• Hiroo Kanamori, the John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus

Hiroo Kanamori Receives William Bowie Medal from American Geophysical Union

Caltech's John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, Hiroo Kanamori, will be receiving the highest award of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the William Bowie Medal, at this year's AGU meeting on December 17, 2014, in San Francisco.

The medal was established in 1939 to honor William Bowie, the first president of the AGU (1920–1922), and is given in recognition for "outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research."

Kanamori retired from Caltech in 2005 after 33 years as a professor of geophysics. He was the director of the Seismological Laboratory from 1990 to 1998.

Over his career, Kanamori pursued multiple research questions on the physics and diversity of earthquakes, from slow tsunami earthquakes and megathrust earthquakes to large outer-rise and intra-plate earthquakes. Recognizing both the deterministic and chaotic features of earthquakes, he contributed to the development of effective real-time methods for hazard mitigation.

"I have never put myself in the category of distinguished AGU scientists," says Kanamori, "so this honor is overwhelming. I hope this will encourage my colleagues who share my scientific interests and philosophy."

Other Caltech faculty who have been awarded the William Bowie Medal include Gerald Wasserburg, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Emeritus (2008); Don Anderson, the Eleanor and John R. McMillan Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus (1991); and several former Caltech faculty members, including Eugene Shoemaker (1996), Frank Press (1979), Hugo Benioff (1965), and Beno Gutenberg (1953).

Written by Cynthia Eller