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Marcia McNutt, 2022 AAG Atlas Award Winner

Geophysicist Marcia McNutt, 2022 recipient of the AAG Atlas Award, will reflect on what she has learned in her trailblazing career.

March 1, 2022, 12:50pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) – March 1, 2022, 1:50pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Photo of Marcia McNutt by Christopher P. Michel

Geophysicist Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, is the 2022 recipient of the AAG’s highest honor, the AAG Atlas Award. Dr. McNutt will reflect on what she has learned in a trailblazing career that includes serving as President and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and as the first woman to direct the US Geological Survey, where she led numerous disaster response efforts, including earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, during which she led a team of government scientists and engineers at BP headquarters in Houston to contain the oil and cap the well. For her contributions to responding to the spill, she was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal.

McNutt’s academic career started at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a Professor of Geophysics, and MIT director of the Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, a collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She received her B.A. in physics from Colorado College and her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

As AAG’s flagship honor, the Atlas Award was launched in 2010 to recognize and celebrate outstanding, internationally recognized leaders who advance world understanding in exceptional ways. The image of Atlas shouldering the weight of the world is a powerful symbol for this award program, as our nominees are those who take the weight of the world on their shoulders and move it forward, whether in science, politics, scholarship, or the arts. Dr. Marcia McNutt joins esteemed past recipients of the Atlas Award, including Primatologist Jane Goodall, international human rights and political leader Mary Robinson, civil rights icon Julian Bond, public intellectual Noam Chomsky, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

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