Public Release: 

Gordon E. Brown, Jr. to receive AGI's 2012 Ian Campbell Medal

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is proud to announce that Dr. Gordon E. Brown, Jr. is the 2012 recipient of the Ian Campbell Medal for Superlative Service to the Geosciences. Dr. Brown, the Dorrell William Kirby Professor of Earth Sciences and Professor of Photon Science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is recognized for his contributions as a scientist, educator, administrator, and public servant. He will receive this prestigious award at the Geological Society of America (GSA) Awards Ceremony at the GSA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 5, 2012.

Brown is honored for his significant work in helping to pioneer innovative applications of the extremely intense x-ray sources known as synchrotrons to help address some of the most pertinent societal issues of our time. Brown's ground-breaking approach to this advanced technology has helped open up new research areas for the Earth sciences. Brown and his research group and collaborators have worked on, among other things, the remediation of contaminated sites, the sequestration of heavy metal/metalloid and organic pollutants/contaminants in ecosystems, and the impact of certain minerals or the elements they contain (or release) on human health, as well as more fundamental studies of geochemical reactions at mineral-water interfaces. His cutting-edge research has helped to focus future studies on the societal repercussions that human activities have on the global ecosystem.

Brown earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Geology from Millsaps College in 1965. He then went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mineralogy and Crystallography from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1968 and 1970, respectively. Today, Brown is a national and international leader in Mineralogy and Geochemistry with outstanding contributions in not only the earth sciences, but also in environmental science and engineering, and environmental chemistry. Brown received the 2007 Patterson Medal from the Geochemical Society for his research in environmental geochemistry.

Brown has held a number of positions at Stanford and on numerous scientific committees. He served as Chairman of the Department of Geology at Stanford (1986-1992), co-Director of the NSF Center for Materials Research at Stanford (1987-1990), Chair of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource Faculty (1998-2007), and is currently Chair of the Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences at Stanford. Brown also created the Stanford-NSF Environmental Molecular Science Institute (SEMSI), and served as its Director (2004-2011). Brown has mentored more than 60 graduate students and postdocs during his academic career, and has participated in and chaired more than 30 committees, workshops, and meetings for both NSF and the DOE, including serving as co-Chair of the Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry Initiative at NSF. Brown also currently serves as a member of the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee of the DOE Office of Science. A Life Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), Brown has served on numerous MSA committees, was MSA Vice President (1994-1995) and President (1995-1996), and received the MSA's highest honor, the Roebling Medal, in 2007. He was also co-Chair of the American Geophysical Union GeoSync Subcommittee of the Mineral Physics Committee (1988-1992) and helped lead several efforts that resulted in national synchrotron x-ray facilities that are optimized for earth, soil, and environmental science applications.


The Ian Campbell Medal for Superlative Service to the Geosciences is AGI's most distinguished award. It is given in recognition of singular performance in and contribution to the profession of geoscience. Candidates are measured against the distinguished career of Ian Campbell, whose service to the profession touched virtually every facet of the geosciences. For more information about this prestigious award please visit

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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