Frédéric Moynier awarded 2013 Kuno Prize


Frédéric Moynier, PhD, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Hisashi Kuno award given by the American Geophysical Union.

The award is given annually to recognize the scientific accomplishments of junior scientists who make outstanding contributions to the fields of volcanology, geochemistry and petrology. The intent is to award and highlight excellence in research performed during the seven years after the PhD.

Moynier was cited for his “prolific and creative studies on the use of non-traditional isotopes in geochemistry and cosmochemistry.”

Some recent applications of these new analytical methods include the first chemical evidence that the moon was created by a giant impact, the characterization of the chemical composition of the Earth, the characterization of asteroid 4-Vesta’s core, and the discovery of niches that might have supported early forms of life on Earth.

More recently, Moynier has started collaborate with colleagues at the School of Medicine to apply these methods to problems such as the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Moynier, who was raised in Provence, France, holds a doctoral degree from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

The award is named in honor of Hisashi Kuno (1910-1969), a professor of petrology at the University of Tokyo who recognized the importance of the fine-grained groundmass minerals in volcanic rocks as indicators of their genetic relationships and demonstrated the presence of two distinct volcanic series in the Japan Arc under extremely difficult conditions during and after World War II. With the assistance of the electron microprobe, this method of determining genetic relationships since has flourished.

The award will be bestowed on Moynier at the reception for the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology section of the American Geophysical Union at the AGU’s fall meeting. Moynier also will deliver a Kuno’s lecture at the European Geophysical Meeting in Vienna in 2014.