Cambridge, Mass. - August 13, 2012 - James R. Rice, Mallinckrodt Professor of Engineering Sciences and Geophysics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), has been selected to receive the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) 2012 Walter H. Bucher Medal.

The honor, which will be formally bestowed at a ceremony in December, recognizes Rice's "original contributions to the basic knowledge of the crust and lithosphere."

A mechanical engineer by training, Rice is an expert on the solid and fluid mechanics of stressing, deformation, fracture and flow. His research impacts the study of earthquakes and tectonics, glaciation, landslides, tsunamis, and other processes involved in surface geology. His work has also greatly affected the fields of civil and environmental engineering.

After receiving his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at Lehigh University, Rice spent the first 17 years of his career at Brown University, and came to Harvard in 1981. A member of numerous professional societies, including the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has most recently been honored with the Harry Fielding Reid Medal (American Seismological Society) and the Louis Néel Medal (European Geosciences Union).

The Bucher Medal will be awarded at a ceremony on December 5, 2012, in San Francisco, along with other awards of the American Geophysical Union. Steven Wofsy, Rice's colleague in SEAS and EPS, will also be receiving an award that day: the Roger Revelle Medal.

"Our esteemed honorees are recognized for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of Earth and space science and for their service to the scientific community," said Beth Paredes, Assistant Director of Executive Operations and Awards Administration at the AGU, in an emailed announcement. "They have distinguished themselves through their extraordinary achievements and are role models for future generations of scientists."

The Bucher Medal is named for a former president of the AGU who excelled in studies of the Earth's crust.