University of Georgia professor John Knox will receive the Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award from the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the organization’s highest teaching award named for the renowned meteorologist who founded modern chaos theory. Knox, who was also selected as a Fellow of the society, will receive the Lorenz Award at the 100th Annual AMS meeting in Boston in January.
Knox is Sandy Beaver Teaching Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of geography and undergraduate coordinator in the Atmospheric Sciences Program. He has taught over 6,000 students since joining the UGA faculty in 2001. Knox has also been the recipient of the “Best 300 Professors” designation by the Princeton Review in 2012, the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at UGA in 2013, and the Georgia Professor of the Year given by CASE/Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2014. He is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy.
Lorenz, whose work included the first description of the butterfly effect, the idea that small changes can have large consequences, was also a beloved award-winning teacher of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"It's humbling to win an award named after one of the most famous meteorologists in history,” Knox said. “I served as chair of the selection committee for this award for six years, and I know how seriously that committee takes its work."
“John is an excellent and dynamic teacher who approaches his teaching as he does his research, gathering information on his lectures and writings and then adapting to make improvements,” said Steven A. Ackerman, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who led the nomination process for the Lorenz Award.
“I have always admired the commitment John has demonstrated in supporting student learning and his continual striving to improve his teaching.”
Knox is the first UGA recipient of the Lorenz Award and becomes the third AMS Fellow on the UGA faculty. He won the T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award from the National Weather Association in 2010 for his work to improve the forecasting of aviation turbulence.
"I never expected to be named an AMS Fellow, especially considering that I was a non-tenure-track faculty member for my first seven-plus years at UGA,” Knox said. “I'm grateful to President Morehead who, as Vice President for Instruction, created the teaching-intensive position that I applied for and was offered in 2008. Thanks to President Morehead and the department of geography, both my teaching and my research have flourished here at UGA."
In addition to his professorial duties, Knox currently serves on the Clarke County Board of Education.