April 10, 2002
A local scientist has been honored by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences with its highest honors. Scientist Emeritus John Hunt of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor of Albert Einstein by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, United States section, for “outstanding contributions in the field of geology.” The medal is the highest award conferred by the Academy.
Shortly after he was informed of the honor, Hunt received word that he also had been elected a foreign member of the Academy and was being awarded its Kapitsa medal of honor for “outstanding contributions to the field of geologic sciences.”
“It is a nice reward for all those years of research,” Hunt said of the honors. His book has circulated throughout Russia in both Russian and English versions.
Hunt, a scientist emeritus in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, retired from WHOI in 1984. He received his B.A. degree in chemistry from Western Reserve University in 1941, M.S., degree in petroleum chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1943, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1946. After serving briefly as an instructor in chemistry at Pennsylvania State in 1947, Hunt worked as a research chemist at Jersey Production Research Company, a subsidiary of Exxon, from 1948 to 1955 and headed the company’s geochemical research from 1956 to 1963.
Hunt joined the WHOI staff in 1964 and served as Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Geology from 1964 to 1967 and as Chairman of the Department of Chemistry from 1967 to 1974. He was appointed a Senior Scientist in 1974 and a Scientist Emeritus in 1984.
A member of numerous professional societies, Hunt served on many national and international committees and served as chairman or as a member of various committees of the American Petroleum Institute, American Geological Institute, and American Association of Petroleum Geologists over a 30-year period between 1953 and 1983. He has received several honors and awards through the years and is the author of more than 100 publications on petroleum geochemistry and the reference textbook, Petroleum Geochemistry and Geology.