Director of UM Climate Change Institute garners international award

Posted May 29, 2010, at 3:42 p.m.
Professor Paul Mayewski speaks during the University of Maine class of 2010 commencement ceremony at the Alfond Arena in Orono Saturday.   (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)
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Professor Paul Mayewski speaks during the University of Maine class of 2010 commencement ceremony at the Alfond Arena in Orono Saturday. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)

ORONO, Maine — The director of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute on Sunday was awarded the International Glaciological Society’s Seligman Crystal.

Paul Mayewski left last week for Tromso, Norway, where he will participate in the International Glaciological Symposium: Ice and Snow in the Climatic System through Friday.

Mayewski, who has led nearly 50 scientific expeditions to some of the world’s most remote locations, is believed to have traversed more of Antarctica than any other explorer in history, according to UMaine spokesman Joe Carr. He is recognized in his field as a pioneer in the use of ice cores to study climate change through the recovery, analysis and interpretation of ice cores recovered from locations in Antarctica, Asia and the Arctic.

The award, a hexagonal crystal of high-quality glass, first was presented in 1963 to its namesake, the late British glaciologist Gerald Seligman. Since then, just 30 Seligman Crystals have been awarded, including five this century.

The society awards the crystal “from time to time to one who has made an outstanding scientific contribution to glaciology so that the subject is now enriched,” according to information on the society’s website.

“Paul’s extraordinary achievements bring honor and distinction to the University of Maine,” UMaine President Robert Kennedy said last week. “This award further solidifies his stature as an affirmed leader in this critical field of study. Paul’s students, his colleagues and our entire aca-demic community all benefit from his exceptional contributions and share a sense of pride in this, his newest accomplishment.”

Mayewski was named UMaine’s 2010 Distinguished Maine Professor at graduation on May 8. The award is an annual honor accorded to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in all elements of the university’s teaching, research and public service mission.

Widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities in his field, Mayewski has earned numerous accolades during his distinguished career. A fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, he was the first person to receive the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research. He also received the Lowell Thomas Medal and a citation of merit from the Explorers Club.

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