About the Award

Endowed in 1911 by one of the leading scientists of the Challenger Expedition, Sir John Murray, the Alexander Agassiz Medal has been awarded to some of the most outstanding oceanographers in all fields since 1913. Murray established the award to honor his friend, Alexander Agassiz, who served as president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1901 to 1907. The Alexander Agassiz Medal is awarded for an original contribution in the science of oceanography. The medal is presented every five years and carries with it a prize of $20,000.

Kirk Bryan Jr., NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and Princeton University, received the 2023 Alexander Agassiz Medal.

Bryan’s research with ocean and climate models has advanced the frontiers of understanding of the ocean’s role in Earth’s climate.

2023 Alexander Agassiz Medal, Bryan Social

Over his career, Bryan’s work has aimed to improve our understanding of ocean sciences. His work established the foundations for numerical modeling in ocean and climate science, providing insights into how the ocean works, focusing particular attention on the ocean’s role in the earth climate system and its anthropogenically induced changes.

Bryan’s research, through his own contributions and those of his students and collaborators, has enormously influenced ocean and climate scientists worldwide.

Award History

The Alexander Agassiz Medal was first awarded in 1913 to Johan Hjort for his practical oceanographic and fisheries research. Hjort was the first to apply actuarial statistical methods to study causes of the large fluctuations of fish populations. Hjort’s studies culminated in the 1914 article “Fluctuations in the Great Fisheries of Northern Europe,” which was a pivotal work in the development of fisheries science.

Over the past 100 years the Alexander Agassiz Medal has continued to recognize many outstanding oceanographers. Previous recipients of the Alexander Agassiz Medal continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. Seven recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science.

Most Recent Recipient
Kirk Byran Jr. 2023 Alexander Agassiz Medal recipient.
Kirk Byran Jr.
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Dean Roemmich
David M. Karl
Sallie W. Chisholm
James R. Ledwell
Klaus Wyrtki
Charles S. Cox