AGI Board of Directors

Carolyn Olson, President
David R. Wunsch, President Elect

AGI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences

Submit  a Nomination:

AGI Award Guide (PDF)
Submit a Support Letter

For consideration for the 2023 Award, please submit materials by February 1, 2023. Submissions received after this date will be saved for later consideration.

This award is given for a contribution or contributions that lead to greater public appreciation and better understanding of the role of the geosciences in the affairs of our society.

This award normally will be given to one recipient per year.

The award is presented to a person, organization, or institution in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of the geosciences. The contribution may be in geoscience as a science or in geoscience as it relates to economic or environmental aspects of modern civilization. The award may be given to a geoscientist or non-geoscientist, or to an organization or an institution that is based in the geosciences or not. The award name was changed from the "AGI Award For Outstanding Contribution To Public Understanding of Geology" in 1999.

Selection Procedure
The Nominating Committee of the AGI Member Society Council will solicit nominations from its member societies and submit its selection to the Member Society Council at the spring meeting each year. The Member Society Council recommendation will then be transmitted to the AGI Executive Committee for final action.

Description of the Award
The award will be in the nature of an attractive scroll to include a citation of the specific contribution(s) which served as the basis of the award.

The scroll will be presented by the President of the American Geosciences Institute or his/her representative at a function to provide the appropriate level of attention to the geoscience profession and the public at large. Details for presentation of the award, including the time of year and the place, will be at the discretion of the AGI Executive Committee.

Past Recipients


British Broadcasting Corporation for the television series The Making of a Continent


Stephen J. Gould and the Planet Earth television series (8 separate awards)


Robert Ferguson Legget and John McPhee


Robert E. Boyer


Robert L. Bates and Bruce B. Hanshaw


Robert D. Ballard for host activities for television science programs


U.S. Geological Survey for reporting and distributing natural hazards information


U.S. Geological Survey and Association of American State Geologists for National Geologic Mapping Act


Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. and co-editor William J. Neal for book series, Living with the Shore, and John S. Shelton for capturing geological processes on film.


Fred A. Donath and E-an Zen


John R. Horner for work as paleontologist, teacher, author and museum curator and Richard Kerr, for work as editor of Science.


Albert (Brad) Washburn as founder and supporter of Boston Museum of Science


Sandra Glass for for her work with the earth science community over the years


M. Dane "Duke" Picard for his writings for lay persons and professionals


Esther and Sherwood Tuttle and Ann Harris for their National Parks work




John Noble Wilford for science correspondent contributions


Frank H. T. Rhodes for work as teacher, researcher, and administrator


Ron Redfern for written contributions on Earth evolution


Warren D. Allmon for Paleontological Research Institution renovation work


Michael Collier for geoscience writing and photography that engage the public


Joanne Kluessendorf who implemented the Wisconsin Weis Earth Science Museum


Simon Winchester for his three best-selling factual books on geological topics


Susan Solomon for work on climate change and ozone “hole”


Richard Alley for work using ice cores to demonstrate abrupt climate change.


ExxonMobil for support of science education programs




Thomas H. Jordan for international work on earthquakes and their hazards


Scott W. Tinker as Texas State Geologist, global future talks, and film Switch.


David R. Wunsch for work expanding New Hampshire Geological Survey outreach


Scott F. Burns for teaching and Pacific Northwest geologic media support


Mark D. Zoback for contributions to rock physics and geomechanics


Iain S. Stewart for communicating geoscience via YouTube and BBC TV series


David Applegate for his U.S. Geological Survey and earlier work to communicate Earth science




Peter Folger for his work at the Congressional Research Service


J. Marshall Shepherd for his outreach efforts on the topics of weather and climate


Lucile M. Jones for her work in earthquake awareness and community resilience

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