Geographer Karl Zimmerer named an AAAS Fellow

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November 29, 2012 - 10:55am

Karl Zimmerer, professor and head of the Department of Geography, received the honor of being chosen as one of six Penn State faculty members named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). New inductees are elected by the current Fellows in recognition of “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications that are scientifically or socially distinguished.”


“It was a wonderful surprise that arrived by email on a busy day,” Zimmerer says. “I’m honored to join this community of active and forward-looking scientific leaders. Additionally, I’m pleased at this recognition of the value of my scientific and outreach activities— within the subfields of human-environment and nature-society geography—that are focused on theoretical and field-based understandings and solutions to land use, biodiversity conservation, and food security issues.”


The AAAS honors citation states that Zimmerer received his award for “outstanding contributions to geography and environmental sciences, particularly through research on agrobiodiversity, land use, conservation, and energy landscapes in globalization and development.” Zimmerer’s research scholarship on these topics is contained in distinguished publications in geography and the sciences encompassing nearly 100 articles and chapters. He has also authored six books and monographs.

Zimmerer and his students have worked in the U.S. and internationally in pioneering the analysis and development of new approaches to conserving biodiversity in land use while improving food security, environmental sustainability, and livelihood quality.


Zimmerer is the recipient of numerous other honors, awards, and grants, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and those of the National Science Foundation. Prior to coming to Penn State in 2007, Zimmerer had served as chair and professor in the Department of Geography and Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1988.


“It is of course a major career milestone to be chosen as a AAAS Fellow,” Zimmerer notes. “A scientist can’t achieve this level of recognition without support from the department and college, so I think it also reflects well on my colleagues and students. I know I’ll keep doing the same things and more, likely including some increased opportunities to undertake scientific research and thread it throughout my teaching, service, and outreach.”


The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science. Learn more about the AAAS Fellows program.

This year, 702 Fellows were selected for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Fellows will receive certificates and pins on February 16 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.


The other new Penn State Fellows are Peter Hudson, director, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and Willaman Professor of Biology; Sounder Kumara, Allen E. & M. Pearce Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; Andrew Read, professor of biology and entomology and Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar; Nitin Samarth, George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head and professor of physics; and Matthew Thomas, professor of entomology and Huck Scholar in Ecological Entomology. Read more on Penn State Live.


For more information about Zimmerer or the Department of Geography, contact Angela Rogers geography@psu.edu.