ASU President’s Professor Ariel Anbar awarded medal from the Geological Society of America

By

Karin Valentine

Arizona State University President’s Professor Ariel Anbar has been awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America, in recognition of his outstanding research contributions, mentoring generations of students, and vigorous promotion of science in the public sphere.

“This is one of the top honors given by the Geological Society of America,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. “Professor Anbar is a leader in the application of nontraditional stable isotopes for understanding processes and environments in Earth’s history, and so this is an incredibly well-deserved honor.”

In a press release from the Geological Society of America, nominator Thomas Algeo of the University of Cincinnati describes Anbar as a world-class geoscientist and educator.

“It’s astounding and humbling when I look at who’s received this honor before,” Anbar said. “Including my undergraduate and PhD mentors, and so many others who taught and inspired me.”

Anbar is a scientist and educator interested in Earth’s past and future as an inhabited world, and the prospects for life beyond. He is on the faculty of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences, and a distinguished sustainability scholar in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation. Anbar also directs ASU’s Center for Education Through eXploration, which is reinventing digital learning around curiosity, exploration and discovery.

“Ariel Anbar is a remarkable geochemist whose work combines analytical innovation and creative application to illuminate Earth’s environmental history,” said Andrew Knoll of Harvard University, who supported Anbar’s nomination. “Whether it be iron, uranium, molybdenum or other trace metals, his meticulous measurements have opened new avenues for exploring how the Earth system has operated through time. He is also a conscientious citizen of his discipline, ever ready to work for the common good.”

The Geological Society of America’s Arthur L. Day Medal was established in 1948 through a donation by Arthur L. Day, founding director of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. It is awarded annually to recognize outstanding distinction in the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems, with no restriction to the particular field of geologic research. It was Day's wish to provide an award to recognize outstanding achievement in research and to inspire further effort, rather than to reward a distinguished career, and so it has been the longstanding practice of the society to award this medal to geoscientists actively pursuing a research career. A formal ceremony for the award will take place during the Geological Society of America's annual meeting to be held Oct. 25–28.

Past recipients of the Arthur L. Day Medal include Crafoord Prize laureate Wallace Broecker, who had close ties to ASU, as well as Nobel Prize laureates Willard F. Libby and Harold C. Urey.