Wallace S. Broecker Medal


The Wallace S. Broecker Medal is awarded biennially to an individual for innovative and impactful contributions to the advancement or application of marine geoscience, chemical oceanography, or paleoceanography. The Broecker Medal also seeks to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions toward educating and mentoring students and early career ocean professionals or who have conducted significant interdisciplinary research and/or collaborative work towards meaningful societal impact. The Wallace S. Broecker Medalist will be invited to deliver a lecture at a designated Ocean Sciences Meeting.


Outstanding contributions to the understanding of and/or transformative contributions to the advancement or application of marine geoscience, chemical oceanography, and/or paleoceanography.

These contributions may be demonstrated by:

  • Educating and mentoring students and early career ocean professionals
  • Interdisciplinary research in ocean science
  • Collaborative work towards meaningful societal impact



  • Active membership in The Oceanography Society is not required at the time of nomination.
  • TOS officers and members of the Council are not eligible for selection during their terms of service.
  • Nomination is for an individual from any country. Nominations are sought of individuals that have not received similar awards in the past three years (from TOS or other societies).
  • If selected, nominees must certify their compliance with all TOS policies, specifically the Professional Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct and Guidelines on Implementation.



  • Supporters are not required to be TOS members.


  • Nominations must include the elements described in the Nomination Package section below.
  • Nominations must be submitted using the online system. You will be prompted to login. If you don’t have an existing account, please create a New Users account in order to complete your submission.
  • Submissions are due by October 31, 2025.


Nominations are must include the following elements:


  • Please suggest text that may be edited to appear in news releases and on a certificate presented to the recipient. The text of this citation should be 200 characters or less.


  • Nominee’s curriculum vita or resume (five pages maximum) must be up to date and include the nominee’s name, mailing and email addresses.
  • A description of the nominee's outstanding contributions (two pages maximum). If in the form of a bibliography, include key publications or products and indicate when students or postdocs appear as first author. If in narrative form, please provide descriptions and include any links that may be available to reference material (website, projects, initiatives, etc.).


  • The nomination letter can be a maximum of two pages and must include the name, title, affiliation, and contact information for the nominator or co-nominators.
  • The letter should succinctly describe why the nominee is suited to receive the award, highlight their accomplishments, and elaborate on any information that is not specifically addressed in the nomination materials.


  • At least two but not more than three individuals may provide support for the nomination. These individuals are in addition to the nominator or co-nominators. Supporting letters are capped at one page in length and must include the supporter's name, title, and contact information, relationship to the nominee, and clear justification for the qualifications of the nominee.
  • A fillable PDF is available here. After completion, the form may be sent directly to the nominator for inclusion with other nomination materials.


Wallace S. “Wally” Broecker (1931–2019) was an American Geochemist. Born in Chicago in 1931, Wally first attended Wheaton College, Illinois, and received a PhD in Geology in 1959 from Columbia University, New York. He was named Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. After early work in Pleistocene geochronology, he made major contributions to Chemical Oceanography, developing a kinetic view of chemical distributions in the ocean, their role in tracing ocean circulation and the carbon cycle, and their utility as paleoceanographic tracers to discern large-scale changes in the global ocean and climate systems. He popularized the term “global warming” and was a leading voice for the development of an informed solution to human-caused climate change, including reduction of excess greenhouse gases. He was awarded numerous fellowships and awards, including Fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and receipt of the Crafoord Prize in Geosciences, the Alexander Agassiz Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Medal of Science of the United States and many others. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Cambridge University, Oxford University, and many others.


Dr. Taro Takahashi (deceased 12/3/19) was selected as the first recipient of the Wallace S. Broecker Medal. Dr. Takahashi’s six-decade research career cemented the understanding of global ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and the biogeochemistry that drives it. He is remembered as an excellent mentor to his colleagues and junior scientists, as well as for his strong conviction that community service is an important part of being a researcher.


If you have any questions about the the Broecker Medal, please contact Jenny Ramarui, TOS Executive Director.

Background photo credit: S. Rauche, MARUM  (CC-BY 4.0)

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