The Copernicus Medal
The purpose of the Copernicus Medal is threefold:
- It recognizes ingenious, innovative work in the geosciences or in the planetary and space sciences;
- It recognizes exceptional efforts in community services such as promoting international collaboration, leading engagement in the organization of international conferences, workshops, or summer schools, and engaging in public outreach;
- It is dedicated to colleagues in the midst of their scientific career (e.g., no later than 20 years after receiving the PhD degree). Parental leave periods in this phase are taken into consideration at two years per child under 12. The doctorate date and the dates of birth of any children must be indicated in the CV.
Especially the combination of the first two criteria follows the spirit of Nicolaus Copernicus and the dedication of the Copernicus Gesellschaft e.V.
The Copernicus Gesellschaft e.V., the exclusive partner of Copernicus Meetings & Publications, solicits nominations of appropriate candidates from the international geo- and space sciences community. Candidate nominations should be submitted by 15 November. Please provide the following material:
- A CV (about 1–2 pages) and a list of up to 10 selected publications or other relevant scientific outcomes (such as datasets, software, etc.);
- A concise statement of achievements (e.g. "for her/his/their pioneering and ground-breaking work on ocean dynamics and her/his/their excellent leadership in the XYZ Project");
A brief encomium (1–2 pages) of the candidate and their scientific work, but also an outline of recognizable community services such as scientific capacity building, promoting international collaboration, leading engagement in the organization of international conferences, workshops, or summer schools, and engaging in public outreach. Answers to the following questions shall be clearly articulated in terms that a non-expert can understand:
- What are the new areas of research they opened up, and how has this revolutionized the discipline? What are the impacts upon society?
- Did the person show leadership and not just participate in international activities? In which way go these beyond general serving on committees or convening sessions?
- What are the details and the extent of services to real life people or the training of young scientists, in particular from outside their own institution?
Please submit your proposals by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Copernicus Medal is presented annually. All nominations will be evaluated by an international and interdisciplinary committee. The winner will be awarded during a special commemorative ceremony.
Please note that this medal is not in competition with other medals presented by scientific associations and societies collaborating with Copernicus GmbH on conferences or publications.
The Copernicus Medal 2024 has been awarded to Lisa Alexander for her pioneering and ground-breaking work on climate extremes, observations and model evaluation, her global influence via the World Climate Research Programme, International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences and the World Meteorological Organization, and her excellent leadership of the CLIMDEX project.
Lisa Alexander is a professor at the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, Australia. She has previously worked as a research scientist for the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, including a secondment to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. She completed her doctorate at Monash University in 2009, winning the Mollie Holman Medal for best doctoral thesis.
Her research has concentrated on understanding the variability in and driving mechanisms of climate extremes. Her primary work aims to improve our understanding of observed changes in these events, using multiple research tools ranging from station observations to climate model output. Much of her work has been focused on the creation of high-quality global datasets and their comparison with state-of-the-art climate models. Of particular significance is Lisa's work on the production and assessment of global datasets of temperature and rainfall extremes under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) and, more recently, the Expert Team on Climate Information for Decision-Making (ET-CID).
She has led regional capacity building and development workshops on behalf of the WMO in numerous developing countries, which has included the creation of the Climpact software to calculate and analyse climate extremes and the Climdex portal to serve the resultant data. Climpact is widely used by the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services, as well as other climate researchers around the world, and forms part of the WMO's regional online training accreditation. Lisa has contributed to numerous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports, including as a lead author on the Fifth Assessment Report. She served as editor-in-chief of Weather and Climate Extremes for 5 years and has sat on several high-level committees, including as a current member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme.
The Copernicus Medal 2023 has been awarded to Minna Palmroth for her ground-breaking work in leading the development of the world's most accurate space environment simulation Vlasiator, and for her outstanding achievements in promotion of space physics to the general public and for decision makers.
Minna Palmroth is a professor in computational space physics at the University of Helsinki and Finnish Meteorological Institute. She is the Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space, which is Finland's first own space programme. Palmroth has twice won the prestigious European Research Council grant (Starting 2007; Consolidator 2015) with which she initiated and led the development of Vlasiator, a massively parallel simulation utilizing the top-notch high-performance computing technologies. Vlasiator models the coupled solar wind – magnetosphere – ionosphere system with the ion-kinetic description.
Palmroth's experience includes fundamental space physics, space weather effects to critical societal infrastructure, high-performance computing, and the sustainable use of space. She holds many international and national positions of trust and policy advising positions. She is a member of INFRAG advisory group advising the EuroHPC supercomputer infrastructure. In 2014-2017 she was a member and chair of the European Commission Space Advisory Group. In Finland, she works closely with the government, ministries, and the preparedness authorities regarding space economy, space situational awareness, and space policy.
Palmroth is also highly active in outreach. She has written books to engage the public and to inspire girls to choose natural sciences. She appears in documentaries, books, TV, radio, and newspapers commenting any aspects related to space. In 2021 she became the Chair of Board for the Technology Academy Finland, awarding the 1-million euro Millennium Technology Prize. She is a member of Academia Europaea, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Finnish Academy of Technological Sciences, and the Finnish Society of Science and Letters. She has been awarded with the J.V. Snellman prize for her outreach activities, and the Väisälä prize for her scientific achievements. More information at: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/palmroth/about-me/
The Copernicus Medal 2022 has been awarded to Athanasios Nenes for transformative contributions and fundamental advances at the interface of aerosol science with cloud formation, air quality, biogeochemical cycles and climate through a combination of theory, instrument development, measurements, and modelling.
Athanasios Nenes is a Professor of Atmospheric Processes and heads the Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts (LAPI) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. He is an affiliate researcher of the Institute of Chemical Engineering Science at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Patras, Greece and a founding member and codirector of the Center of Studies on Air quality and Climate Change at the institute. His research focuses on the impact of atmospheric processes (especially aerosol) on clouds, climate, air quality and ecosystems. A WoS Highly Cited Researcher in Geosciences, Nenes carries a patent on CCN instrumentation, which has seen commercialization and wide adoption. His theoretical & modelling work has produced open source codes routinely used worldwide for regulatory purposes and climate modelling. Measurement techniques and analysis of field data developed by his group led to simple relationships that accurately describe cloud droplet formation in climate models. His participation in over 40 campaigns has produced a rich dataset which is used to constrain global models worldwide. He served as editor of the EGU/Copernicus journal Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics for 15 years, and assumed leaderships for more than a decade in the American Association for Aerosol Research, the American Geophysical Union, and the European Geosciences Union. Nenes is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Associated for Aerosol Research, a member of the Academia Europaea, and has received numerous distinctions which include an ERC Consolidator Grant, the Ascent Award from AGU Atmospheric Sciences, the Whitby Award and Friedlander Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research, the Houghton Award from the American Meteorological Society, a NASA New Investigator Award and a US National Science Foundation CAREER Award. More information can be found at http://lapi.epfl.ch.
Due to the international restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the Copernicus e.V. decided in 2020 to suspend the Copernicus Medal 2021 application.
The Copernicus Medal 2020 has been awarded to Justin C. Kasper for his pioneering work on the heating and acceleration of the solar corona and the solar wind, and his outstanding leadership of the SWEAP Investigation on Parker Solar Probe which has now successfully touched the Sun.
Justin C. Kasper is a professor in the University of Michigan's Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department. He designs sensors for spacecraft that explore extreme environments in space, from the surface of the Sun to the outer edges of the solar system. He is interested in understanding the forces that lead to solar flares and the solar wind, a stream of particles heated to millions of degrees in the Sun's atmosphere, or corona. In 2007, he used measurements by the Voyager spacecraft to detect the termination shock, a massive shockwave surrounding our solar system. He has served on advisory committees for NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. He leads the SWEAP Investigation on Parker Solar Probe, a mission of exploration that made history in 2018 as the first human-made object to plunge into the solar corona. He has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2010), the Henry Russel Award (2018), and numerous NASA awards. More information can be found at: https://clasp.engin.umich.edu/people/kasper-justin-c/
Image credit: NASA Ames Research Center
The Copernicus Medal 2019 has been awarded to Dr Fumio Inagaki for ingenious, pioneering work on the geomicrobiology of ocean floor bacteria, and international leadership in the collaborative study of subsurface seafloor habitats, especially through engagement in scientific ocean drilling projects and the support of the academic exchange of young scientists.
Fumio Inagaki is a principal senior scientist of Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). His research focuses on geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry of the ocean, with special interest of the deep subseafloor biosphere. He uses scientific ocean drilling and the state-of-the-art transdisciplinary approaches to explore the abundance, distribution, diversity and functionality of deep subseafloor microbial communities and the biogeochemical carbon cycling. Numerous international students, post-docs, scientists, technicians and drilling engineers have been involved in scientific expeditions towards understanding new frontiers of the deep biosphere beneath the ocean. His current research interest includes adaptive evolution and long-term survival strategy of subseafloor life, geosphere-biosphere interactions associated with plate tectonics and mantle dynamics, and planetary habitability on Earth and other celestial bodies. To date, his research also includes applied science for developing sustainable carbon and energy systems—geobiotechnology. He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed international articles and book chapters, and significantly contributed to the academic exchange and encouragement of young scientists in the field of geosciences. In 2015, Fumio was awarded the Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize (Taira Prize) by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU). More information can be found at: https://www.fumio-inagaki.com
The Copernicus Medal 2018 has been awarded to Prof Adam Scaife for innovative research and international collaboration on the causes, simulation and prediction of climate variability.
Adam Scaife is head of Monthly to Decadal Prediction, Met Office Hadley Centre and Professor of Applied Mathematics, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter. He leads research and production of long range forecasts at the Met Office. His group issues climate forecasts on a regular basis and carries out world leading research to improve predictions for adaptation to climate variability and change. Adam's personal research is focused on climate variability. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles on the mechanisms, improved computer modelling and predictability of regional climate. His research group recently made an important breakthrough in seasonal forecasting for winter which allows skilful prediction and new applications of long range forecasts for Europe and North America. In recent years, Adam was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s ASCENT Award and the Royal Meteorological Society’s Adrian Gill prize. More information can be found on the website of the Met Office.
The Copernicus Medal 2017 has been awarded to Prof Antje Boetius for her pioneering work on the biogeochemistry and microbiology of ocean methane dynamics and the biogeochemical effects of retreating arctic sea ice.
Antje Boetius is Professor of Geomicrobiology at the University Bremen, and leader of a joint research group on Deep Sea Ecology and Technology of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology. She has studied Biology and Biological Oceanography at the University of Hamburg and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her PhD thesis dealt with deep-sea microbiology and biogeochemistry. She became Professor for Microbiology in 2001 at the Jacobs University in Bremen, and was Group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology from 2003-2008. Antje Boetius is an expert of marine biogeochemistry, biological oceanography, deep-sea biology and microbial of the ocean. She works on polar seas, on chemosynthetic ecosystems and other extreme habitats of the ocean. Antje Boetius has lead or participated in over 45 expeditions, and she has coordinated many national and international research programs. Antje Boetius and her team are renowned for their contributions to microbe-microbe interactions with a focus on the anaerobic oxidation of methane. Key areas of her research include the diversity and function of life associated with seafloor processes such as pelagobenthic coupling, gas seepage and fluid flow, and the structure, function and dynamics of microbial communities of the ocean floor. Current studies of the group include the exploration of Arctic deep-sea life under the ice, and the long-term observation of the effects of global warming on polar ecosystems. Antje Boetius has been awarded with the Medaille de la Societe d’Oceanographie de France, the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation, the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council among many other honors. Antje Boetius has been elected as an external scientific member of the Max Planck Society, to the German National Academy Leopoldina (Section Geology), and to the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz as well as two European academies. She is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the American Academy of Microbiology. Antje engages much in public outreach and transfer of knowledge from ocean sciences. More information can be found on the websites of the MPI Bremen and the AWI Bremerhaven.
The Copernicus Medal 2016 has been awarded to Dr Philippe Ciais for his outstanding and pioneering work centred on the interactions between the natural carbon cycle, terrestrial ecosystems, and climate change.
Philippe Ciais received a Bachelor degree in Physics and a Master degree in Solid State Physics at Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. His PhD thesis in Paleoclimate Studies at Laboratoire de Géochimie Isotopique, Saclay, France, is entitled 'Reconstructions of the Past 15000 years Climate Based on Isotope Records from Coastal and Deep Ice Cores in Antartica'. After a post-doctorate fellowship at NOAA-CMDL in Boulder, USA, he has been working at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, France, since 1994. Since 2006, he has been the Associate Director. More information can be found at: http://www.lsce.ipsl.fr/Phocea/Pisp/index.php?nom=philippe.ciais
The Copernicus Medal 2015 has been awarded to Prof Ulrich Pöschl for his outstanding and pioneering work on aerosol multiphase chemical processes and aerosol-health interactions as well as his contributions to open science through interactive open access publishing and public peer review. Please watch the medal lecture entitled 'Multiphase Chemistry and Open Access at the Interface of Earth and Life Science' at: http://client.cntv.at/copernicus/copernicus-medal
Ulrich Pöschl is director of the Multiphase Chemistry Department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He has studied chemistry at the Technical University of Graz, Austria, and he has worked as a postdoctoral fellow, research scientist, group leader, and university lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Departments of Chemistry and of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry and Biogeochemistry Departments; and at the Technical University of Munich, Institute of Hydrochemistry. His current scientific research and teaching are focused on the effects of multiphase processes in the Earth system, climate, life & public health (http://www.mpic.de/en/research/multiphase-chemistry/profile-ulrich-poeschl.html). Pöschl is actively engaged in the promotion of open science, and he is the initiator of interactive open access publishing with public peer review and interactive discussion (multi-stage open peer review) as established with the international scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
The Copernicus Medal 2013/2014 has been awarded to Prof Corinne Le Quéré in recognition of her innovative and world leading research on the carbon cycle, her initiative to organize internationally coordinated measurement of carbon in the earth system, and her effective communication thereof to government, industry, and policy makers.
Corinne Le Quéré is professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Her research centres on the interactions between climate change, carbon emissions, the natural environment and humans. She was author of the 3rd (2001), 4th (2007) and 5th (2014) Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2007. Further information can be found at: http://www.uea.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/people/profile/c-lequere