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Outstanding Faculty Awards

Robert Hazen

Professor of Earth Science
George Mason University

Robert M. Hazen has been Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University since 1990. He received his B.S. and M.S. in geology at the MIT and his Ph.D. at Harvard University in earth science. After studies as NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University, he became Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory.

Dr. Hazen is author of more than 350 articles and 20 books on science, history, and music. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has received the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) Award, the American Chemical Society Ipatieff Prize, the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, the Educational Press Association Award, and MSA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal. He has presented numerous named lectures and was Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi and MSA, for which he is Past President. Dr. Hazen’s recent research focuses on roles of minerals in life’s origins, including mineral-catalyzed organic synthesis and selective adsorption of organic molecules on mineral surfaces. He has also developed a new approach to mineralogy, called “mineral evolution,” which explores the co-evolution of the geo- and biospheres. The biomineral “hazenite” was named in his honor.

At George Mason University, Dr. Hazen developed curricula on scientific literacy with Professor James Trefil. Their books include the best selling Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy and The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, now entering its seventh edition. Dr. Hazen teaches courses on symmetry in art and science, on images of the scientist in popular culture, and on scientific ethics. He appears frequently on radio and television programs on science, and he developed two popular video courses: The Joy of Science and The Origins of Life, both produced by The Teaching Company.

In October 2010, Dr. Hazen retired from a 40-year career as a professional trumpeter. He performed with numerous ensembles including the Metropolitan, Boston, and Washington operas, the Royal, Bolshoi, and Kirov ballets, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, and the Orchestre de Paris. Prior to his retirement he was a member of the Washington Chamber Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the Washington Bach Consort, and the National Gallery Orchestra.

View Nomination Packet

Dr. Robert Hazen


"From the time I was a mediocre 8th grader in northern New Jersey, to my first semester as a wide-eyed MIT freshman, to aspiring trumpeter at the New England Conservatory, to budding scientist as a graduate student at Harvard, a cast of gifted, dedicated, and inspiring teachers has pointed the way. I knew that somehow, someday, I wanted to be like them."