The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has selected Higgins Professor David Walker as the winner of the 2010 Harry H. Hess Medal. The medal, established in 1984, is awarded annually to an individual "for outstanding achievements in research of the constitution and evolution of Earth and other planets."
Professor Walker is a petrologist in the Geochemistry division at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. His research focusses on the examination of the chemical and physical evolution of the terrestrial planets by the methods of experimental petrology. Such methods can contribute, for example, to our understanding of what is happening thousands of miles below Earth's surface, near Earth's liquid metal outer core. Professor Walker has a parallel interest in developing new experiemental techniques and new materials.
The medals and awards of AGU are among the most respected in the Earth and space sciences communities, honoring the impact of an awardee's research on his/her field over a sustained period of time. Professor Walker will receive the Hess medal at the fall 2010 AGU meeting in San Francisco.
Harry H. Hess
Harry H. Hess made major contributions to the study of the oceanic lithosphere, including the concept that convection cells in the mantle were the driving force for seafloor spreading. Hess discovered and explained the formation of flat-topped seamounts (guyots), performed seafloor gravity studies while submerged aboard U.S. Navy submarines, conducted detailed mineralogic and petrologic studies of peridotites, and was an originator of scientific ocean drilling by the Mohole Project.