The Dana Medal recognizes outstanding scientific contributions in the mineralogical sciences by an individual in the midst of his or her career. There are interesting parallels between James D. Dana and this year’s recipient. Both attended Ivy League schools and then went to work for the Navy, where both learned theoretical physics, and both were fired by an intense ambition to advance the science of mineralogy.

Ronald E. Cohen is being honored today for his success in realizing that ambition. With training in experimental petrology, field geology, and meteoritics, Ron moved into computational mineralogy, where he overturned the prevailing view...

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