Contact Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao at 202-478- 8960, or

Contact Russell Hemley at 202-478-8951,or

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Washington, D.C. – The American Geophysical Union has awarded Carnegie's Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao the Inge Lehmann Medal for "outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth's mantle and core." Mao has been a pioneer in high-pressures physics and related technology development for over 30 years.

The Lehmann Medal was first awarded in 1997. It is named in honor of Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann and her many contributions to the understanding the Earth's mantle and core. The medal is given every other year. The presentation will be made on December 12, at the 2007 Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco.

Mao is a world leader in ultrahigh pressure research and technology development and in applying that technology to physics, material sciences, geophysics, chemistry, geochemistry, and the planetary sciences. He and colleagues first reached 1 megabar static pressure in 1976, which doubled the previous pressure limit. Since then, his group has consistently improved the multimegabar technique and coupled it with analytical methods, including synchrotron X-ray diffraction, infrared, Raman, Brillouin, fluorescence, and Mossbauer spectroscopies.

"Dave Mao is a scientist who has been a pathfinder in many diverse areas," remarked Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. "Carnegie is very proud of this recognition of Dave's contributions."

"It is especially appropriate for Dave to receive the medal named for Inge Lehmann, the discoverer of the Earth's inner core," commented Russell Hemley, director of Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory. "The study of core-forming materials—iron alloys—at ever increasing pressure and temperature has been a constant theme of Dave's work since he was a graduate student. Some of his most recent work has provided important new insights on the nature of the inner core. He has also broadly advanced our understanding of the mantle, through his own research as well as the many people he has trained in high-pressure mineral physics."

Mao received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1968 and became a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory. In 1972 he was appointed a staff member. He is a co-recipient of the 2005 Balzan Prize from the Balzan Foundation for mineral physics; the recipient of the 2005 Gregori Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science for crystallography; and the 2005 Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America, among other awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the Academia Sinica of the Republic of China, a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and he is a Fellow of American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, and the Mineralogical Society of America.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington, a private nonprofit organization, has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It has six research departments: the Geophysical Laboratory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, both located in Washington, D.C.; The Observatories, in Pasadena, California, and Chile; the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California; and the Department of Embryology in Baltimore, Maryland.

News Topic: 
Earth/Planetary Science