A. Hope Jahren, an associate professor in the
Morton K. Blaustein Department of Earth
and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins, will be
awarded the James B. Macelwane Medal in December at the
American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San
The American Geophysical Union awards the Macelwane
Medal each year to up to three scientists under the age of
36 who have made significant contributions to the
geophysical sciences. The prize was established in 1961 and
renamed in 1986 to honor James B. Macelwane, who was
renowned not only for his contributions to geophysics but
also for his deep interest in nurturing and encouraging
Jahren was selected for her research on carbon cycles
in the ancient environment. In 2001, she also was awarded
the Geological Society of America's Donath Medal, making
her one of only four young scientists ever to have received
both prestigious medals, and the only woman.
"By far and away, the best thing about the research I
do is the fun we have doing it — the incredible
places we have traveled to, the amazing people that it has
brought into my life and the sheer volume of laughter we've
shared while working. Being awarded the medals on top of it
all makes the whole experience too great for words," Jahren
David Veblen, a professor in the Department of Earth
and Planetary Sciences, praised Jahren's work as
particularly deserving of recognition.
"Hope Jahren represents a new generation of Earth
scientists who work across several disciplines to produce
new insights into Earth as an integrated system," he said.
"She combines soil science, biology, isotope geochemistry
and climatology better than any other young scientist I
know. Hope's geological fieldwork has taken her from the
tropical rain forest to the high Canadian Arctic, and this
Macelwane Medal underscores the importance of combining
laboratory studies with keen observations and sampling from
the real world."
Jahren said that she will always remember the day that
notification of the medal arrived in the mail.
"The first thing I thought when I opened the letter
was that some mistake had been made. Then my husband
started to hoot and holler, and the baby woke up and
cried," she said. "By the time the dog was barking, it was
clear to me that something wonderful had happened."
Jahren has been a faculty member at Johns Hopkins
since 1999. She graduated from the University of Minnesota
in 1991 and earned her doctorate in soil science in 1996
from the University of California, Berkeley.