Carnegie Mellon University
February 22, 2013

Press Release: Renowned Environmental Scientist François M. M. Morel To Receive Carnegie Mellon’s Dickson Prize in Science

morel.francoisContact: Jocelyn Duffy / 412-268-9982 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University will award its 2012 Dickson Prize in Science to François M. M. Morel, the Albert G. Blanke Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University. Morel is world-renowned for his contributions to understanding the biological and chemical processes that influence the marine ecosystem.

CMU’s Dickson Prize in Science was established in 1969 by the late Pittsburgh physician Joseph Z. Dickson, and his wife Agnes Fisher Dickson. It is awarded annually to individuals in the United States who make outstanding contributions to science.

Morel will receive the award, which includes a medal and cash prize, before giving the annual Dickson Prize Lecture at 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 4, in McConomy Auditorium in the University Center on CMU’s Oakland campus. His lecture, titled "Ocean Acidification: Causes, Time Scales and Consequences," is free and open to the public.

"Francois Morel has been a world leader in the fields of water chemistry and chemical oceanography since the early 1970s, and a pioneer in advancing the understanding of dissolved metal interactions with phytoplankton and other organisms at the base of the aquatic ecosystem," said David A. Dzombak, the Walter J. Blenko Sr. University Professor of Environmental Engineering and director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at CMU.

Carbon dioxide emissions have skyrocketed since the industrial revolution. About one-quarter of the CO2 released into the atmosphere is absorbed into the Earth’s oceans. As the concentration of CO2 in the oceans increases, the water becomes more acidic. In his lecture, Morel will discuss how ocean acidification can impact key processes such as nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis, and how it could lead to large-scale changes in the ocean ecosystem.

Morel earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Grenoble in France, and a doctoral degree from the California Institute of Technology. He has been awarded the C.C. Patterson Medal from the Geochemical Society, the Maurice Ewing Medal from the American Geophysical Union, the Urey Medal from the European Association for Geochemistry and the ENI Award’s Protection of the Environment Prize. He also has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Pictured above is Princeton Professor François M. M. Morel