CU-Boulder tied for first in number of American Geophysical Union Fellows elected in 2014

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Three of the 62 scientists from around the world elected this week as American Geophysical Union Fellows are from the University of Colorado Boulder, tying the university for the most fellows elected in 2014 with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and Oregon State University in Corvallis.

The 2014 AGU Fellows were honored for their “exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence” in the fields of Earth and space sciences. Since the establishment of the AGU Fellows Program in 1962, no more than 0.1 percent of the total membership of AGU is recognized annually.

The CU-Boulder honorees include Professor Anne Sheehan of the Department of Geological Sciences, Professor Shijie Zhong of the Department of Physics and Senior Research Associate Tom Woods of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. 

Sheehan, also a member of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, studies the crust and upper mantle of Earth and its relation to tectonic deformation. She is involved in ongoing projects in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and New Zealand.  She and her team regularly deploy portable seismometers that record both distant and local earthquakes, and recently placed seismometers in the Greeley, Colo., region following an earthquake there.

Zhong studies the physical processes that control the evolution of the terrestrial planets like the Earth, moon and Mars, including using high-resolution gravity and topography data obtained via space exploration. The primary goal is to understand how the physical processes at work on terrestrial planets are related to their thermal evolution.

Woods studies the violent effects of the sun on near-Earth space weather that can affect satellites, power grids and ground communications systems. He currently is the principal investigator on a $32 million orbiting instrument package built at LASP flying on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory that is helping scientists better understand rapid fluctuations in the sun’s extreme ultraviolet output in order to make better space weather predictions.

There were four other AGU Fellows elected from Colorado in 2014, all from Boulder. They include Clara Deser and Gerald Meehl from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, David Parrish from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Joseph Borovsky from the Space Science Institute.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AGU is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit scientific organization representing more than 62,000 members in 142 countries.

The new AGU Fellows will be honored in December as part of the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

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