Professor Matthew Pritchard named President-Elect for the Geodesy section of the American Geophysical Union

Matt Pritchard

Matthew Pritchard, professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, was named President-Elect for the Geodesy section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for 2021-2022. In 2023, he will become President of the geodesy section and he will also be a voting member of the AGU Council for the next four years.  In these roles, he will support the scientific study of geodesy – a branch of geophysics that studies change in the shape and gravity of the Earth through time.  Specifically, he will support international cooperation, scientific and technical symposia and publications, research programs, and awards in the field of geodesy.

Over the course of this career, Pritchard has held a number of leadership roles. He is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for Geological Sciences in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Director for the Institute for the Study of Continents (INSTOC). 

Pritchard is a geophysicist who measures the change in the shape of the Earth and develops models of the myriad processes that cause these changes including earthquakes, volcanoes, groundwater, landslides, and glaciers. His geographic focus areas include North and South America, eastern Africa, and northern Russia, and his approach is to combine satellite and ground-based observations with high-performance computing.

During his time at Cornell, Pritchard has become involved in a number of campus-wide initiatives including the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability where he is a Faculty Fellow. The Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability is a hub of collaborative sustainability research that forges vital connections among researchers, students, staff, and external partners. 

Pritchard is also a campus partner of Earth Source Heat at Cornell, an enhanced geothermal system that will use the earth’s internal heat to warm the Ithaca campus. The project holds the potential for a research-driven solution that, if proven viable, could lead to a new sustainable, scalable solution to heating challenges throughout New York state and across the globe.

He is also a fellow of the Carl Sagan Institute, which was founded to find life in the universe, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Paleontological Research Institute.

Pritchard received his B.A. in Physics from the University of Chicago, then went on to receive his M.S. in Geophysics from the California Institute of Engineering and his Ph.D. in Geophysics and Seismology from the California Institute of Technology. He has won many notable awards over the course of his career including the Geodesy Section Award and was named a Kavli Fellow and speaker at the Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium.

AGU supports 130,000 enthusiasts to experts worldwide in Earth and space sciences. Through broad and inclusive partnerships, they advance discovery and solution science that accelerate knowledge and create solutions that are ethical, unbiased and respectful of communities and their values. Their programs include serving as a scholarly publisher, convening virtual and in-person events and providing career support. Not only is AGU committed to their values – they act on them. An example is their net zero energy renovated building in Washington, D.C. and the Ethics and Equity Center, which fosters a diverse and inclusive geoscience community to ensure responsible conduct. 

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