IAGA Shen Kuo Award


In 2006, to add balance to the small list of IAGA awards, the EC decided to prepare the case for the establishment of a new medal for outstanding interdisciplinary contributions to IAGA science. The aim is to recognize well-known prominent scientists who, by the nature of their activities, do not qualify for the Long Service Medal. (IAGA News 43, 2006)

Shen Kuo (1031-1095)

Image of Shen Kuo medal

Shen Kuo was a Chinese scientist and statesman of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). His talents and contributions extended to almost every field of learning. He was a gifted mathematician, astronomer, earth scientist and poet. He provided the first account of a suspended magnet compass; the concept of magnetic poles; understanding of declination (magnetic poles are not at geographic poles); the concept of true north; and the discovery of dip.



Nominees for the Award should be internationally recognized scientists active in several fields of research, some of which are supported by IAGA (paraphrased from IAGA News 48).


Nominations should come from at least one of the following:

  • 3 Working Groups from at least 2 Divisions
  • 2 Divisions
  • 1 Division and 1 Interdivisional Commission

The nominations may be supported by scientific bodies outside of IAGA. Nominations should be submitted to the IAGA Secretary General.

Guidelines for nomination

Decisions are made by the IAGA Executive Committee.

Recipients of the Shen Kuo Award for Interdisciplinary Achievements

Name Country Year of Award Report
Nils Olsen Denmark 2023 IAGA News 60
Jay Johnson USA 2021 IAGA News 58
Catherine Johnson Canada 2019 IAGA News 56
Jeffrey Forbes USA 2017 IAGA News 54
Daniel Baker USA 2015 IAGA News 52
Jean-Louis Le Mouël France 2013 IAGA News 50


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