Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research

The Organizing Committee for the 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) is honoured to announce the establishment of the Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research. The Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research is meant to celebrate and recognize select individuals who have made extraordinary lifetime achievements in mercury research, mentoring, or contributions to governmental policy and public outreach. It is hoped that the consideration of nominations for this prestigious international award will become a tradition of all future conferences in the ICMGP series.

Dr. Kathryn R. Mahaffey passed away on June 2, 2009. Her career embodied all that this award is meant to honor: scholarly research on mercury that met the highest scientific standards, that greatly enhanced our understanding of mercury as a pollutant and that supported government action across the globe to protect public health. Kate was a prolific contributor to the scientific literature, but she also understood that for her work to have true impact she would need to communicate to those who make decisions. She was the model of scientific integrity, speaking truth to power even when her scientific findings were unpopular. Those who worked with Kate knew her as thoughtful and kind with great intellect and tenderness.

The Award

Award created in memory of Dr. Kathryn Mahaffey by
Nova Scotian Crystal.

This handcrafted crystal award was created in memory of Dr. Mahaffey and her dedication to advancing public health through research on mercury in the environment. She is remembered as a timeless intellect and a rare scientist who used academic research to aid the development of public policy and to protect human health.

The design of this award represents the multi-faceted nature of mercury research, anchored in both the physical environment and human health. The crystal wraps around a symbolic mercury drop to evoke the protective embrace of Dr. Mahaffey’s legacy. The fluid form of the award captures the mobility of mercury in aquatic environments, while the clear crystal represents the atmosphere, the dominant medium for mercury transport. The natural granite base calls to mind the foundation of mercury research in the geologic sciences and the substantial grounding of our present knowledge in the research conducted by each recipient of this award.

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