Washington, D.C—Geochemist Richard Carlson of Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism has been elected a 2009 fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is among 210 new fellows and 19 foreign honorary members of one of the most prestigious honorary societies in the country. The academy recognizes the contributions of exceptional scientists, scholars, artists, writers, jurists, civic and corporate leaders, and philanthropists.

The academy’s citation provides, “Carlson has developed and applied a range of isotope geochemical and cosmochemical tools that have substantially shaped our understanding of the origin of continental magmas, the formation of continental crust and lithospheric mantle, the early differentiation of the Earth and Moon, and the chronology of the early solar system.”

Carlson studies the chemical and physical processes that formed the terrestrial planets. Using the known decay rates of various radioactive isotopes, he investigates the chronology of early heat-intensive processes on small planetary objects and studies the chemical and physical aspects of old and young crust-forming processes on Earth.

 “We congratulate Rick in this recognition,” remarked Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “Not only is he  highly accomplished in his field, but also he is an exceptional mentor for the next generation of geochemists. We are proud that he is part of the Carnegie family.”

“Rick Carlson is one of the most innovative leaders in isotope geochemistry active today,” added Sean Solomon, director of Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. “He tackles major scientific questions with shrewd approaches and analytical mastery, and he has an international reputation for his hands-on methodology, his open laboratory, and the care that he brings to his measurements and his analysis.”

Carlson received a B.A. in chemistry and Earth science from the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD) in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Earth science, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD in 1980. He has been a staff member at Carnegie since 1981. Carlson received the 2008 Norman L. Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union. He has served on many science review panels for the National Science Foundation, NASA and others, and has supervised many Ph.D. students, in addition to pre and postdoctoral fellows. Carlson is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geochemical Society.



The Carnegie Institution for Science (www.CIW.edu) 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.


See http://www.amacad.org/news/new2009.aspx for more information about the academy.

News Topic: 
Earth/Planetary Science