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WHOI Waypoints: The Rest of them Wore Medals

In August 2002, Senior Scientist John Hayes (Geology and Geophysics) was awarded the V. M. Goldschmidt Medal by the Geochemical Society during the group’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland. In selecting Hayes, the nominating committee wrote: “Through his many efforts combining the development of new analytical techniques, John has redefined the field of biogeochemistry and has taught geochemists to look at organic geochemistry in an entirely new light.” In particular, the group cited his development of techniques to extract information about ancient levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the isotopic composition of compounds secreted by marine plankton. WHOI senior scientist Stan Hart (Geology and Geophysics) is a past recipient of the medal, which annually recognizes achievements in geochemistry or cosmochemistry.

Hearty congratulations were mingled with sad reflection during the presentation of the first George “Gera” Panteleyev Award at the MIT/WHOI Joint Program commencement in June. Mario Sengco (Biology) was chosen as the first recipient of the award, which honors the graduate who best demonstrates a commitment to improving the graduate experience at WHOI.

The award is named in remembrance of George “Gera” Panteleyev, a Joint Program student who died in 1995 after being swept overboard from a Russian vessel in a tragic accident on the Ob River in Siberia. Panteleyev was revered by classmates for his passionate approach to research and for improving life for fellow Russian citizens and WHOI students.

Classmates cited Sengco for bridging gaps between peers, students, faculty, and the local community by organizing potluck dinners and by encouraging participation in community science programs. He also helped initiate a weekly “tea hour” for students and led local choirs.

In April, Scientist Emeritus John Hunt (Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry) was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor of Albert Einstein by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences for “outstanding contributions to the field of geologic sciences.” The medal is one of the highest awards of the academy. He was also elected to the Academy as a foreign member. His book, Petroleum Geochemistry and Geology, has widely circulated in Russia (including a Russian translation of the work).

Originally published: October 1, 2002