VOLUME 26 #1

Current cover


Giants of Geological Sciences

Photo of Susan Trumbore
Susan Trumbore

ALUMNI | For the second time in three years, a UD graduate has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal, which provides “public recognition and encouragement of excellence in science and technology.”

Alumna Susan Trumbore, EOE81, received the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Sciences for her work helping to pioneer a technique to measure the levels of carbon in plants and soil. The technique has become an important tool in understanding the role of greenhouse-gas emissions in climate change.

Trumbore directs the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. Her research centers on studying soils and plant life to understand how human activity alters the Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon among ocean, land and atmosphere.

Photo of Brian Atwater
Brian Atwater

Brian Atwater, EOE80PhD, earned the same award in 2016 for his pioneering study of coastal sediments and the natural disasters that affect their distribution, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. As a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, he has tried to improve understanding of these hazards globally.

According to Estella Atekwana, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, the recognition of these geology giants—who got their start at UD—underscores the growing importance of the geosciences to addressing societal concerns about climate change, geohealth, ocean security, and food and water, among other things. “This is just the type of example our students need of what is possible with a UD education,” she said.

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