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Judith A. McKenzie

Judith A. McKenzie
Judith A. McKenzie

The 2006 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal is awarded to Judith A. McKenzie for her outstanding contributions in the fields of chemical sedimentology, isotope geochemistry, and geomicrobiology, and for her dedicated services to the Earth science community.

Judith A. McKenzie, a native of Pennsylvania, studied chemistry at the University of Colorado and marine geology and geochemistry at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. She received her doctorate at ETH Zürich with a study on dolomitization processes in the sabkha of Abu Dhabi. Judy’s bench-mark work in the sabkha of Abu Dhabi established her early in her career as an authority on dolomitization processes and low temperature geochemistry. She continued her work as a post-doctoral researcher at ETH where she set up the laboratory for stable isotopes. She became involved in the study of geochemical cycles in Swiss lakes as small-scale analogues for the oceans. From 1985 to 1987 she was an associate Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 1987 she returned to ETH Zürich as a professor, and was appointed full Professor in 1996. Her research concentrates on the study of evidence of past climate and environmental changes in marine and lacustrine systems. Her many and diverse projects have brought her to countless locations such as the Pacific, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, spanning from modern environmental systems as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Messinian salinity crisis in the Mediterranean. During the past ten years her research has taken a new direction in the novel field of geomicrobiology and biomineralization. She is currently head of the Earth System Sciences group that includes the laboratories for Stable Isotopes, Limnogeology and Geomicrobiology.

Over the years, she has played a key role in the international Ocean Drilling Program (now IODP). She is an active member of several professional societies, serving currently as the president of The Geochemical Society and of the International Association of Sedimentologists. She was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1999. Judith A. McKenzie’s career in sedimentary geology is an exceptionally creative, productive and diverse, contributing fundamental concepts which are currently in use in our fields. She is an unusually caring person, who has always provided mentoring and great concern for the scientific career of students and younger colleagues.