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Bradford Hager

Bradford Hager
Bradford Hager

The 2011 Augustus Love Medal is awarded to Bradford Hager for his outstanding contributions in modelling the geoid and large-scale mantle flow, and for his pioneering application of space-geodetic techniques to problems in tectonics.

Bradford Hager is best known for his classical work on geoid modelling, which was a breakthrough in understanding the long-wavelength gravity signal of the Earth. He identified the phenomenon of dynamic geoid anomalies that relates the geoid to mantle density anomalies and the viscosity structure of the mantle, and he studied the interaction of subducting slabs with large scale flow in the mantle that provides strong evidence for whole mantle flow. Hager has a unique talent for taking advantage of new measurement capabilities. He has been one of the first to recognize the potential of space-geodetic methods to elucidate fundamental tectonic processes and continues to make important new advances in applying block models to regional deformation caused by faults. He led one of the first deployments of GPS receivers to survey tectonic motions in southern and central California and subsequently broadened his work to include major parts of the south-western U.S. as well as Asia. In these studies, he has shown how precise measurements of rates of deformation can be combined with dynamical models to improve our understanding of the mechanics of deformation and faulting which has improved our understanding of seismic hazards. Hager thinks deeply about geodynamic problems, and writes careful and lasting papers. He is a highly successful educator and has trained equally thoughtful students. Bradford Hager epitomizes the type of scientist the Love Medal is meant to honour, a person who has taken our understanding of the Earth to a new level using science that is physics-based and geologically informed.