Distinguished Public Service to Earth Sciences Award 2001

Award Title: Distinguished Public Service to Earth Sciences Award

Awardee: Jack A. Murphy

Citation published in: The Outcrop, November 2001, p. 13-14

The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists presents the Distinguished Public Award to Jack A. Murphy in recognition of his commitment to earth science and public education.

Throughout his career, Jack has worked tirelessly as a mineral scientist and educator, for which he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Colorado at Denver in May 2000. As Curator of Geology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since 1970, Jack is responsible for acquiring, preserving, documenting, cataloging and interpreting noteworthy geological, mineralogical and meteorite specimens, for use in exhibits, scientific reference collections and educational programs. Jack is a public information resource and annually provides lectures, classes, tours, programs, field trips and publications to Museum members, schools, universities, and professional and other organizations. In addition, he is especially generous in mentoring children and young adults in the earth sciences.

Two Historic Denver guides, Geology Tour of Denver’s Buildings and Monuments ( 1995) and Geology Tour of Denver’s Capitol Hill Historic Buildings (1997), popularize Jack’s work on Colorado’s building stone industry within a regional geologic context. He spent 15 years compiling data for the comprehensive volume Minerals of Colorado (1997), and was instrumental in developing the Sweet Home Mine exhibit in the Museum’s Coors Mineral Hall.

Jack’s long-time interest in meteorites led to creation of the “Colorado Meteorite Project,” which attempts to locate and document historical and scientific data on Colorado’s 80 known meteorites. As part of this project Jack has trained a group of Museum associates and volunteers in the techniques of fireball investigations and meteorite recovery. This group conducts field research, collections and cataloging, public relations activities, and educational programs. The “All Sky” camera for acquiring more reliable meteorite data and strengthening regional educational programs is an important outgrowth of this project. Based on his work the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is now regarded as the regional authority on meteorites, and Jack’s meteorite project represents one of the Museum’s leading examples of community science.

In recognition of his enthusiasm and dedication to earth science and public education, RMAG presents Jack Murphy its Distinguished Public Service to the Earth Sciences Award.