Scripps Geophysicist to Receive Franklin Institute Award


The Philadelphia, Pa.-based Franklin Institute announced that Professor of Geophysics Lisa Tauxe of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will receive the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science.

The institute, which has presented awards in a number of science and technology categories since 1824, will honor nine individuals during its 2014 Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony on April 24, 2014. Past recipients have included some of the most celebrated scientists and engineers in history, including Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, and Bill Gates. 

Tauxe’s main research is the behavior of Earth’s geomagnetic field, its strength, and the causes and speeds of its reversals throughout history. In its citation, the institute recognized Tauxe “for the development of observational techniques and theoretical models providing an improved understanding of the behavior of, and variations in intensity of, the Earth’s magnetic field through geologic time.”

“I am, of course, thrilled and honored to be recognized by the Franklin Institute and humbled to join the ranks of such a distinguished group of scientists,” Tauxe said. “I am filled with gratitude for the many who have helped me along the way.”

Tauxe was born in Rochester, Minn. and completed high school at the Ecole d'Humanite in Goldern, Switzerland. She graduated cum laude as Scholar of the House from Yale University and earned an MA, an MPhil, and a Ph.D. in geology from Columbia University. After graduate school, she joined Scripps as an assistant research geophysicist in 1983.

Tauxe has received many awards and honors, including the George P. Woollard Award of the Geological Society of America, Outstanding Academic Title in Earth Science from the American Library Association for Essentials of Paleomagnetism, and the Antarctic Service Medal. She has served as a distinguished lecturer of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions and as an invited speaker of the Science Lecture Series at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Tauxe is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the Geological Society of America, and of the American Geophysical Union. She has served as president of the Geomagnetism/Paleomagnetism Section and is currently the General Secretary/Treasurer of the American Geophysical Union. She has published more than 180 scientific papers.

"Lisa has long been a leader in the study of Earth's magnetic field,” said Scripps Director Margaret Leinen. “Her taking a place alongside some of the most legendary scientists of our time as a Franklin Institute laureate is a well-deserved honor."

The Franklin Institute has previously presented awards to Scripps scientists Victor Vacquier Sr. (1960), Fred Spiess (1965), and former Scripps Director William Nierenberg (1987). Former Scripps research chemist and UC Irvine Chancellor Ralph Cicerone, the current president of the National Academy of Sciences, has also been honored by the Franklin Institute.

In April, the Franklin Institute’s Awards Week activities will include Meet the Scientists, Laureates’ Laboratory, and the Laureates’ symposia. CBS Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer will serve as host of a black-tie affair to honor the 2014 recipients. 

“Each year, some of the most influential pioneers of our time come to the city of Philadelphia to receive this great honor,” said Frederic Bertley, Senior Vice President of Science at The Franklin Institute. “They serve as incredible role models for our youth, helping to ignite that spark of curiosity which has led to so many critical discoveries.”


Related Image Gallery: Scripps geophysicist Lisa Tauxe

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