Wallace S. Broecker, Ph.D. '58, to Receive Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement
May 14, 2014

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University is pleased to announce that Wallace S. Broecker, Ph.D. ’58, Geological Sciences, will be honored with the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement at the 2014 GSAS Ph.D. Convocation Ceremony.

Professor Wallace S. Broecker, Ph.D. '58Wallace S. Broecker is the Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Columbia University, and a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He came to Columbia for a research internship at the age of 21 and has remained ever since. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and continued on for graduate study, culminating with his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences in 1958, then began a teaching and research career that has spanned more than five decades.

Through his early pioneering work in radioisotope dating to infer past climates, Broecker developed the idea of the “great ocean conveyer,” or deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe. By showing how the oceans contribute to climate, Broecker was one of the first to warn that the climate has changed abruptly in the past and could do so again. Broecker is credited with first using the term “global warming” in a scientific paper, in a 1975 study in Science that accurately predicted warming temperatures on earth as carbon dioxide levels rose. In his later career, Broecker has advocated for solutions to global warming, including capturing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away permanently underground.

At age 82, Broecker has claimed most of the top honors in his field, including the Vetlesen Prize in 1987, National Medal of Science in 1996, the Crafoord Prize in 2006, the Balzan Prize in 2008, and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2009. He is coauthor of the book Fixing Climate, and has published more than 450 research papers and 10 books over his lifetime.

The GSAS Ph.D. Convocation Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 18, at 3:30 p.m. on the Morningside campus of Columbia University. The Ph.D. Convocation speaker will be Klaus Lackner, the Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics at Columbia, Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute, and one of the scientists profiled in Broecker’s book Fixing Climate

For more information about Professor Broecker, please contact Kim Martineau at or (845) 365-8708.

For more information about the GSAS Convocation Ceremonies, please contact Robert Ast at or 212-851-9851.