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Susan Hubbard
2016 Harold Mooney Award Recipient

Susan has been a leading innovator and advocate for near-surface geophysics over the past two decades, with contributions spanning the sub-fields of hydrogeophysics, contaminant geophysics, precision agriculture, and biogeophysics.

Perhaps her greatest contribution has been nurturing the expansion of near-surface hydrogeophysics as a scientific discipline, highlighted by her founding of the AGU’s Hydrogeophysics Technical Committee (2002) and co-editing of the heavily utilized reference volume, Hydrogeophysics (Rubin & Hubbard, 2006). Her early work focused on novel approaches to estimating hydraulic conductivity (Hubbard 1997, Hubbard 2001) and soil moisture using GPR, often creatively integrating both rock physics and geostatistical analysis approaches; both efforts were highlighted in heavily cited articles in The Leading Edge (Hubbard 1997 and Hubbard 2002). Her subsequent research has pushed near-surface geophysics forward through applications as diverse as the use of GPR for precision viticulture, geophysical monitoring of biomineralization at contaminant sites, and most recently the utilization of geophysics for mapping permafrost structure and dynamics. Unfortunately, her technical contributions to the field are too lengthy for a short summary; she has authored or co-authored 114 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters during her career.

Susan has also been a tireless supporter of the near-surface geophysics community, particularly in her professional and editorial roles where she is often the lead geophysicist in communities with broad disciplinary backgrounds. As mentioned previously, she was instrumental in building the hydrological side of the near-surface geophysics community at AGU and served as the founder and initial chair of AGU’s Hydrogeophysics Technical Committee (2002-2006). She has served as an Associate Editor for WRR (2001-2005), the Journal of Hydrology (2007-1010), JGR-Biosciences (2010-2015) and the co Editor of Vadose Zone Journal (2007-2013). Her efforts to expand hydrogeophysics have also been broadly acknowledged by the scientific community; she is a GSA Fellow (2011), a past Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer for the GSA (2009), and is a past recipient of the Frank Frischnecht Leadership Award (SEG-NSGS, 2009).

At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Susan has been an extraordinary advocate for utilizing near-surface geophysics to solve problems in the applied and basic earth sciences ranging from contaminant studies to carbon cycle dynamics; one of her particular talents is finding ways to link the results of geophysical imaging to evaluation of coupled chemical and microbial processes in the subsurface. While she has risen to the post of Associate Laboratory Director at LBNL, she maintains active leadership of our Environmental Geophysics group, a role she has relished at every stage of her career since 2003; in fact, she can still be found taking time from her schedule for permafrost field campaigns in the Arctic (!). She has also been an outstanding mentor for young scientists, providing guidance on topics scientific as well as bureaucratic, crucial information for early career researchers in the public sector.

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