When Allan V. Cox was presented AGU's John Adam Fleming Medal in 1969, John Verhoogen described Cox's work as “characterized by painstaking care, proper attention to and use of statistics, and great insight.” Those same thoughts were echoed on February 3, 1987, during the memorial service for Cox, who died in a bicycling accident on January 27. The Stanford Memorial Church was crowded with colleagues, students, and friends.
The Fleming Medal was presented to Cox in recognition of his studies on the fluctuation of the geomagnetic field. These studies helped to confirm theories of continental drift and seafloor spreading. The medal is awarded annually by AGU for original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, and related sciences. In addition to the Fleming Medal, Cox received the Antarctic Service Medal in 1970, the Vetlesen Prize in 1971, and the Arthur L. Day Prize of the National Academy of Sciences in 1984. He was a Fellow of AGU and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.