Klaus Keller and Lee Kump

Paul F. Robertson Award for Research Breakthrough of the Year

The Paul F. Robertson Award for the EMS Breakthrough of the Year was created in 2012 with support from a generous gift by EMS alumnus Paul F. Robertson.  The recipient shall be honored with a recognition memento and a monetary award at the Wilson Awards Banquet held each spring.


In EMS, the Wilson Awards for Excellence in Research and Teaching are given annually to faculty members in the college who have built an identifiable body of outstanding research and teaching over a period of years. Previously there were no awards given for singular research or teaching achievements communicated in one or a small series of articles, reports, or presentations and this award was created for that purpose. Although the award will recognize research achievements over the previous year, qualifying materials (e.g., journal articles, reports, conference presentations) may come from the previous twenty-four months to allow for recognition of the work by the broader scientific community.Qualifying breakthroughs may be in research or in the scholarship of teaching.

Nomination Procedure

Annually in September, the dean will invite nominations for the Paul F. Robertson Award for Research Breakthrough of the Year. Reminders are sent in October.

Each department and institute may submit one nomination (submitted by the head or director) and the nomination packet should include:

  • An introductory letter consisting of a short summary (150 words or fewer) describing the significance of the work in its field. The letter may be accompanied by up to three reprints and/or documentation that provides evidence of the impact of the work
  • Supporting letters from colleagues familiar with the nominee's work
  • Nominee's current curriculum vitae
  • Recent high-resolution color photograph suitable for the program in jpeg format

The nomination materials may be submitted electronically to Diane Ault (emsresearch@ems.psu.edu) no later than November 15


Members of the college faculty, as defined by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences' Constitution, are eligible.

Selection Procedure

Nominations received by the deadline will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the dean and the associate deans in the college.

Past Recipients

  • 2019: Klaus Keller, professor of geosciences
  • 2018: Roman Engel-Herbert, associate professor of materials science and engineering
  • 2017: Clive Randall, Director, Materials Research Institute; professor of materials science and engineering
  • 2016: Peter Wilf, professor of geosciences
  • 2015: David Pollard, senior scientist, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute
  • 2014: Chris Marone, Demian Saffer, and Don Fisher, all professors in the Department of Geosciences
  • 2013: James H. Adair, professor of materials science and engineering
  • 2012: Paul C. Painter, professor of polymer science, and Fuqing Zhang, professor of meteorology

2019 Paul F. Robertson Award for Research Breakthrough of the Year

Klaus Keller
Klaus Keller
Department of Geosciences

View 2019 Program