The DCO Community Pays Tribute to Louise Kellogg

Louise Kellogg passed away on April 15, 2019. Louise built bridges among communities with her scientific vision and dedication to equity. She consistently promoted early career and underrepresented scientists, providing mentoring, friendship, and wise counsel.

Kellogg in the Keck Caves
Louise Kellogg (right) demonstrating the UC Davis KeckCaves. Credit: Isabelle Daniel

Louise Kellogg was the ideal person to lead the Deep Carbon Observatory’s (DCO) Modeling and Visualization Forum for Deep Carbon. DCO was seeking a scientist who was widely recognized for her leadership in computational geodynamics, scientific visualization, and community building. Louise fit the casting call to perfection, as indicated by her leadership roles with the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG), Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES) at UC Davis, and Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER). In addition to becoming the principal investigator of major DCO grants, Louise served on the DCO Executive Committee and DCO Synthesis Group 2019. True to form, Louise’s contributions extended far beyond her formal roles and titles. She welcomed the opportunities and challenges of integrating geodynamics with geochemistry. Louise was also an inspirational mentor to early career scientists around the world. The universe of science has lost a shining star, brilliant colleague, and dear friend.

Craig Schiffries, Director, Deep Carbon Observatory

I first met Louise in the late 90’s when she visited our group in Lyon; since then she’s been a model for me, as an early career scientist in these early days, and more recently during the DCO. Her groundbreaking work on the structure and dynamics of the lowermost mantle in the late 90’s has fostered hundreds of detailed studies. Not only was Louise an excellent scientist, she also had a passion sharing her scientific message with the largest audience at the highest level. She was a pioneer for the development and implementation of virtuality reality in our disciplines, which has now become more and more widespread. I also appreciated very much her engagement for women in science. The last time I spent time with Louise was in October 2017 at UC Davis. We had lunch together with Don Turcotte, talked about modeling the deep carbon cycle through deep time, held a graduate seminar on the same topic, and spent the rest of day in the Keck Cave discussing science at length. This was a lovely and inspiring day, and this is how I will remember Louise.

Isabelle Daniel, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, France

Louise Kellogg
Photo courtesy of the University of California Davis, USA

Louise Kellogg became involved with the Deep Carbon Observatory through the July 2014 Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER) held at UC Berkeley. Louise served on CIDER’s Executive Committee. Louise spoke about instabilities in mantle convection. Another CIDER participant, Liz Cottrell, would soon initiate the DCO’s modeling and visualization activities with an ambitious Smithsonian proposal in 2015 for a large conference as well as research activities. Liz wisely engaged Louise in the new DCO project. Louise’s profound understanding of geodynamics, modeling and software, and visualization quickly became apparent.  

Louise believed strongly in open source software and community development. She emphasized that open source development provides an entry point for students to participate in development, improvement, and use of models. She had experience directing projects that develop and release open source scientific software, using established modern software engineering principles including version control, documentation, and testing.

Louise also understood that scientific visualization is used in two ways. She wrote:

Kellogg at the DCO Modeling and Visualization Workshop
Louise Kellogg presented at the 2015 DCO Modeling and Visualization Workshop in Washington, DC. Credit: Josh Wood/DCO

“First, as a communication tool: ‘we have this information that we wish to convey, and we need visual representation to convey that information.’ Second, more and more visualization serves as an analytical tool integrated throughout the scientific workflow. State-of-the-art visualization techniques looking at raw datasets reveal gaps or misalignment in datasets or model designs; addressing these (aligning data, making additional measurements) defines the next step in the project and helps quantify uncertainty in measurements and important problem in dealing with big data. Trends and patterns observed early using visualization also help define what data analysis, interpretation, and modeling to carry out next. Many projects that work with visualization in this mode find that a quarter or more of the project effort may involve visualization techniques, and this works best if visualization is involved from the outset. To make this possible requires state-of-the-art tools, including interactive visualization.”

During 2016 Louise assumed leadership of the DCO’s modeling and visualization activities, among the hardest challenges the program has faced. She fostered both the intellectual and social development of the activities, already with impressive results. The speedy and collegial advance of modeling of deep carbon will stand tall among the many contributions of Louise’s superb career. I will always think now of the Deep Carbon Modeling Forum which Louise established as the Kellogg Deep Carbon Modeling Forum.

Jesse Ausubel, Science Advisor, Deep Carbon Observatory, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 

Louise was the kind of thoughtful colleague that everyone wants to have. She was generous and open, and was not motivated at all by selfishness. This came through in all my interactions with her. I once spent a day wandering around Zurich with her after a DCO meeting. It was a glorious day. I remember that we went into a fancy pen and paper store, and she was so delighted that we stayed for a long time looking at every single thing they had. Then, we went back later that afternoon to look at it again. I always enjoy being around people who enjoy life so deeply. I will miss her.

Karen Lloyd, University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA

Kellogg in the Executive Committee
Louise Kellogg (front) with the DCO Executive Committee at the Carnegie Institution for Science in 2016. Credit: Katie Pratt/DCO

I have always enjoyed working with Louise at Executive committee meetings, valued for her balanced, and common sense approach, as well as her upbeat and cheery manner.  She was a reliable and active contributor to many important discussions both formal and informal -behind the scenes and she will be sorely missed.

Adrian Jones, University College London, UK

I got to know Louise over the past few years as a co-investigator on a sequence of two DCO-funded projects that she led.  What struck me was how she combined a warm enthusiasm for science, including the technical aspects of geodynamic computations, with cold strategic insight into fund-raising and project management. She managed to optimise our projects in the context of dynamic constraints and desires from many stakeholders.  And she did so with poise and equanimity under sometimes challenging circumstances. She was committed to service to the community in both small projects, such as ours, and much larger ones, such as the CIG. Not to mention her distinguished record of scientific advance!  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from her and, like many in our community, I'll miss her.

Richard Katz, University of Oxford, UK

Kellogg 2018 Pre-AGU VR Workshop
Louise Kellogg at the 2018 DCO VR Workshop in Washington, DC. Credit: Josh Wood/DCO

I met Louise Kellogg thirty years ago when she came to my Institute for a short post-doctoral project and witnessed her rapid rise as a prominent scientist. Louise was faithful to her friends and colleagues, remarkably unassuming and supportive of others. She liked to work in a group and never reneged on strong scientific and ethical standards. Her serious attitude hid a joyful streak that could come out unexpectedly. I shall remember her enjoying a wild Ceilidh Scottish dance in Saint Andrews. 

Claude Jaupart, Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris, France



Louise H. Kellogg | 1959-2019

University of California Davis, USA


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