Thorne Lay honored by Seismological Society of America

Harry Fielding Reid Medal is the second major honor in one week for UCSC seismologist who was just elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Thorne Lay
Thorne Lay

A day after he received one of the highest honors for a U.S. scientist--election to the National Academy of Sciences--UCSC seismologist Thorne Lay learned that he had been chosen to receive one of the highest honors in his field, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America (SSA).

"It was a wonderful week for me," Lay said. "This was sequential recognition from both the broad scientific community and my disciplinary specialty, and I had the very unusual pleasure of receiving many double messages of congratulations. Recognition like these is enabled by the generous efforts of many colleagues, and also reflects programmatic efforts of my many collaborators and students over time, so there are many who share in these announcements."

The Harry Fielding Reid Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions in seismology and earthquake engineering. The announcement that Lay would receive the 2014 medal was made at the annual meeting of the SSA in Anchorage on Wednesday, April 30--just before a ceremony at which the 2013 medal was presented to Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. Lay will receive the 2014 medal at the SSA meeting in Pasadena next year.

"This is the highest honor for achievement in seismology," said Paul Koch, dean of physical and biological sciences at UCSC. "The past recipient list is impressive, a who's who on earth structure, earthquake engineering, and global scientific leadership."

Lay, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC, is an expert on the physics of earthquake faulting and the use of seismic waves to study the deep structure of the Earth's interior, as well as the development of seismological methods for monitoring nuclear test ban treaties. His investigations of recent powerful earthquakes around the world include rapid determination of fault parameters using broadband seismic waves. He has served on many national and international committees, including terms as chair of the board of directors of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Seismology.