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IASPEI Medal Winner

IASPEI Medal winner 2017 - Dr. Eric Robert Engdahl

During the IASPEI Opening Plenary of the first Joint Scientific Assembly of IAG and IASPEI in Kobe, Japan, the 2017 IASPEI Medal was awarded to Eric Robert Engdahl. The laudation was given by Prof. Brian L.N. Kennett, Australia.


Bob Engdahl has made an unparalleled contribution to international science through IASPEI. He has held all major offices in the Association through Commission Chair, Vice-President, Secretary-General and President. Bob was a member of the IASPEI executive when I joined in 1987 and still present when I stepped down as Past-President in 2007. He served on the Executive Committee of the International Seismological Centre (1983-1991), and represented IASPEI on the Federation of Digital Seismographic Networks (FDSN) from 1991-1999.

Bob is a fine scientist who has dedicated his life to improving knowledge of the Earth and earthquakes from seismogram recordings. Early on he was one of the pioneers of using computers for earthquake location, which he used to advantage in the study of the Alaskan subduction zone. The Flinn-Engdahl standard geographical system for regionalisation of seismic events is a lasting testament to his efforts. Indeed, as a result of his long career at NEIC, USGS and its precursors we have new travel times, better earthquake locations and 3-D tomographic models of the Earth of unprecedented resolution. An important product -- the EHB catalogue -- did much to improve understanding of earthquake depth across the globe, and has been a primary database for seismic tomography. Bob has also put considerable effort into improving knowledge of global seismicity from the early instrumental period into the beginning of the modern era though the ISC Millennial Catalogue and its continuation into the GEM project, providing a sound foundation for hazard assessment.

Bob has collaborated widely across the globe, and has been very willing to provide support to diverse projects that could call on his knowledge and expertise in event location and earth structure. With more than 110 publications and over 11,000 citations he has made a major impact.

Within IASPEI as Chair of the Commission on Practice he did much to encourage take up of improved techniques for seismogram analysis. For 12 years, he was Secretary General, supporting three Presidents (Nicolaev, Froidevaux and Kennett), and ensuring the outwardly smooth running of IASPEI -- though this often required rapid paddling beneath the surface. Yet, he still maintained a high science profile, and in consequence he made the unusual transition from Secretary-General to President.

His dedication to our science cannot be matched, and we are very fortunate that he channelled this through IASPEI.

I present to you Eric Robert Engdahl the 2017 IASPEI Medallist.

B.L.N. Kennett