Barbara Romanowicz

Harry Fielding Reid Medal | 2011 Recipient

Through the course of her career, Barbara Romanowicz has studied the Earth from its surface to its center, establishing herself as one of the most influential seismologists of her time. For her outstanding contributions in seismology and earthquake engineering, the Seismological Society of America (SSA) awarded Romanowicz its top honor, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal, at its annual meeting on April 17 in San Diego, Calif. Since Romanowicz’s early work on seismic tomography that resulted in the first regional scale models of the mantle beneath North America, her research has been on the cutting edge of seismology. Romanowicz, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and holds the chair of Physics of the Earth’s Interior at Collège de France, in Paris, has made fundamental contributions to practically all areas of global seismology, from body-wave studies of the anisotropic and anelastic structure of the inner core, to normal-mode studies of the Earth’s density distribution and surface- waves studies of the upper mantle. Her contributions are not only reflected in the area of research, but also in her service to the seismology community. While still at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris (IPGP) in the early 1980s, she was instrumental in the conception and development of GEOSCOPE, a worldwide network of seismological observatories from which high quality data are openly available. After arriving at UC Berkeley in 1991, she has revived its Seismological Laboratory, which she directed from 1991 to 2011, leading it to be one of the best in the world. The lab plays a critical role in seismic monitoring and nurtures cutting edge research in seismology and geodesy. It serves as an important link in the seismological infrastructure of the west coast of the United States. Romanowicz has published more than 180 papers and has been honored by leading European and American geophysical organizations. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Member of the National Academy of Sciences.