Brian May receives AGU Union “Athelstan Spilhaus” Award


AGU Awards

It is announced that Brian May been awarded the following:

Athelstan Spilhaus Award
Brian May, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)

About the award:

The Athelstan Spilhaus Award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of their “enhancement of the public engagement with Earth and space sciences,” through devoting portions of their career conveying to the general public the excitement, significance, and beauty of the Earth and space sciences.

Established in 2003, this award is named in honor of geophysicist and meteorologist Athelstan F. Spilhaus Sr. who enthusiastically made innovative contributions to science, education, and public service. He was a scientist, inventor, innovator, cartoonist, and leader in the geosciences community. His outreach to the general public included an informative science center at the 1961 Seattle World’s Fair and “Our New Age,” and a long-running science cartoon in some 100 Sunday newspapers throughout the US.


2019 AGU Union Medal, Award, and Prize Recipients Announced  (22 August 2019)

The world’s largest organization of Earth and space scientists honors 36 exceptional individuals.

By Robin Bell and Mary Anne Holmes Each year, AGU honors individuals for their outstanding achievements, contributions, and service to the Earth and space science community. AGU medals are the highest honors bestowed by the Union. In this, AGU’s Centennial year, when we commemorate the past and look to the future, we recognize individuals for their body of scientific work and sustained impact within the Earth and space science community. AGU Union awards and prizes recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in scientific research, education, communication, and outreach.

This distinguished group of honorees—scientists, leaders, educators, journalists, and communicators—embodies AGU’s mission of promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.

On behalf of AGU’s Honors and Recognition Committee, the selection committees, and AGU leaders and staff, we are pleased to present the recipients of AGU’s 2019 Union medals, awards, and prizes and honor the important role they play in amplifying the voice of the Earth and space community while inspiring other scientists to help improve lives around the world.

We appreciate everyone who has shown support and commitment to AGU’s Honors Program. Our dedicated volunteers gave valuable time as members of selection committees to choose this year’s Union medal, award, and prize recipients. We also thank all the nominators and supporters who made this possible through their steadfast efforts to nominate and recognize their colleagues.

Celebrate at Fall Meeting

We look forward to celebrating our honorees’ profound contributions at this year’s Honors Ceremony and Banquet, to be held Wednesday, 11 December, at Fall Meeting 2019 in San Francisco, Calif.

Please join us in congratulating our esteemed class of 2019 Union honorees listed below.

—Robin Bell, President, AGU; and Mary Anne Holmes (, Chair, Honors and Recognition Committee, AGU


William Bowie Medal
Barbara A. Romanowicz, University of California, Berkeley; Collège de France; and Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris

James B. Macelwane Medal
Amir AghaKouchak, University of California, Irvine
Anton Artemyev, University of California, Los Angeles
Emily V. Fischer, Colorado State University
Francis A. Macdonald, University of California, Santa Barbara
Erik van Sebille, Utrecht University

John Adam Fleming Medal
Michelle F. Thomsen, Planetary Science Institute

Walter H. Bucher Medal
Leigh Royden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Maurice Ewing Medal
Maureen E. Raymo, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Robert E. Horton Medal
S. Majid Hassanizadeh, Utrecht University

Harry H. Hess Medal
Richard J. Walker, University of Maryland, College Park

Roger Revelle Medal
Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park

Inge Lehmann Medal
Ulrich R. Christensen, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

Joanne Simpson Medal for Mid-Career Scientists
Penelope L. King, Australian National University
Ann Pearson, Harvard University
Fuqing Zhang, Pennsylvania State University

Devendra Lal Memorial Medal
Kuljeet Kaur Marhas, Physical Research Laboratory


Ambassador Award
Sunanda Basu, National Science Foundation (Ret.) A
lik Ismail-Zadeh, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Margaret Leinen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Constance Millar, Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service
Lixin Wu, Ocean University of China

Edward A. Flinn III Award
James Broda, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Athelstan Spilhaus Award
Brian May, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)

International Award
Susan Elizabeth Hough, U.S. Geological Survey

Excellence in Earth and Space Science Education Award
David J. P. Moore, University of Arizona

Africa Award for Research Excellence in Ocean Sciences
Andrew Green, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Africa Award for Research Excellence in Space Science
Andrew Akala, University of Lagos

Science for Solutions Award
Franziska C. Landes, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism
Alexandra Witze, Freelance

Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism
Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post

David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism
Ann Gibbons, Contributing Correspondent, Science

Spilhaus Ambassador Award Grant
Esteban Gabriel Jobbágy, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and Universidad Nacional de San Luis Michael Edward Wysession, Washington University in St. Loui


Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize
Beth N. Orcutt, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Climate Communication Prize
Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia