McKinnon honored by American Geophysical Union

Washington University planetary scientist Bill McKinnon is one of 62 geoscientists who have been elected to the American Geophysical Union’s 2020 class of fellows.


Bill McKinnon, professor of Earth and planetary sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The honor highlights McKinnon’s exceptional contributions in Earth and planetary sciences and recognizes him as a global leader and expert committed to the advancement of the geosciences. Each year, the AGU elects fewer than 0.1% of its members to join this prestigious group.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the AGU this way, as it has been an intellectual home for me for more than 40 years,” said McKinnon, a planetary scientist. “Within the AGU's planetary sciences section, I have served as a journal editor and section president, so the fellowship is especially meaningful to me in this context.”

The AGU is the world’s premier geoscience professional society. As part of their commitment to supporting new scientific approaches and transdisciplinary fields of study, the AGU brings together an incredible breadth of geoscientists across sections ranging from planetary sciences to climatology to tectonophysics.

“The great thing about the AGU is that it helps its members keep up with and learn about advances in all its sections,” McKinnon said. “The AGU is also quite serious about providing the sound science that policymakers and citizens alike need to make decisions.”

Looking ahead, McKinnon will be involved in the renewed exploration of the icy satellites of Jupiter through NASA's Europa Clipper and the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, both of which will be launched over the next several years.

“No issues are more important than those that surround understanding, combating, mitigating, and adapting to the increasingly adverse effects of climate change,” said McKinnon. “The planets and satellites we’re studying, at least those with atmospheres, have much to teach us.”