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Award Announcements

Faculty Awards and Honors

2020

  • Caltech Faculty Receive Named Professorships:
    Jennifer Jackson - William E. Leonhard Professor of Mineral Physics
    Nadia Lapusta - Lawrence A. Hanson, Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics
    Victoria Orphan - James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair of the Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions
  • Heather Knutson, an American astronomer working at the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences of the California Institute of Technology, has been awarded the 2020 Paolo Farinella Prize for her significant contributions in our understanding of the structure, evolution and atmospheric dynamics of giant planets.
  • Victoria J. Orphan named Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)
  • Charles Elachi has been selected to receive the 2020 Michael Collins Trophy for Lifetime Achievement, a trophy presented by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum for "outstanding achievements in the fields of aerospace science and technology and their history."

  • Jess Adkins & Mark Simons elected 2018 AGU Fellows. The AGU Fellows program is an honor given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences.
  • Victoria Orphan awarded NOMIS Distinguished Scientist. The NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award is supporting Orphan in her efforts to investigate the impact of marine viruses on the transformation of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur in ocean surface waters and sediments, with the ultimate goal of incorporating the data from this unique stable isotope approach into trophic models for ocean ecosystems.
  • Konstantin Batygin awarded the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship for 2018. The Sloan Research Fellowships, awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, "seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise," according to the organization's website.
  • Jess Adkins is a recipient of the 2018 Science Innovation Award. The EAG Science Innovation Award recognizes scientists who have recently made a particularly important and innovative breakthrough in geochemistry.

  • Konstantin Batygin named a Packard Fellow.
  • Bethany Ehlmann recipient of the Harold C. Urey Prize.The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society has announced that Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann will receive the 2017 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievements in planetary research by an early-career scientist.
  • Paul Wennberg elected to National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.
  • Mark Simons named JPL's new Chief Scientist.
  • Shrinivas (Shri) Kulkarni awarded the 2017 Dan David Prize
  • Ed Stolper was selected as a recipient of the 2017 Roebling Medal, which is the highest award of the Mineralogical Society of America for scientific eminence as represented primarily by scientific publication of outstanding research in mineralogy.

  • Dianne Newman & Victoria Orphan named MacArthur Fellows. The Fellowship is a five-year grant awarded to "individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future," according to the foundation's press release.
  • Konstantin Batygin named one of the 10 most brilliant by Popular Science. Every Year Popular Science launchs a nationwide search to seek the 10 most innovative young minds in science and engineering. These researchers bring creative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.
  • Zhongwen Zhan awarded the 2016 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award from AGU. The Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award recognizes the scientific accomplishments of young scientists in the field of seismology.
  • Paul Asimow awarded 2015-16 Graduate Student Council teaching award .
  • Mark Simons named Solid Earth Science Co-Lead for the NISAR Science Definition Team. Launching in late 2020, NISAR is a joint U.S. - India radar satellite mission that will image most of the Earth's subaerial surface every 12 days. NISAR will provide key observations that constrain basic processes in earthquake science, glaciology, hydrology and ecosystem change, as well as situational awareness information for post-disaster response. For more information on NISAR, please visit http://nisar.jpl.nasa.gov
  • John Eiler elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
  • Dianne Newman awarded the NAS Award in Molecular Biology. The award citation recognizes her for "launching the field of molecular geomicrobiology" and fostering greater awareness of the important roles microorganisms have played and continue to play in how Earth evolved.

  • Ted and Ginger Jenkins Leadership Chair a Tribute to Exploration. Ted (BS '65, MS '66) and Ginger Jenkins—longtime Caltech supporters and early employees in the semiconductor industry—have established a leadership chair for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS). The new leadership chair is one of a set of discretionary endowments being established for Caltech's president, provost, and the leaders of each academic division.
  • Ted (BS '65, MS '66) and Ginger Jenkins—longtime Caltech supporters and early employees in the semiconductor industry—have established a leadership chair for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS). The new leadership chair is one of a set of discretionary endowments being established for Caltech's president, provost, and the leaders of each academic division. - See more at: http://www.caltech.edu/news/new-jenkins-leadership-chair-tribute-exploration-48823#sthash.VVAnG3Df.dpufTed (BS '65, MS '66) and Ginger Jenkins—longtime Caltech supporters and early employees in the semiconductor industry—have established a leadership chair for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS). The new leadership chair is one of a set of discretionary endowments being established for Caltech's president, provost, and the leaders of each academic division. - See more at: http://www.caltech.edu/news/new-jenkins-leadership-chair-tribute-exploration-48823#sthash.VVAnG3Df.dpuf
  • Mike Gurnis awarded the 2015 Gordon Bell Prize for realistically simulating the forces inside the Earth that drive plate tectonics. The Gordon Bell Prizes are a set of awards awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery in conjunction with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers each year at The Supercomputing Conference to recognize outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications. The main purpose of the award is to acknowledge, reward, and thereby assess the progress of parallel computing. The awards were established in 1987. In 2003, Jeroen Tromp along with his postdoc Dimitri Komatitsch were recipients of the Prize. More information on the Gordon Bell Prizes and award winners.
  • Yuk Yung awarded the 2015 Kuiper Prize. The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize, was established by the DPS to recognize and honor outstanding contributors to planetary science. It is to be awarded to scientists whose achievements have most advanced our understanding of the planetary system.
  • Bethany Ehlmann selected for the 2015 AGU Macelwane Medal. In an environment that encourages experimentation, innovation, and the free exchange of ideas, these outstanding contributors to the Earth and space sciences thrive. Their work has a profound impact on the ways we live and think.
  • Joe Kirschvink elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.
  • Ken Farley selected to receive the 2015 Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal by determining the age-date of a rock on Mars – the first age-dating done on another planet. These awards are NASA's most prestigious awards. The Agency Honor Awards are approved by the Administrator and presented to carefully selected individuals and groups of individuals, both Government and non-Government, who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the Agency's mission.
  • Joe Kirschvink elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation
  • Hiroo Kanamori awarded the Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal. The Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal is given to a recipient with consistent contributions of high-quality scientific achievements and service to the Earth sciences having lasting, historic value; who has been recognized for accomplishments in field(s) of expertise by professional societies, universities, or other organizations; and is a senior scientist nearing completion or has completed full-time regular employment.
  • Peter Wyllie received in 2015 one of the new Fellowships of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. To see the IUGG announcements of the new 2015 Awards, and the lists of all Award recipients, visit the IUGG website. http://www.iugg.org/honors/u_awards.php
  • Heather Knutson has been awarded a 2015 Sloan Fellowship
  • Victoria Orphan elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The Academy, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality, and leadership in the microbiological sciences, and election to this group is a mark of distinction.
  • Heather Knutson has been awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for 2015. The Pierce Prize is awarded annually for outstanding achievement over the past five years in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from astronomical objects. It is given to an astronomer who has not attained 36 years of age in the year designated for the award.
  • Konstantin Batygin selected for Forbes's 2015 30 under 30: Science

Student Awards and Honors

2020

2019

  • Ben Cassese, an undergraduate in Planetary Sciences, has been awarded the Fritz Burns Prize in Geology for demonstrating both academic excellence and great promise in GPS.
  • Carl Swindle, a graduate student in Geology, has been awarded the Ian Campbell Award for outstanding performance in field geology courses.
  • Jorge Castillo Castillanos and Stacy Larochelle, graduate students in Geophysics, have been awarded the Richard H. Jahns Teaching Award for outstanding achievement as a graduate teaching assistant.
  • Lyn Li has been awarded the James Michelin Scholarship for outstanding student in geology or geophysics.
  • Karen Pham, an Undergraduate in Geology, has been awarded the Howard Reynolds Memorial Prize in Geology for the potential to excel in the field of geology.

2018

  • Giuliana Viglione, a graduate student in Professor Andrew Thompson's group has been selected to join the 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program.
  • Elise Cutts, has been awarded the Fritz Burns Prize in Geology for demonstrating both academic excellence and great promise in GPS.
  • Cecilia Sanders, a graduate student in Planetary Sciences, has been awarded the Ian Campbell Award for outstanding performance in field geology courses.
  • Michelle Dan, has been awarded the John H. Hall Memorial Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate in GPS.
  • Joe Biasi, graduate student in Geochemistry, has been awarded the Richard H. Jahns Teaching Award for outstanding achievement as a graduate teaching assistant.
  • Karen Pham, an Undergraduate in Geology, has been awarded the James Michelin Scholarship for outstanding student in geology or geophysics.
  • Sarah Crucilla, an Undergraduate in Geology, has been awarded the Howard Reynolds Memorial Prize in Geology for the potential to excel in the field of geology.

2017

  • Jessica Watkins, GPS Chair's Postdoctoral Scholar and California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Fellow, has been selected for the 2017 Astronaut Class.
  • Michelle Dan, has been awarded the Fritz Burns Prize in Geology for demonstrating both academic excellence and great promise in GPS.
  • Lee Saper and Maddie Lewis, graduate students in GPS, have been awarded the Ian Campbell Award for outstanding performance in field geology courses.
  • Angela Nan, has been awarded the John H. Hall Memorial Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate in GPS.
  • Mike Wong, has been awarded the Richard H. Jahns Teaching Award for outstanding achievement as a graduate teaching assistant.
  • Alec Brenner, has been awarded the James Michelin Scholarship for outstanding student in geology or geophysics.
  • Elise Cutts, has been awarded the Howard Reynolds Memorial Prize in Geology for the potential to excel in the field of geology.

2016

  • Yuan Wang, will receive the 2016 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. The award recognizes "outstanding research contributions by a junior atmospheric scientist within three years of his or her Ph.D.
  • Lu Pan, 4th year Planetary Science grad student, has been awarded the 2015-16 Li Ming Scholarship. The Li Ming Scholarship is for outstanding students of Chinese birth, decent or nationality.
  • Sarah Slotznick, graduate student in Geobiology, was awarded the Miller Fellowship for 2016-2019.

2015

  • Sang Chen, graduate student in Geochemistry, was awarded the Chinese Government Scholarship for 2015-16.
  • Sarah Slotznick, graduate student in Geobiology, was selected as a Betty Cook Karrh Memorial Endowed Scholar for 2015-16.
  • 2015 NSF fellowship awardees in GPS: Daniel Johnson, Kyle Metcalfe, Nathaniel Stein, Chanel Valiente, John Naviaux, and Ryan Witkosky.
  • 2015 NASA NESSF awardees in GPS: Jennifer Buz, Patrick Fischer, Cheng Li, Henry Ngo, and Christopher Spalding
  • Jack Muir, graduate student in Geophysics, awarded a John Monash Scholarship for postgraduate studies at a university outside of Australia for 2015. The John Monash Scholarships are Australia's most prestigious national awards, recognizing candidates with demonstrated academic excellence, outstanding performance in their areas of endeavour, who have made a significant contribution to the community and whom have the potential to become leaders in their fields.
  • Jorge Alberto Castillo Castellanos, graduate student in Geophysics, has been awarded the Fulbright-Garcia Robles grant, administered by the U. S. – Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (COMEXUS), to pursue a PhD at Technology at California Institute of Technology.
  • Jena Johnson, graduate student in geobiology, has been awarded the Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize for 2015.
  • Sarah Slotznick, graduate student in Geobiology, has received "Outstanding Mention" from GSA.
  • Vicky Stevens, graduate student in Geology, has been selected to receive the 2015 SSA Student Presentation Award for her presentation entitled: "Interseismic coupling on the Main Himalayan Thrust:Implications for extreme earthquakes".
  • Sarah Slotznick, graduate student in Geobiology, has been selected as the Betty Cook Karrh Memorial Endowed Scholar for 2015-2016.