GIA Governor Dr. John W. Valley Honored at GSA Conference


New mineral species valleyite named in his honor

CARLSBAD, Calif. – October 31, 2017 – Dr. John W. Valley, a member of the GIA Board of Governors, was recognized for his contributions to isotope geochemistry at the October 2017 Geological Society of America (GSA) 129th annual meeting in Seattle, Wash. Fellow scientists honoured his work in a two-day symposium, which closed with a presentation of the newly discovered mineral species valleyite, named in his honour.

“Congratulations to John Valley from everyone at GIA for this well-deserved recognition of his exceptional work,” said Susan M. Jacques, GIA president and CEO. “We are honored to have such an eminent and recognized scientist on our Board of Governors.”

The symposium “Celebrating Dr. John W. Valley’s Contributions to Geochemistry and Beyond, from the Hadean to the Holocene” was devoted to Dr. Valley and his work. 44 scientists, including fellow GIA governor Dr. Barbara Dutrow (distinguished professor of geology and geophysics at Louisiana State University) and more than 20 of Dr. Valley’s former students and post-doctoral fellows, summarized their research, much of which was based on work they started with Dr. Valley. The final presentation discussed a newly discovered mineral species, valleyite, named in honor of Dr. Valley. Valleyite is a magnetic mineral found in late Pleistocene basaltic (igneous) scoria from Menan Volcanic Complex near Rexburg, Idaho.

“One of the greatest satisfactions for an academic is to witness the success of people they have taught or advised,” Dr. Valley said. “The GSA symposium has left me humming with happiness because of exciting science and good friends.”

Dr. Valley is Charles R. Van Hise distinguished professor and former chair of the department of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research spans many fields including mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, the early Earth, astrobiology and paleoclimatology. Valley is a fellow of six professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union; he was the 2005 – 2006 president of the Mineralogical Society of America. He has published more than 300 articles and has held editorial positions for numerous scientific journals, including Elements as principal editor from 2011-2014. Valley received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1980.

Dr. Valley joined GIA’s Board of Governors in November 2014.

The members of the GIA Board of Governors have backgrounds and high-level experience in diverse professions, industries and academic disciplines. Their role is to direct the strategy of the Institute to ensure that the mission and vision of GIA are followed in all decisions; that the reputation of GIA is preserved and continues to grow globally; and that the financial goals of the Institute are met. The scientific expertise that Dr. Valley and Dr. Dutrow bring is crucial to advancing GIA’s comprehensive gemological research effort.

Dr. John W. Valley, GIA Governor and professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was honored at the October 2017 meeting of the Geological Society of America. Photo by Eric Welch/GIA.

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