Washington, D.C.— Carnegie scientists Kenneth Caldeira of the Department of Global Ecology, Yingwei Fei of the Geophysical Laboratory, and Steven Shirey of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism have been elected 2010 Fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Election to Fellowship each year honors scientists who “have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences.” AGU is an international organization of more than 50,000 scientists from over 135 countries. Only one in a thousand members is elected a Fellow each year.


Kenneth Caldeira joined the Department of Global Ecology in 2005. He is a climate scientist whose innovative work illuminates the connections between climate, the carbon cycle, and our energy system. An influential voice on present and future ocean acidification, and the prospects of “geoengineering” solutions to global warming, Caldeira has contributed to reports for the Nobel-Prize-winning and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has testified before the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament on climate-related issues.


“It is wonderful to see Ken’s work recognized”, says Chris Field, Director of the Department of Global Ecology. “He has made truly transformational contributions to a number of research areas, consistently helping the field of global ecology effectively address questions of key scientific and societal importance.”


Yingwei Fei began as a predoctoral fellow at the Geophysical Laboratory in 1988, and became a senior staff scientist in 1996. His experimental and theoretical studies of the mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, and geophysics of the mantle and core have greatly advanced scientific understanding of the internal structure of Earth and other planets, such as Mars and Mercury. He is distinguished by his leadership and impact using two distinct high-pressure experimental approaches―multi-anvil devices and diamond-anvil cells―to study Earth and planetary materials.


“Fei is known for the extraordinary high quality of his work, including accurate determinations of transformations, densities, and detailed chemical compositions of planetary materials under extreme conditions, all of which are essential for interpreting geophysical and geochemical observations of planets as a whole,” says Russel Hemley, director of the Geophysical Laboratory. “Fei is also recognized for the people he has influenced throughout the world. Though only at mid-career, he has already trained a great many younger scientists who are leaders or becoming leaders in the geosciences.”


Steven Shirey joined the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism as a post doctoral fellow in 1984 and became a staff scientist in 1985. He has been a leader in using radiogenic isotopic systems as geologic tracers of both modern and ancient igneous processes that have contributed greatly to our understanding of the evolution and composition of the Earth’s crust and mantle. Shirey’s work with the rhenium-osmium isotopic decay system in particular has led to major advances in our understanding of the history of stable interiors of continents, which contain the oldest rocks on Earth and much of the planet’s mineral wealth, including diamonds, gold, and platinum.


“Steve is a complete geochemist, as well known for the development of new geochemical methodologies as he is for the novel application of isotope systematics to important problems in the Earth sciences” adds Sean Solomon, director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. “He has been a leader in the study of the assembly and stabilization of the continents and in the record contained in continental rocks for such ancient processes as subduction and volatile transport at depth. It is fitting that AGU has recognized the sweep and impact of Steve’s work with this honor.”


The election of these three scientists as AGU Fellows brings the total number of such fellows at Carnegie to 16, an impressive number for a small research organization. “These three scientists demonstrate the breadth of the science at Carnegie, as well as its excellence,” says Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “Caldeira’s work on the atmosphere and oceans, Fei’s work on the deep interior of Earth and other planets, and Shirey’s work on the formation and evolution of continents richly deserve this honor, and Carnegie is proud to have these three pioneers on our team.”


As 2010 Fellows, Caldeira, Fei, and Shirey will receive their awards at a ceremony during the annual AGU Meeting in December in San Francisco.


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