Scripps, UCSD Professors Garner Prestigious Honors


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego professor Peter Shearer has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original geophysical research. Shearer is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates elected to the Academy during its annual meeting on April 28, which is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a U.S. scientist or engineer. In a separate announcement on April 27 during the academy's meeting, President Barack Obama announced Scripps and UCSD chemistry professor Mario Molina as a member of the President's Council on Science and Technology.

Shearer, a professor of geophysics in the Scripps Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, is a leader in developing new methods to improve our understanding of earthquakes in California and around the world. He recently released a new catalog of more than 400,000 Southern California earthquakes with dramatically improved location accuracy and delineation of fault structures. He developed a technique for direct imaging of earthquake ruptures and applied it successfully to the devastating 2004 Sumutra-Andaman earthquake and the 2004 Parkfield earthquake in central California. He has also used seismic waves to resolve details of deep-earth structure by applying large-scale data processing methods. Shearer earned his Ph.D. in earth sciences from Scripps in 1986.

For his dedication as a professor and mentor, Shearer was awarded the Scripps Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award in 2003. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, authored a textbook on seismology and has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

"Peter joins an impressive cadre of Scripps academics and alums, past and present, who have achieved the extraordinary career achievement of National Academy membership," said Tony Haymet, director of Scripps and vice chancellor for Marine Sciences at UC San Diego.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

In a related announcement during the academy's annual meeting, Mario Molina, a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego was one of 20 scientists and engineers recently named by President Barack Obama to the president's scientific advisory panel. Molina was elected to the NAS in 1993 and in 1995 was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering research into the threat to the earth's ozone layer caused by chlorofluorocarbon gases.

Called the President's Council on Science and Technology, the panel will advise Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on a range of issues pertaining to science, technology and innovation. Molina is also director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City. David E. Shaw, chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research and 1972 UC San Diego alumnus, is also a newly-appointed member of the President's science council.

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