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PSI's Catherine Louise Johnson Named American Geophysical Union Fellow

July 30, 2013

Tucson, Ariz. -- Planetary Science Institute researcher Catherine Louise Johnson has been named to the American Geophysical Union’s 2013 Class of Fellows. 

The prestigious award honors researchers who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences. The designation is given to not more than 0.1 percent of AGU members in any given year. AGU named 62 Fellows for 2013. 

“I am surprised and delighted, and really honored,” Johnson said. “It is a reflection of a body of work and the contributions you have been able to offer, in collaboration with students, postdocs and other colleagues. Honors like this are really shared with current and former collaborators.” 

Johnson was nominated for a broad spectrum of geophysical research covering bodies from Mercury to Mars, including studying planetary magnetism on Mercury, Earth and the Moon, and researching tectonics and gravitational fields of the Moon, Venus and Mars. 

“My work is in trying to understand surface and satellite observations to probe the structure and evolution of planetary interiors. I’m interested in not just the history of the interior of a planet, but how that interior affects, and is affected by, the evolution of the surface and an atmosphere. I work mainly with data sets that are returned by planetary missions, but also with terrestrial volcanic rock samples that record the history of our own planet’s magnetic field,” she said. 

Johnson is currently a Co-Investigator on NASA’s InSight mission ( that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior, a Co-Investigator on the OSIRIS REx mission ( that will map asteroid Bennu, and return a sample from its surface, and a Participating Scientist on the Mercury MESSENGER mission ( 

She is also a Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 

Johnson is the fourth PSI Senior Scientist named an AGU Fellow. Stuart J. Weidenschilling was honored in 1994, William C. Feldman in 1996, and Michelle F. Thomson in 2001.

The 2013 Fellows will be honored during the Honors Ceremony Dec. 11 at AGU’s Fall Meeting that takes place in San Francisco.


Catherine Louise Johnson

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