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Chris Field to receive Heinz Award for environmental science and leadership

Stanford researcher Chris Field to receive $100,000 Heinz Award for environmental science and leadership. 

Liz Mangelsdorf Christopher Field

Chris Field

Christopher Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, has been named one of 10 recipients of the 2009 Heinz Awards. In announcing the award, the Heinz Family Foundation cited Field "for his leadership and innovation in carbon cycle and climate science."

The annual awards, which total $1 million, were established in 1993 by Teresa Heinz, chairman of the foundation, to honor the memory of her late husband, Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, who died in 1991. This year’s awards "commemorate the late senator’s long-standing commitment to the environment by bestowing $100,000 awards [for unrestricted use] to 10 individuals whose achievements have helped bring about a cleaner, greener and more sustainable planet," the foundation said. The awards will be presented on Oct. 28 at a private ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The author of more than 200 scientific publications, Field has made major contributions to physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry and climate science. In 2006, he received the Stanford Sidney and Skippy Frank Prize for Outstanding Research in the Prevention or Reduction of Global Warming. For more than a decade, he has conducted long-term climate change experiments at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, where he serves as faculty director. He also is director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford campus.

"Chris Field receives a Heinz Award for his contributions towards understanding the impacts of climate change on Earth’s ecosystems, as well as for his national and international leadership in bringing science to the policy process," the foundation said. "He has played a critical role in the emergence of global ecology as a unique discipline, applying it to diverse questions concerning the scientific foundations for a sustainable future."

The foundation cited Field’s major role on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2008, he was elected co-chair of IPCC Working Group 2, an international team of science and policy experts charged with assessing the impacts of climate change on social, economic and natural systems. One of his main responsibilities is to oversee the Working Group 2 Report, which is scheduled to be published in 2014. Field was a coordinating lead author of the 2007 IPCC report and a member of the delegation that represented the IPCC at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Norway. He also has briefed U.S. Congressional committees on the impacts of climate change.

"Chris Field is an outstanding scientist whose scholarly contributions over the past decade have been critical to our understanding of the impacts of climate change," said Jeffrey Koseff, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and co-director at the Woods Institute for the Environment. "Chris is a true leader who understands the importance of linking science to societal needs. Given his role as co-chair of IPCC Working Group 2, I have great confidence that the group will produce outstanding work that will have a lasting impact, not only on slowing the pace of climate change but also on our ability to adapt to it. He is truly deserving of this recognition by the Heinz Foundation."

Field is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is on the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The Heinz Awards seeks to find those individuals who are quietly and boldly working to improve this world," Teresa Heinz said. "In highlighting the work of some of our country’s most thoughtful, innovative and creative individuals, we are pleased to shine a deserving spotlight on their extraordinary achievements."