Washington, D.C.— Robert Hazen, senior staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, will receive the 2009 Distinguished Public Service Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America. Hazen researches the possible roles of minerals in the origin of life and is author of more than 300 articles and 19 books on science, history, and music.


A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Hazen previously received the Mineralogical Society of America Award (1982), the American Chemical Society Ipatieff Prize (1986), the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (1989), the Educational Press Association Award (1992), and the Elizabeth Wood Science Writing Award (1998). He has served as President and Distinguished Lecturer for the Mineralogical Society of America and is currently Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. Hazen’s books have received widespread critical praise. The Music Men, Wealth Inexhaustible, and Keepers of the Flame, all coauthored with his wife, Margaret Hindle Hazen, explore ties between technology and culture. The Breakthrough, The New Alchemists, Why Aren’t Black Holes Black?, The Diamond Makers, and Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins describe the forefront of scientific research.


He has also written widely for popular audiences, including articles in Newsweek, Scientific American, New Scientist, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Magazine. His writings have been selected for inclusion in several science writing anthologies, including The Best Science Writing of 2001. His books with coauthor James Trefil include the best selling Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy and The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, now entering its sixth edition. Hazen also served on the team of writers for the National Science Education Standards.


“Bob has been a leader in the mineral sciences throughout his incredibly productive career. While pursing cutting-edge research in mineralogy, he has also managed to promote public understanding of both geoscience and science as a whole on many different levels,” says Russell Hemley, director of the Geophysical Laboratory.


“We are very proud of Bob’s achievements as a scientist and a communicator,” says Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “His work epitomizes Carnegie’s commitment to both science and public service. This honor is richly deserved.”


The DPS Medal will be given in a ceremony at the 2009 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting next October in Portland, Oregon.


Hazen received the B.S. and S.M. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1971), and the Ph.D. at Harvard University in earth science (1975). After studies as NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University in England, he joined the Carnegie Institution’s research effort.


In addition to his position as staff scientist at the Geophysical Laboratory, Hazen is also Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. He serves on the Committee on Public Understanding of Science of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and on Advisory Boards for NOVA (WGBH Boston), Earth & Sky, Encyclopedia Americana, and the Carnegie Council. He appears frequently on radio and television programs on science, and he developed two popular video courses: The Joy of Science and The Origins of Life, both produced by The Teaching Company.


In addition to his scientific activities, Robert Hazen is a professional trumpeter. He has performed with numerous ensembles including the Metropolitan, New York City, Boston, and Washington Operas, the Royal, Bolshoi, Jeoffrey, and Kirov Ballets, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, and the Orchestre de Paris. He is presently a member of the National Philharmonic and the National Gallery Orchestra.


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Earth/Planetary Science