International Mineralogical Association

2009 - Frank C. HAWTHORNE

Frank Hawthorne is a Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Canada, and one of the world’s most distinguished Earth scientists. He is a mineralogist, crystallographer, spectroscopist and theorist. Thomson Scientific lists Frank Hawthorne as both the most highly cited Geoscientist as well as the most highly cited Mineralogist/Crystallographer for the decade 1996 – 2007. The Institute of Scientific Information lists him as the world’s most highly cited Mineralogist for the decade 1990 – 2000 and the world’s third-most cited Geologist for the same period. This assessment is based on over 500 refereed publications in journals and books.

In his nomination Frank Hawthorne is described “…as a hands-on scientist. He is a theorist by inclination and an experimentalist by necessity, driven to do experiments in order to test his ideas or to find the initial data to inductively derive a new approach to a problem. He has never had a large group of students to do his work; he feels that students should conceive and do their own work (with guidance) rather than act as ’hands’ for his own work. Hawthorne is a very imaginative scientist and continually introduces new ideas and approaches across a wide range of Mineralogy; he refuses to gloss over difficulties, to accept “wooly” solutions to difficult problems, or to publish before he feels that he understands the problem at hand”. Frank Hawthorne recognized and refined systematic concepts of chemical bonding at the atomic level that have immensely improved our general understanding of mineral crystal chemistry and the factors that affect the crystallographic architecture and chemical compositions of minerals. The results are seminal and wide-ranging contributions to mineral groups as varied as the borates, sulfates, phosphates, aluminofluorides, vanadates and beryllates on one hand, and common major rock-forming silicates on the other. No student of the geosciences will leave university untouched by some aspect of Frank Hawthorne’s crystal-chemical or spectroscopic contribution to amphibole, staurolite or tourmaline. In addition, Frank Hawthorne has been involved in the discovery of 48 new mineral species, 14 of which have involved common rock-forming mineral groups.

Frank Hawthorne has received many awards, including the principal medals for research from the Royal Society of Canada, Mineralogical Association of Canada, Mineralogical Society of Great Britain, and Geological Association of Canada. He is recipient of the Carnegie Medal of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Killam Prize in Natural Sciences of the Canada Council. He has been elected a Fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. He was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Crystallography and Mineralogy, is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.