James Kirkpatrick receives Dana Medal from MSA

Posted on 08.23.2015
Photo of Prof. Kirkpatrick.

R. James Kirkpatrick, professor of geology and executive associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the Dana Medal from the <a href="http://www.minsocam.org/" title="Mineralogical Society of America's website">Mineralogical Society of America (MSA).

The Dana Medal, which was first awarded in 2000, recognizes continued outstanding scientific contributions through original research in the mineralogical sciences by an individual in the midst of their career. The award is named in honor of the legendary contributions by James Dwight Dana (1813-1895) and Edward Salisbury Dana (1849-1935) to the science of mineralogy. Kirkpatrick, who is only the fourth recipient of the honor, will be recognized at an awards session during an MSA meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. The recipient of the Dana Medal receives a bronze, engraved medal and gives a special scientific presentation that is published in American Mineralogist.

Kirkpatrick was recognized for being among the first to apply kinetic theory in igneous petrology. His studies of the kinetics of crystallization are the classic papers in this field. In more recent years, he established a preeminent lab (with Eric Oldfield in the Chemistry Department) for applying “magic-angle spinning NMR spectroscopy” to the study of earth materials such as glass and clay. His work on the internal ordering of minerals again was at the forefront of the field. Most recently, he has worked to understand the natural chemical reactions that occur on mineral surfaces and to bridge the gap between Earth science and materials sciences. This work involves a variety of materials, including clay, glass, and even concrete.