Geoethics Medal


The idea to establish the IAPG Geoethics Medal was conceived in April 2016 during the IAPG Council Meeting held during the EGU General Assembly in Vienna.

The medal was unanimously approved by the first IAPG General Assembly held in Cape Town, on 31 August 2016.

The Geoethics Medal is assigned annually.

The first edition of the Geoethics Medal (2018) has been launched on 18 October 2017, during the Global Ethics Day 2017 of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.


The Geoethics Medal rewards scientists who have distinguished themselves in applying/favouring/assuring ethical approaches in the geoscience research and practice.


For the IAPG Geoethics Medal 2021 nominations should be submitted by 31 May 2021, by providing the following material about the candidate:

  • A CV (about 1 page) and a list of up to 10 selected publications that show the focus on ethical/social/cultural implications in the geoscience work.

  • A concise statement of achievements for merits in the geoethical field (no more than 250 words).

  • A brief encomium of the candidate and his/her work (no more than 600 words).

Proposals have to be submitted through an email to:, with the subject “Nomination for the IAPG Geoethics Medal 2021


Nominations will be evaluated by an international committee.


IAPG officers (Members of the Executive Council, Coordinators of National Sections, Corresponding Citizen Scientists, Members of Task Groups, Members of the Board of the Young Scientists Club) cannot be nominated for the Geoethics Medal.


See details below in the page

  • 2020: John Geissman (USA)

  • 2019: Linda Gundersen (USA)

  • 2018: Chris King (United Kingdom)


John W. Geissman (Geoethics Medal 2020)


"In recognition of career-long dedication to the highest ethical standards and practices of the geoscience profession, John W. Geissman has earned recognition as the IAPG 2020 Geoethics medalist. He has demonstrated this commitment to geoethics in his work with international geoscience professional societies by applying the highest standards of research and publication through his leadership as Editor/Associate Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geophysical Research, Tectonics, and EOS, and as Councilor and Past President of the Geological Society of America. Geissman’s contributions to the profession are recognized by his Fellowship in both the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He has imparted the importance of geoethics to generations of students as he has played a leading role in incorporating geoethics training for undergraduate students in the geoscience curriculum, and through his mentorship of over 70  graduate students, from the Colorado School of Mines, to the University of New Mexico, to, finally, the University of Texas at Dallas. His work has extended beyond the geosciences to address issues of contemporary concern such as the teaching of evolution in public schools, and has proactively addressed the importance of conveying the importance of science to society and removing ignorance and fear of science from society. Through his dedication to the highest standards of professional conduct, application of the geosciences in service to society, and concern for the long-term stewardship of Earth, John W. Geissman has lived the ideals defined by the International Association for Promoting Geoethics, and is most deserving of the 2020 Geoethics Medal."

John W. Geissman has graduate studies at the University of Michigan (1974) and is a researcher of the highest order, applying the methods of paleomagnetism and rock magnetism to “big questions” in geoscience including studies of the tectonic evolution of the western United States, central and southern Mexico, and the Himalayas, the Karoo intrusive suite (South Africa), paleomagnetism and magnetostratigraphy of Permian/Triassic strata in west Texas and the Karoo Basin, South Africa, and western China, Xinjiang Province, and studies of magnetic fabrics of igneous rocks using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility/anisotropy of magnetic remanence methods. A common thread in this body of research is an absolute commitment to the integrity of data, data products, and their interpretations. In this research, John has selflessly shared his experience and results in numerous collaborative research projects, and has invited students and colleagues to work with him in his state-of-the-art paleomagnetism laboratory. John has long served the geoscience professions as Editor/Associate Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geophysical Research, most recently Tectonics, and EOS, and as Councilor and Past President of the Geological Society of America. John was one of the early innovators who has advocated for inclusion of geoethics instruction into classes across the geoscience curriculum—an essential contribution to the long-term health and growth of the geoscience professions. And, John has addressed the persistent issues of diversity and equity in the geosciences, particularly as these affect women and people from underrepresented populations.

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Linda Gundersen (Geoethics Medal 2019)


"For her unselfish work and scholarly contributions in leading the advancement in scientific integrity and professional ethics in the geosciences. Gundersen’s transformative work across governmental, academic, non-profit, and private institutions has made her one of the world’s leading authorities in “geoethical” scholarship, policy and practice. Linda Gundersen was one of the early leaders in proactively promoting what is now called geoethics. She created and was first Director of the USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity, implementing bureau-wide programs in scientific integrity, ethics, publication, research excellence, post-doctoral fellows, youth internships, education, and Tribal relations. Since retiring in 2012 she has dedicated her time to promoting scientific integrity, ethics, and diversity in the geosciences, including leading and/or influencing major ethics policy revisions at the American Geophysical Union, the American Geosciences Institute, The Geological Society of America, and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences. Linda sets the example for highest standard of geoethics service, practice, and scholarly excellence".

Linda Gundersen began her scientific career at the U.S. Geological Survey, where her geological training was notably combined with ethical approaches to achieve notable results benefiting society. Gundersen's early work in studying radionuclides helped redefined how radon was looked at. Her work also gave the science community a powerful tool to assess radon, leading to the creating of radon potential mapping. Publications such as her "Mapping the radon potential of the United States: Examples from the Appalachians", were used to set policy at the national and state level. This work helped lay the foundation for additional national geohealth assessments in the U.S., and provided positive public examples of applied geoethics. Gundersen's scientific leadership lead to further advancement to become the USGS Chief Scientist. In this role she led the implementation of community science databases. She also assembled and led a group of research scientists who were at the cutting edge of their fields and wrote "Geology for a Changing World 2010-2020." This strategic blueprint document further set the stage for basic principles for broader applied geoethics. Geology for a Changing World contains six goals that emphasize many of today's basic principles of "geoethical thinking." To quote from the executive summary of this prophetical 2006 document "These six goals focus on providing the geologic underpinning needed to wisely use our natural resources, understand and mitigate hazards and environmental change, and understand the relationship between humans and the environment." As seen in the above examples, Linda's scientific work consistently demonstrates a strong understanding and promotion scientific ethics and integrity in achieving scientific advancement to meet societal needs. Notably, Gundersen was the founding and inaugural head of the Office of Science Quality, and Integrity at USGS. Additionally, she has been widely recognized for her scientific leadership work through awards such as her election as Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a U.S. Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award for contributions to environmental geology, economic geology, program management and leadership. Perhaps equally important, Linda has devoted the past decade of her life in being a notable and unrelenting positive force for change in promoting geoethics scholarship, policies, and practice across the scientific community. Linda co-authored or led the development of scientific integrity policies for USGS (2007), Department of Interior (2011), American Geosciences Institute (2015), and the American Geophysical Union (2012 and 2017). Her ethics leadership and influence is also exemplified by her work as editor and an author of the book "Scientific Integrity and Ethics in the Geosciences" (2017). More recently Linda served on the National Academies of Science Committee on the Impacts of SexuaI Harassment in Academia whose report Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences, released in June 2018, further extending her influence and knowledge of scientific ethics to additional important issues for today's world that negatively impact our science. Linda has been repeatedly in action! Much of at least the initial development of AGU's ethics efforts were guided by Linda. Her then continued commitment helped develop AGU's current program over several years, which is now providing an influence across scientific societies and expanding further. She led the key task force that led ultimately to AGU's current ethics center and helped develop a wider positive conversation around ethics, diversity, and equity. Linda's broad understanding of ethics, encompassing diversity to leading practices for data stewardship and more, greatly influenced the broader AGU effort around ethics, equity, open data practices, and culture change, as well as AGU's decision to include harassment and bullying as scientific misconduct. Over the years, she has always been available for and regularly provided advice and input, and has helped on several additional directed projects for AGU or reviewed practices at other institutions through AGU. Linda Gundersen's name is synonymous with advancing ethics education and practice in the geosciences.


Chris King (Geoethics Medal 2018)


"For his valuable contribution in promoting Earth Sciences in society by introducing innovative methods and tools to teaching, aiming at the proactive involvement of end-users based on developing their critical thinking and observational scientific approaches.
Chris King teaches (geo)scientific methods and geological knowledge in an easy, attractive and passionate way, through which he offers clear and careful explanations of geological observations without trivializing the content whilst always paying great attention to the quality of the scientific discourse. 
His efforts in promoting geoeducation are much more than a mission to disseminate Earth Sciences knowledge among students and the general public: Chris King is an excellent example of a geologist who feels and practices his geological activity as a geoethical duty towards society.

Chris King, BSc Honours in Geology from the University of Bristol, energetically promotes geological knowledge worldwide among students and the general public, strongly contributing to raising global awareness of the importance of geoeducation and the dissemination of geoscientific methods and information within society. His career began as geologist working in industry (he was a diamond prospector for De Beers for five years, in South Africa, Swaziland and Australia). He then became a school teacher and a university professor (he became Professor of Earth Science Education at Keele University in 2006 and retired in December 2015).

Chris King has contributed (and is continuing tirelessly) to developing excellent geoeducation activities, among them Earthlearningidea, an admirable innovative project on Earth-related teaching-ideas, that he instigated in 2007. This has changed the way that the teaching of geoscience knowledge is seen globally.

As Chair of the Commission on Geoscience Education (COGE) of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Chair of the Committee on Education of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), Adviser  and past-Chair of the Council of the International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO), Chair of the Earth Science Education Forum (England and Wales), Past-Chair of the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA) and current Chair of the ESTA Secondary Committee, he has achieved an internationally-renowned role as geoeducator in the geoscience community.

As keynote speaker at the International Geological Congress (Cape Town, 2016; Brisbane, 2012) and in many other international conferences held in Austria (2017, 2004), Bangladesh (2009), Canada (2016, 2007, 2003), Italy (2008), Japan (2002), Norway (2008), Nigeria (2016), Russia (2011), South Africa (2016, 2010, 2004), Spain (2010) and Taiwan (2001), he has promoted his teaching methods and activities to a global audience. He is an example of geologist keen to enable his colleagues to educate their students more effectively and to transfer geological knowledge to society. Nearly 300 of the activities developed by Chris and his colleagues have been published and are freely downloadable from the internet, primarily for use in the developing world, but widely used in the developed world as well; they have been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Japanese, Polish, Slovakian and Catalan.

His commitment to geoeducation was rewarded by Honorary Life Membership of the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA) in 1994. Moreover, in 2003 he was awarded the Geological Society’s ‘Distinguished Service Award’ and, in 2011, the Geologists’ Association’s ‘Halstead Medal’, for ‘work of outstanding merit, deemed to further the objects of the Association and to promote Geology'.

From his career, is clear that Chris King’s efforts in geoeducation have had the goal of serving society: he has used his geological knowledge in his profession of geoscience educator and communicator as part of his fundamental geoethical duty towards the public and in particular, to our younger generations.

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