors and contributed significantly to IPGP’s success as one of the world’s foremost centers of geophysics. Vincent Courtillot, the current director, continues this tradition for IPGP as a whole, while Jean-Louis focuses his efforts again on the geomagnetism section, which he heads. He has been president of the scientific council of Geoscope (the French program in seismology), of the committee on scientific programs of the French National Space Center (CNES), and of SEDI. He has been a member of the directorate of the international program for magnetic observatories (INTERMAGNET) and of the administrative council of the French National Institute for the Sciences of the Universe (INSU).

“Jean-Louis Le Mouël’s contributions to science have been widely recognized. He is a fellow of the AGU and the Royal Astronomical Society, was president of the Geological Society of France, and is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. In 1988 he was elected to the French Academy of Sciences. The AGU and the holders of the John Adam Fleming Medal are very pleased to welcome him as the newest Fleming Medalist.”

—GEORGE BACKUS, IGPP, University of California, San Diego


“Mr. President, members of the American Geophysical Union, and honored guests. “It is a great and unexpected honor for me to have been elected the 1997 John Adam Fleming Medalist and to receive an award that went to J. A. Van Allen, W. M. Elsasser, K. Runcorn, and other eminent scientists. This statement sounds trite, but I will try to persuade you that it is not. “I came to geophysics by chance, attracted by my former physics teacher in Lycée de Pontivy, E. Le Borgne, who joined Institut de Physique du Globe after writing a thesis on the magnetic properties of soils. Again, after a first work on thermoelastic stresses with G. Jobert, I chose geomagnetism through Le Borgne; at the beginning of the 1960s, E. Le Borgne received the charge of realizing the aeromagnetic surveys planned by the Institut National d’Astronomie et de Géophysique (INAG) and invited me to join him in this enterprise. I also enthusiastically accepted the position of observer-in-charge at the Chambon-la-Forêt Magnetic Observatory, in the heart of the Forêt d’Orléans. It was planned that calibration and verification of the brand-new optical pumping magnetometers to be used in the surveys, an important first step of the program, would be performed at the Observatory.

“E. Thellier was then director of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. His pioneering contribution to rock magnetism and archeomagnetism was well known. However, most of the aspects of geomagnetism were simply ignored in France. Comparing this situation with the one prevailing in Britain, J. Coulomb and E. Thellier wanted to develop geomagnetism and encouraged me in my choice. I spent some years in the Observatory, working at the realization of the INAG aeromagnetic surveys. I gained a deep interest for the measurement of the magnetic field (I am all the more happy to receive the Fleming Medal) and maybe some familiarity with his “character somewhat closed, even for its intimates” (E. Thellier). This is undoubtedly why I am so fond of our Intermagnet project, since I lead it with colleagues sharing the same feelings.

“It was later that I decided, strongly encouraged by C. Allègre, to build in IPGP a team involved in geomagnetism at large, while V. Courtillot started a paleomagnetic laboratory. I could find inspiration, especially in British and U.S. examples. Also, I got interested in the various topics generously enumerated by my eminent citationist G. Backus, among which I could not chose, since I found all of them fascinating. The only rule in our IPGP group was to keep close to the data.

“I was then lucky enough to meet the great names of the discipline at the AGU, IUGG, and SEDI meetings. I will only mention G. Backus and S. Braginsky, two John Adam Fleming Medalists, with whom I had the privilege to do some work. I am also proud to be counted among the founding members of SEDI, and I felt honored when I was elected President, after the premature deaths of E. Benton and D. Doornbos. It was a very light chairmanship, since D. Loper was the one who made things work.

“I am happy to seize the opportunity to thank all the former students and colleagues with whom I have shared great moments, most of whom have been quoted in the citation by G. Backus.

“Mr President, I express my heartfelt gratitude to AGU. The John Adam Fleming Medal is the most splendid award I could dream of.”

—JEAN-LOUIS LE MOUËl, University of Paris, France

Neil D Opdyke


Alexander Dalgarno


John A. Jacobs


Alexander J Dessler


Stanislav I Braginsky


James W Dungey


Kenneth M Creer


Donald A Gurnett


Michael McElhinny


David R Bates


George Backus


William E. Hanson


Stanley Keith Runcorn


Thomas M Donahue


Syun-Ichi Akasofu


Francis S Johnson


Carl E McIlwain


Victor Vacquier


W. Ian Axford


Walter M Elsasser


Joseph Kaplan


Allan Verne Cox


Eugene N Parker


Ernest Henry Vestine


Scott Forbush


Norman F Ness


Edward Olson Hulburt


James A. Van Allen


Lloyd V Berkner


Honors Contacts

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Hannah Hoffman

Program Manager, Fellows

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