Washington, D.C.— Carnegie geochemist Richard Carlson will receive the 2008 Norman L. Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union. Named in honor of pioneering experimental petrologist and long-time Geophysical Laboratory staff member Norman Bowen, the award is given annually for outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry or petrology.


Carlson is a faculty member in Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, where he studies the chemical and physical processes that formed the terrestrial planets and determined their current constitution. To address these broad questions, Carlson's research topics range from chronological investigations of early igneous processes on small Solar System bodies to broad chemical and physical studies of rocks from the Earth and Moon. Most recently, Carlson has been investigating the causes of the volcanism east of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest and using analyses of the oldest crustal rocks on Earth to understand the processes that separated the Earth’s crust from the mantle shortly after the Earth’s formation.


“This honor is well deserved. Rick Carlson’s work follows a rich tradition of excellence in this field that has continued at Carnegie since Bowen did his work here,” said Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. “We’re extremely proud of Rick’s achievement.”


"Rick Carlson has developed or advanced a range of isotope geochemical and cosmochemical tools that have substantially sharpened our understanding of the origin of continental magmas, the formation of continental crust and mantle, the early differentiation of the Earth and Moon, and the chronology of the early Solar System,” said Sean Solomon, director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. “Rick is widely known for his hands-on approach to laboratory science, and, thanks to Rick and his colleagues, the openness of our analytical facilities in geochemistry and cosmochemistry is legendary. Rick is a mentor who is exceptionally generous with his time and expertise, and several generations of postdoctoral scientists and visitors have found their experiences here enormously enriched by Rick's tutelage."


Carlson received his bachelor’s degree in 1976 from the University of California, San Diego, and his Ph.D. in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1980. He will be given the award, and will deliver a Bowen Lecture, at the Fall AGU Meeting in San Francisco this December.


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