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Nemmers Prize

photo of Nemmers public lecture

Nemmers Prize in earth sciences

Northwestern University’s Nemmers Prizes recognize scholars who have made major contributions to their field of study. Recipients of the biennial prize receive $300,000 and visit Northwestern to interact with our faculty and students, participate in departmental events, and give a public lecture.  The Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences was established in 2018.  The Prize is also awarded in the fields of Economics and Mathematics (since 1994), Music Composition (since 2004), and Medical Science (since 2015). The Nemmers Prizes are made possible through bequests from the late Erwin E. Nemmers, a former member of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and his brother the late Frederic E. Nemmers.

(Above photo credit: Jim Ziv)

brodsky-emily-250x250.png2022 Recipient Emily Brodsky

Emily Brodsky visited Northwestern during Spring Quarter 2023, during which she gave a lecture open to the public.

Learn more about Prof. Brodsky from the Northwestern University 2022 press release.

Dr. Brodsky is a distinguished and innovative geophysicist with multi-disciplinary contributions to understanding the physics of earthquakes and rock-fluid interactions. She integrates field observations, laboratory experiments, data analysis, and theoretical insights, to inform our understanding of geophysical processes involving slip and flow at all scales. Her contributions span the seismology of earthquakes and volcanoes, landslides, glaciers, and rivers, for which she leverages interdisciplinary knowledge from structural geology, hydrogeology, materials science, and engineering. Dr. Brodsky's contributions to new knowledge include her impactful work on poro-elastic flow, demonstrating the extensive spatial footprint of fluid-induced stress changes, and she was a pioneer in charting and recognizing the significance of dynamic triggering of seismic activity.

Dr. Brodsky has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and presented over 75 invited lectures or keynote talks. She has significantly contributed to the careers of dozens of graduate students and postdocs, and served on many professional committees, providing service to the research community. She currently serves as the chair of the SZ4D science steering committee. She has received public recognition and many awards for her research. Notably, she received the Charles Richter Early Career Award from SSA in 2005, AGU's Macelwane Medal in 2008, and the Price Medal of Royal Astronomical Society in 2021. 

freeman_kate_20201113_nemmers300x300.png2020 Recipient Katherine Freeman

Prof. Freeman participated in our weekly spring Seminar series and co-taught a course with NU Prof. Osburn titled Nemmers Seminar Supercharged. She GAVE a lecture open to the public titled Fingerprints of Life.

Learn more about Kate Freeman from the Northwestern University press release.

Remarks from Bradley Sageman, Nemmers Committee Chair:

EPS is thrilled to welcome Professor Kate Freeman as the 2020 Nemmers Prize in Earth Science recipient. Freeman holds the Evan Pugh University Professorship at Penn State University, is the director of a NASA Astrobiology Center at her home institution, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (since 2013), and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (also since 2013). Freeman has a long history with our department, having collaborated with a number of our faculty and students over the years, and she served an important role as a committee member of the 2014 external program review. Freeman is eagerly looking forward to her visit with us, once we are all beyond the pandemic. Speaking for the department, I extend a warm and hearty welcome to her - it will be an honor and a privilege to have her spend some time with us.

photo of Francis Albarede

2018 Recipient Francis Albarède

Professor Francis Albarède, an Emeritus Professor at the Ecole Normal Supérieure de Lyon in France, is the inaugural recipient of the Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences. Prof. Albarède has been recognized for his achievements in high-temperature geodynamic processes, planetary sciences, and marine geochemistry. He has revolutionized the field of isotopic analysis through his development of multiple-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry, which has become a standard in the field. Furthermore, he has pursued the understanding of unconventional isotopic systems such as zinc and copper; he has applied geochemical techniques to varied fields such as medicine and history; and he has combined chemical and physical models to understand natural processes including, for example, iron in ancient oceans, the history of volatiles on the Moon, and the origin of life. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemistry, as well as the author of over 225 peer-reviewed papers and four books.

Professor Albarède spent the 2018 fall quarter at Northwestern where he interacted with students, faculty, and the general public. He spoke at the department’s seminar series, addressed the 2018 Midwest Geobiology Symposium, presented a public lecture entitled “How Silver Became Money,” and participated in a weekly seminar series with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Prof. Albarède will return to Northwestern for a week in the spring to attend the Nemmers Prize award reception and the EARTH 201 field excursion.