Three University of Arizona faculty members officially have been named Regents' Professors by...
Two UA Geoscientists Honored at Geological Society Meeting
George Gehrels' research focuses on the evolution of mountain belts and on developing methods of determining the age of rocks and minerals. George Davis has studied the formation of the Basin and Range region of the U.S., including the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona.
UA geoscientists George Davis and George Gehrels will be honored at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting Oct. 31 - Nov. 3 in Denver.
"George Gehrels does it all – he's the complete geologist," said Karl W. Flessa, UA professor and head of geosciences. "He's a superb at field work, runs perhaps the most innovative lab for geochronology in the world and is a stellar teacher. From deciphering the age of rocks in Alaska to teaching oceanography in Centennial Hall, George excels at everything he does."
Flessa added, "And I can't figure out where he finds the time to do all this so well. GSA's Day Medal is a richly deserved honor."
Gehrels' research focuses on the evolution of mountain belts and on developing methods of determining the age of rocks and minerals using uranium-lead isotopes. He is devoted to undergraduate education and regularly involves undergraduate students in his research. His current research projects include field and laboratory studies of rocks and mountains in the Grand Canyon, Southeast Alaska, coastal British Columbia, the Himalaya and the Andes.
He also co-directs the Arizona LaserChron Center, a National Science Foundation-funded facility that enables researchers to figure out the age of rocks and also develops new methods for doing so. He has published more than 250 scientific papers.
Gehrels received his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, his master's from the University of Southern California and his doctorate from the California Institute of Technology. He joined the UA department of geosciences in 1985, received the University of Arizona Provost's General Education Teaching Award in 2000 and was named a Distinguished Professor in 2005. He regularly teaches introductory-level courses in geology and oceanography.
The Arthur L. Day Medal was established in 1948 to be awarded for outstanding distinction in contributing to geologic knowledge through the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems. Gehrels is the first UA faculty member to receive the Day Medal.
George Davis, Regents Professor Emeritus, will receive the 2010 GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division Career Contribution Award.
"George Davis is a scientist who has shaped his field. His textbook, his scholarly papers, his gifted classroom teaching and his mentoring of students charted new directions in structural geology and influenced the careers of generations of geologists," Flessa said.
"From active tectonics to active learning, George Davis has shown geologists how to interpret the structure of the rocks they see in the field through an understanding of the tectonic processes that affect rocks today.
"It's great to see his closest colleagues honor him in this way."
Davis expresses his passion for structural geology in all aspects of his work: teaching in the classroom and in the field, advising students, writing textbooks and conducting research.
He has published extensively on the formation of the Basin and Range region of the U.S., including the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona, and on the Colorado Plateau. In his current research project, Davis is a team leader on the Mt. Lykaion (Zeus) sanctuary and excavation site in Greece. His role is to interpret the geologic history of the site, including active tectonics, in specific relationship to its archaeology.
The third edition of Davis's widely adopted textbook, "Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions" (co-authored by UA alumni Chuck Kluth and Stephen J. Reynolds), is scheduled for publication in early 2011.
Davis received his bachelor's degree from The College of Wooster, his master's from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He joined the UA in 1970, was head of the department of geosciences from 1982-86, was named a Regents' Professor in 1998 and served as UA provost from 2000 until his formal retirement in 2007.
GSA's Structural Geology and Tectonics Division Career Contribution Award is granted to an individual who, throughout his/her career, has made numerous distinguished contributions that have clearly advanced the science of structural geology or tectonics. Davis is the first UA faculty member to receive this award.
The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 22,000 members from academia, government and industry in 97 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members, and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind.
Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., GSA encourages cooperative research among Earth, life, planetary and social scientists; fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues; and supports all levels of Earth science education. For more information, visit www.geosociety.org.