The Harry Fielding Reid Medal

With a distinguished list of recipients that reads like a Who’s Who in the field of seismology, The Harry Fielding Reid Medal is SSA’s highest honor. Originally called The Society Medal before its name change in 2005, the award has celebrated outstanding contributions to seismology or earthquake engineering since 1976.

Award Criteria

The Harry Fielding Reid Medal, SSA’s highest honor, is awarded no more than once a year for outstanding contributions in seismology or earthquake engineering.

Award Eligibility

The Medal may be awarded to any individual with the exception of a member, member-elect or officer of the SSA Board of Directors at the time of the nomination deadline.

Nomination Procedure

The chief nominator must be an SSA member who is eligible to submit a nomination. Any member of SSA may nominate a candidate for this award, with the exception of members of the Reid Medal subcommittee, SSA Board of Directors and SSA Award Encouragement Committee.

A nomination package consists of: 1) a letter of nomination of no more than two pages that summarizes the nominee’s significant accomplishments and 2) letters, each no more than two pages, from at least two (but no more than five) members of the Society. Non-members of SSA may co-sign letters or submit letters of support. Optionally, the package may include a curriculum vita and bibliography in support of the nominee.

A signed nominator disclosure form submitted by the chief nominator must be included with every submission. Click here to complete the Ethics Disclosure Form for Nominators.

The Medal Subcommittee should attempt to ensure that up to but no more than three nominees are put forward for consideration by the Board for the Medal annually. If the subcommittee feels there is no qualified recipient, they will recommend that no award be conferred that year. Any unsuccessful nomination may be considered again in the following year’s award cycle without resubmission of the nomination package if requested by a nominator before 30 September of that year. To be reconsidered in subsequent years (beyond the year immediately following the original nomination), a new nomination package must be submitted. The Executive Director will contact nominators via email prior to 30 September to confirm willingness for reconsideration of a package for a second year.

Awardee Selection

The Board of Directors will select the recipient of the Medal from among the one to three nominees provided to the Board from the Reid Subcommittee. The HC may review the procedures and/or act in an advisory capacity to the subcommittee. The HC, the SSA Board and staff should keep names of nominees and nomination materials confidential.

Subcommittee Membership

The subcommittee consists of six persons, including the chair. All subcommittee members must be SSA members. One member of the subcommittee, preferably the chair, should also be a member of the HC. Subcommittee membership may include no more than two past Medalists and would ideally include early-career and mid-career SSA members. Normal term of service is two years, with the chair serving for two years.

Deadline and More Details

Nominations should be sent to the SSA Secretary by 30 September. Electronic submissions should be e-mailed in .TXT, .PDF or .DOC files to

For more information, see the SSA Honors Program Guide.

Questions may be directed to the Chair of the Honors Committee, Heather DeShon ( Please list Reid Medal – Question as the subject line.

2021 Harry Fielding Reid Medal Recipient

William Ellsworth
Past SSA President William Ellsworth is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior.

William Ellsworth is recognized for his critical contributions to earthquake location, earthquake nucleation, earthquake recurrence and induced seismicity research.

With Felix Waldhauser, Ellsworth developed the double-difference (DD) earthquake location method, which has had a tremendous influence on the field of seismology since the publication of the seminal study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America in 2000. The DD method has been used in thousands of investigations to precisely locate earthquakes, revealing the intricacies of fault geometry deep below ground.

His work on understanding the causes of and solutions to induced seismicity attests to his scientific creativity, productivity, and outstanding mentorship, according to Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback, who nominated Ellsworth for the award.

William Ellsworth “has been extremely generous with students and colleagues and contributes with a level of energy and enthusiasm one would expect from someone just starting their career.”–Stanford Geophysicist Mark Zoback