Palo Alto, CA— Christopher Field , director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology ,* has been awarded a prestigious Heinz award. The awards were established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, by recognizing “extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him.” This 15th year anniversary award is devoted to honoring ten individuals who have worked tirelessly to protect the environment, an issue of particular concern to Senator Heinz. The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C. at a private ceremony on October 28th.   

In addition to directing Carnegie’s Global Ecology department, Field is co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Field will oversee the Working Group 2 Report about climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability for the IPCC Fifth assessment, scheduled to be published in 2014. Field was formerly a coordinating lead author on the 2007 IPCC report and a member of the delegation representing the IPCC at the 2007 Nobel Prize ceremonies.

Field has been a pioneer in developing new approaches to understand the large-scale function of the Earth system for more than 20 years. He has made major contributions to physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate science. 

Heinz award winners are individuals with remarkable vision, creativity, and optimism who “produce tangible achievements of lasting good.”

“Chris Field is known internationally as a brilliant innovator and scientist, and a critical link between the scientific community and policymakers who are trying to solve the problem of climate change,” remarked Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “He is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are very proud of him.”

Among his many results, Field showed that global warming has already had a negative impact on agricultural productivity, indicating that warming  reduced the global harvest in 2000 by approximately 40 million tons per year—a $5 billion in lost value.

In addition to his role at Carnegie, Field is also the director of Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve—a world-renowned, natural laboratory. He has authored more than 200 scientific publications and has briefed U.S. Congressional committees on climate-change impacts.

Field is on the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the 2006 Stanford Skippy and Sidney Frank Prize for Outstanding Research in the Prevention or Reduction of Global Warming. He is a member of the U.S National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a leader in a wide range of other national and international organizations.


* Dr. Field is also Professor in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford, University, and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. 

The Carnegie Institution ( has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science. The Department of Global Ecology, located in Stanford, California, was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.

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