In Memoriam: Marilyn Louise Fogel 1952-2022

Marilyn Fogel, a professor emerita of geo-ecology at the Univerity of California, Riverside, died on May 11 at her home in Mariposa, California. She was 69 years old and had suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Professor Fogel pioneered the use of different forms of the same chemical element, called isotopes, to understand the life history of organisms, both modern and ancient. In so doing, she helped develop biogeochemistry as a new field of science with many seminal papers in the field and earned herself the moniker ‘isotope queen.’ Her work with stable isotopes traced the long-term history of living things not only on Earth but also helped answer questions about life elsewhere in the universe.

A native of New Jersey, Professor Fogel held a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pennsylvania State University. She earned a Ph.D. in botany and marine science from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2016, Dr. Fogel joined the faculty at the University of California, Riverside as the Wilbur W. Mayhew Professor of Geoecology and director of the Environmental Dynamics and GeoEcology or EDGE Institute. Earlier, she had taught at the University of California, Merced and was a staff scientist at the Geophysical Lab at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Dr. Fogel was the first woman ever to win the Alfred Treibs Medal in organic geochemistry for lifetime achievement in the field. She was a fellow of the Geochemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Geophysical Union.


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