UC Berkeley News



28 January 2004

Revelle Medal goes to Inez Fung, global-warming pioneer
Professor Inez Fung, a pioneering researcher on global climate change and the Earth’s carbon cycle, has been selected as the recipient of the 2004 Roger Revelle Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest society of Earth scientists.

The prestigious Revelle Medal recognizes outstanding accomplishments and contributions concerning Earth’s atmospheric processes related to the climate system.

Fung is the first woman and the second Berkeley researcher (after Professor Emeritus Harold Johnston of Chemistry) to have received the Revelle Medal since its inception in 1991. She is a professor in the College of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science.

She is the acknowledged pioneer and principal architect of the field of Earth system modeling, which distills the Earth’s complex physical, biological, and chemical reactions into mathematical equations to be solved on the fastest computers to predict the evolution of Earth’s climate. Her current research is focused on whether global warming will be accelerated through destabilization of carbon storage in the biosphere.

Fung was an author of the National Academy of Sciences’ 2001 report “Climate Change Science,” which led to President Bush’s acknowledgement, in a Rose Garden speech on June 11, 2001, that global climate change is a serious issue. As co-chair of a National Center for Atmospheric Research working group, she is spearheading the U.S. effort to couple interactive terrestrial and ocean carbon biogeochemistry with mathematical models of the climate system. In 2002, she became a charter member of a committee charged with advising the presidents of the National Academies on high-priority issues.

Fung will receive the Revelle Medal in December 2004 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

NAS honors two Berkeley faculty
The National Academy of Sciences has selected 16 individuals to receive awards honoring their outstanding scientific achievements. Among them are two Berkeley faculty — physicist Carlos Bustamante and mathematician Dan Virgil Voiculescu — for work detailed below. The awards will be presented on April 19 in Washington, D.C., during the annual meeting of the academy, a private, nonprofit institution that provides science advice under a congressional charter. The Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics, a $20,000 prize, went to Carlos Busta-mante. He was chosen “for his ingenious use of atomic force microscopy and laser tweezers to study the biophysical properties of proteins, DNA, and RNA, one molecule at a time.”

Professor of mathematics Dan Virgil Voiculescu has been selected for an NAS Award in Mathematics, a prize of $5,000 for excellence in published mathematical research. Voiculescu was chosen for his work on the theory of free probability.