The 2004 Louis Néel Medal is awarded to Subir Banerjee for his outstanding contributions in rock magnetism, paleomagnetism and environmental magnetism, together with exceptional services to the geoscientific community.
Professor Subir Banerjee is one of the most prominent figures in rock magnetism.
He became famous with the publication of his book entitled «The physical principles of rock magnetism» co-authored with Franck Stacey. His initial interests were in rock magnetism, with major contributions in studies of the remanence properties of magnetic oxides (magnetite, hematite, goethite) which were subsequently applied to many paleomagnetic as well as geomagnetic problems (magnetism of the oceanic crust, studies of carbonaceous chondrites, lunar magnetism, geomagnetic intensity..). One of his major contributions has been the development of a reliable technique for the determination of relative paleointensity in sediments. One of his newest interests is in the field of magnetism applied to the solution of environmental and archeological problems. New techniques are being developed for rapid magnetic analysis of soil stratigraphy leading to models of pedogenesis, relative dating of soil horizons and paleoclimatic change for the last 150,000 years in the northern hemisphere.
Subir Banerjee established in 1990 the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM), a USA national facility for state-of-the-art instrumentation and research in rock magnetism. Through a Visiting Fellowship Program, the IRM provides cost-free access to established scientists and graduate students from all countries. This is the only such comprehensive facility in the world today for fundamental and applied research in rock magnetism. Prof. Banerjee is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, which he served as President of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism Section.