Los Altos scientist awarded medal for 'distinguished service'

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David Boore of Los Altos displays his Distinguished Service Award from the Secretary of the Interior. Boore received the award for groundbreaking work in the field of seismology.

Word of outstanding seismologist David Boore has rippled all the way to Washington, D.C. This month, the longtime Los Altos resident received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton.

Norton presented Boore, 62, with the award Feb. 2 for his scientific contributions to the United States Geological Survey in the field of seismology. The DSM is the highest honor bestowed by the Department of the Interior.

Boore is a graduate of Los Altos High School where he was a record-setting miler.

He received bachelor's and master's degrees in geophysics from Stanford University and a doctorate in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His expertise in the field of seismology led to a career at the USGS researching the effects of earthquakes.

"I'm not trying to predict earthquakes," said Boore, at Le Boulanger on Main Street on a sunny February morning. "I'm trying to predict how the ground is going to shake once the earthquake occurs."

Boore's research is fed into building codes to strengthen structures against the effects of earthquakes.

"Seismology is a true international field," Boore said. "It's not a very large field and people tend to know one another."

Over the last two years, his work has taken him around the world, from Turkey, to Germany, to Italy and Japan.

The secretary of the Interior cited Boore's international stature, as well as his expertise and exceptional scientific contributions to the field of seismology, as reasons for presenting him the award for exceptionally meritorious service to the government.

Boore has been married to his wife, Judy, for 39 years. He has a son, Jeff, 30, and a daughter, Stacey, 22.

Stacey, a recent graduate of Oberlin College with a geology major, was able to attend the awards ceremony which Boore described as a fantastic moment.

In his free time, Boore leads fault hikes on the Peninsula.

He stays fit by riding his bicycle on sunny days from his home in Los Altos to his office in Menlo Park where his groundbreaking work for the USGS continues.

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