Charles A. Whitten Medal
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Career Stage
Award Type
Union Medal
Of Note
Confers Union Fellowship;
Presented biennially in even-numbered years;
Peer OR self-nomination permitted
Submission Window
17 January - 1 March
Established 1985

Recognizing Outstanding Research on the Form and Dynamics of the Earth and Planet

The Charles A. Whitten Medal is awarded in even-numbered years to a senior scientist in recognition of outstanding achievement in research on the form and dynamics of the Earth and planets. Recipients of this award typically work in the following disciplines: geodesy, nonlinear geophysics, planetary sciences, seismology or tectonophysics.

Charles Whitten was a geodesist with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey who made outstanding contributions to the geodetic sciences, specifically to the research of crustal movements. Whitten formerly served as president of AGU’s Geodesy section (1964–1968) and AGU General Secretary (1968–1974). He was the first recipient of this medal when it was established in 1984.

Honor Benefits
Recipients receive the following:

  • An engraved medal
  • Induction into the AGU College of Fellows (if the honoree has been an AGU member for three consecutive years and is not already a Fellow with exceptions allowed in cases of financial hardship as determined by AGU)
  • Recognition at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded
  • Four hotel nights and two tickets to the Honors Banquet at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded

Criteria for a Successful Nomination

Nominees are evaluated on the following:
  • The quality and impact of the nominee’s work on their field.
  • The extent to which the nominee’s work reaches a broad or traditionally underrepresented audience.
  • The originality/innovative nature of the nominee’s work.


The nominee must be an experienced senior scientist who is an established leader in their field.
Nominators must be active AGU members.
All Parties
Must be in compliance with AGU's conflict of interest and professional conduct policies.
Read AGU's Ethics Policies