Professor Susan Werner Kieffer Recognized as the 2017 Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist

PDF versionPDF version
Professor Susan Werner Kieffer Recognized as the 2017 Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist
Alexandria, VA - The American Geosciences Institute is pleased to recognize Dr. Susan Werner Kieffer, Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with the 2017 Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal. The Medal will be awarded to Dr. Kieffer at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists awards ceremony on April 2, 2017, in Houston.
Dr. Kieffer's career illustrates an amazing commitment to research and service. Her approach-involving field, experimental, and theoretical work-has profoundly influenced understanding of planetary interiors and surfaces, and has highlighted unifying themes across disciplines. In addition, her service to geoscience, both through societies and through other venues, positively impacts both fellow geoscientists and society in general.
Dr. Kieffer has touched the broadest range of geoscience disciplines throughout her career, enriching scientific discovery through her field work, empirical research, and contributions to geoscientific theory. Her research has fundamentally improved our understanding of Earth's interior and surface, and our neighbors in the Solar System. Examples of her eminence in the geosciences abound: Her model of lattice dynamics was instrumental in developing a method to calculate thermodynamics parameters from spectroscopic data, revolutionizing both mineral physics and isotope geochemistry; while working for the U.S. Geological Survey, she rafted the Colorado River numerous times to produce hydraulic maps for all of the rapids within the Grand Canyon; she was the first researcher to lower a video camera into Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park; she was one of the first researchers to visit Mt. Saint Helens after its 1980 eruption; and her research on gas plumes observed on Saturn's moon, Enceladus, has driven vibrant discussion about the presence of water on some of the moons in our Solar System.
She is an active participant in geoscience service at equally high levels. Her work on shockwaves, hydraulic jumps, and volcanic explosions reached lay audiences in her popular science book, The Dynamics of Disaster (2014, W.W. Norton & Company). She is Vice President of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. As the recipient of the prestigious "genius award" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, she founded the Kieffer Institute for Development of Science-Based Education, a nonprofit located in Phoenix, Ariz., where she helped teach science to at-risk 7th to 12th graders.
Additionally, she has been an associate editor for American Mineralogist, chairman of the Canadian Geoscience Council for study of nuclear waste disposal, chair of the Geology/Geography Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was co-founder of the Critical Issues Caucus, which organized early interdisciplinary meetings on sustainability.
Dr. Kieffer is delighted to receive this latest award, and she shared the following note: "My first reaction was that it must be a hoax--never been called a legend before! Then I had the feeling that I've had before many times--life as a geologist has been, and continues to be, wonderful, and I'm very thankful to the community for all the opportunities throughout the many years." 
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.
AGI represents and serves the geoscience community by providing collaborative leadership and information to connect Earth, science, and people.

Press Release PDF: