Washington, DC— Carnegie mineralogist Robert Hazen was inducted last month as a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences—the nation’s highest-level scientific society, originally founded by Peter the Great. This is a rare honor for an American researcher.
The ceremony, originally scheduled for the end of March, was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Staff Scientist at Carnegie’s Earth and Planets Laboratory, Hazen pioneered the concept of mineral evolution—linking an explosion in mineral diversity to the rise of life on Earth—and developed the idea of mineral ecology—which analyzes the spatial distribution of the planet’s minerals to predict those that remain undiscovered and to assert Earth’s mineralogical distinctiveness in the cosmos.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Russian scientific community, which has a deep commitment to my field of research,” Hazen said.
Mineralogy is a historically venerated field in Russia and Hazen’s work has resonated with his Russian peers. He is also one of just 12 Americans ever elected as an Honorary Member to the Russian Mineralogical Society.
Until 2019, Hazen was the Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, a decadal project dedicated to probing the chemical and biological roles of carbon in Earth’s interior. Looking forward, Hazen wants to develop a similarly integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to mitigating climate change. He is also the author of more than 20 books on science, history, and music, most recently Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything.
“A well-deserved congratulations to Bob on this achievement,” said Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson. “Going back to the time of Norman Bowen, the research occurring on this campus has played a crucial role in understanding the planet’s mineral chemistry. Bob’s contributions to the field will be similarly remembered by future generations.”