2011 Awards and News
UC Berkeley volcano expert Ian Carmichael
has died at 81
ByRobert Sanders | MediaRelations
email@example.com, (510) 643-6998
Berkeley— “An erupting volcano isamong the most majestic and exciting of the works of Nature,” Ian E. S.Carmichael once wrote, fondly recalling the exertion of climbing to the top andthe welcome rest at a “campsite tucked in the shadows of a caldera wall.”
“Awakenedby the chills of early morning,” he added, “comes the thought that if the beastjust coughs, you could become part of the legend of volcanic eruptions, as atPompeii.”
Carmichael,who died Aug. 26 at the age of 81, is a legend for other reasons. He will beremembered as a mentor to two generations of PhD students in geology, inparticular igneous petrology, now teaching at institutions around the nation;as a friend and pioneering volcanologist by Mexican geologists; and as agregarious story-teller with a zest for life by his friends and family. He evenhas a mineral ‑ carmichaelite, an hydroxyl-bearing titanate from Arizona ‑named in his honor.
Aprofessor of earth and planetary science at the University of California,Berkeley, Carmichael died peacefully at his home in Berkeley from complicationsof prostate cancer and kidney disease.
“Noneof his students and colleagues escaped being shaped, in some way, by thehurricane force of Ian's personality: his infectious enthusiasm, hisimaginative brainstorming, his intellectual generosity, and his impatience,”said Rebecca Lange, his close friend, previous Ph.D. student and chair of theDepartment of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan.“His exuberant pushing and prodding, combined with his belief in us, forced usto stretch ourselves and realize potentials we never knew we had.”
“Hewas a giant in the field of igneous processes and volcanoes,” added Paul Renne,director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a professor in residence inthe Department of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. “He was theleader in application of physical chemistry, in particular thermodynamics, tounderstanding how magmas originate and evolve.”
Usingrevolutionary new analytical techniques first introduced in the 1960s,Carmichael conducted laboratory experiments on rocks and minerals at varioustemperatures and pressures, then used this information to deduce thecomposition and state of molten rock, or magma, deep underground. With suchinformation, geologists can interpret rocks to reconstruct the history of avolcano and determine conditions hundreds of miles below the surface.
Thisresearch led him into the field in Iceland, New Guinea, Africa, Alaska, thewestern U.S. and, for the last 30 years, Mexico, where he met many Mexicangeologists and studied that country’s numerous volcanoes – in particular, anunusual mixture of volcanic lavas along the southwest coast called the Jaliscoblock. There, volcanic magma expected at a subduction zone, where a tectonicplate dives beneath a continental plate, erupted side by side with basalticmagmas expected above hot spots like Hawaii. Carmichael proposed that thisresults from complex interactions at the boundary between tectonic plates thatmight eventually split the block from the rest of continental Mexico.
“MostMexican researchers have a very good memory of (Ian), not only for hisfriendship, but also because of his direct and indirect contributions toMexican geology,” said Hugo Delgado Granados, a senior researcher and professorin the Institute of Geophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico(UNAM) in Mexico City. Delgado Granados is on sabbatical this year at theBerkeley Geochronology Center.
Carmichaelwas tapped twice (1972-1976 and 1980-1982) to be the chair of the UC BerkeleyDepartment of Geology and Geophysics, the predecessor to the Department ofEarth and Planetary Science. Among other administrative roles on campus, healso was associate dean for research in the Office of Provost for Research(1986-2000) associate dean for academic affairs in the Graduate Division(1985-2000), and acting director of the UC Botanical Garden (1997-1998).
Whilean accomplished scientist and administrator, Carmichael also understood theimportance of building public awareness and understanding of science. He wasdirector of UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science from 1996 to 2003, where hesaw the organization through many advances, including the creation of theoutdoor exhibit, Forces that Shape the Bay, where visitors can experience thegeologic forces that shaped ‑ and continue to reshape ‑ the San Francisco BayArea.
“Ianmade an instantaneous, dramatic and indelible impact on the Lawrence Hall ofScience within weeks of being appointed director, initiating a majorreorganization that commenced a new era of internal collaboration, coherenceand programmatic innovation that previously had not been possible on aninstitution-wide basis.” said Craig Strang, associate director at the hall. “Hewill be greatly missed by all those he inspired and whose lives were enrichedby his great generosity of spirit.”
IanStuart Edward Carmichael was born in London, England, on March 29, 1930, and endured“the privations of an English boarding school,” he once said, before enrollingin a co-ed school in Connecticut at the age of 17. During the next year and ahalf, he traveled to Cuba, the Colorado School of Mines and back to England,where, he wrote in the third person, “after six weeks, he found himself in abarracks built in 1755, sharing one cold tap with 30 other bewildered recruits,but then came the glories of a troopship to Egypt and two years as a 2/Ltwandering through the deserts of Sinai and the Sudan.”
Afterhis release from the British Army, he attended Cambridge University, graduatingin 1954 with a B.A. in geology. Following a stint as a prospecting geologist innorthern Ontario, he enrolled in the Imperial College of Science in theUniversity of London, from which he obtained his Ph.D. in 1960.
Afterlecturing for several years at Imperial College, he joined the UC Berkeleyfaculty in 1965, and, although he retired in 2004, remained active on campusuntil his death. He became a Professor of the Graduate School in 2003, when hereceived the Berkeley Citation.
Forhis research contributions, Carmichael was named a fellow of the Royal Societyof London, was a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Geological Societyof America, Geochemical Society and Mineralogical Society of America, and anhonorary fellow of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain. He also receivedthe Roebling Medal from the Mineralogical Society of America, the MurchisonMedal from the Geological Society of London, the Schlumberger Medal from theMineralogical Society of Great Britain, the Arthur L. Day Medal from theGeological Society of America, and the Bowen Award from the AmericanGeophysical Union.
Hewas editor-in-chief and executive editor to the prestigious journalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology from 1973 to 1990.
Carmichaelis survived by his brother Keith Carmichael of London, England; daughterDeborah Carmichael of Concord, Calif.; son Graham Carmichael of Tucson, Ariz.;daughter Anthea Carmichael of Berkeley, California; and six grandchildren,Andrea, Colleen, Alexander, Olivia, Ian and Calvin. His son, Alistair, precededhim in death."
Amemorial service open to the public is scheduled for 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21,at the Lawrence Hall of Science.
In a new 2011 ranking of Earth and Marine Science programs from around the world our department was considered #5!
Read more at : innovations.coe.berkeley.edu/vol5-issue6-aug11/banfield
Paleontologist William B. N. Berry was a world expert on extinct, 400 million-year-old sea creatures, but he will be perhaps best remembered in the Bay Area as a champion of sustainability and for instilling in his students a concern for the local ecology. A former director of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology and a professor of earth and planetary science who served the campus for 53 years, Berry died May 20 of skin cancer and related complications. He was 79. [more]
The Donald Sterling Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is given annually to a faculty member in the physical sciences who has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate teaching, including curriculum development. This award recognizes Walter's long history of distinguished teaching, as well as the development of a highly successful new course on "Big History". Congratulations Walter!
Barbara Romanowicz has been selected to receive the Harry F. Reid Medal, the highest honor of the Seismological Society of America (SSA). The Reid Medal is awarded for "outstanding contributions to seismology and earthquake engineering." Dr. Romanowicz is being honored as an exceptional scientist who has made fundamental contributions to theoretical seismology, seismology infrastructure and global geodynamics.
Her nomination for the award noted that she is one the most influential seismologists of our time and hasmade fundamental contributions to practically all areas of global seismology, from body-wave studies of the anisotropic and anelastic structure of the inner core, to normal-mode studies of the Earth's density distribution, and surface- waves studies of the upper mantle.
The Reid Medal will be presented to Dr. Romanowicz at the April 2012 annual meeting of the SSA in San Diego, California.
The Berkeley Institute of the Environment, College of Letters and Science, Department of Earth & Planetary Science, and Berkeley Seismological Laboratory invite members of the UC Berkeley community and the public to attend this discussion. There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to ask the panelists questions. For more detailed information, go to: http://bie.berkeley.edu/japanquakesymposium
Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Location: Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium, UC Berkeley