Celebrating the Power of Science

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Have you ever stopped to think about what AGU’s more than 62,000 members represent? With a crowd that large, there’s bound to be some variety, right?

We have members hailing from 142 countries around the world. They represent the public and private sectors, conduct research at academic institutions and government agencies, and work for Fortune 500 companies and local NGOs. They’re high school science teachers, advisors to public policymakers, and journalists reporting on the latest breakthroughs. They’re students getting ready to present their first paper, early career scientists charting an innovative path forward, and luminaries whose discoveries have changed the way we view the world around us.

In other words, they’re an amazing group of individuals, and the breadth and depth of science they represent – not to mention their diverse worldviews – are what make AGU such a special organization.

For decades, we have recognized our members’ outstanding work through the AGU Honors Program. Being elected as an AGU Fellow, or receiving one of our medals, awards or prizes are some of the most respected honors in the Earth and space sciences. Nominating or supporting an honoree is your chance to promote excellence and shape the future of your science. Increasing the diversity of our nominees is critical to AGU’s mission. That’s where you come in.

The honors program is an important element of AGU’s strategic efforts to: build the Earth and space science talent pool; serve as a leader, collaborator, and sought after partner for scientific innovation, rigor and interdisciplinary focus; and inform society about the excitement of Earth and space science and its role in developing solutions for the sustainability of the planet. Being able to participate in this well-respected process – and as a result, have the opportunity to give credit where credit is due and help shape the future of your field – is a concrete benefit of your membership . . . one that I strongly encourage you to take advantage of. As someone who has nominated a colleague for an AGU honor in the past, I can tell you that it comes with a sense of satisfaction and purpose that makes the effort well worthwhile.

To support you in this challenge, I’m happy to say that we have instituted a new, easier and faster online process. I truly hope that you will help AGU honor the excellent work of your colleagues, mentors, and friends by submitting a nomination today. The deadline to submit for Union medals, Fellows, awards and prizes is 15 March; the deadline for section and focus group awards and Lectures is 15 April.

And, for those of you who haven’t read it already, please take a minute to read this recent post from AGU blogger and Honors Program Committee member Jessica Ball, author of the fabulous blog, Magma Cum Laude. I found her post very eye-opening, and I think it paints an excellent picture of why we need more diversity in the AGU honors program.

As you may have heard last week, AGU has also taken an important step forward in celebrating the diversity of our members’ science by creating our second new journal in less than a year, Earth and Space Science. Our members represent the full breadth of the Earth and space sciences, and our new journal reflects that expansive range of research. That’s why I’m so proud of this new addition to the AGU journals portfolio.

Earth and Space Science will include research from all of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences, as well as related fields in environmental science, geoengineering, space engineering, and biogeochemistry. By bringing high-quality studies and observations to the peer reviewed literature, it will play an important role in informing basic and applied research and shaping societal decisions.

The journal will begin accepting submissions as soon as the editorial team is in place, and our search for an inaugural editor in chief is now underway. In addition to direct submissions, Earth and Space Science will welcome, via referral from other journals, articles that meet AGU’s high standards of excellence, but that do not fit the unique criteria of those journals. We hope to publish the first batch of articles as early as possible in 2014, and I strongly encourage you to watch the Earth and Space Science website for additional information and schedule updates.

As we work to grow AGU’s visibility and enhance our scientific leadership, innovative and inclusive efforts such as the honors program and Earth and Space Science are some of my proudest moments as president. I hope that you will join me in taking advantage of all these opportunities have to offer.

Carol Finn, President, American Geophysical Union
E-mail: president@agu.org