Anja Schmidt wins prestigious George Walker Award

SEE Academic Research Fellow Anja Schmidt has won the highly prestigious George Walker Award of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI).

The award is given every two years to a scientist up to 7 years after PhD and recognizes achievements of a recent outstanding graduate in the fields of research encompassed by IAVCEI.

Anja’s award recognises her position as one of a very small number of scientists who has successfully and convincingly established a career at the boundaries between volcanology, atmospheric science and geohazards. Although trained as a geologist, she has published a series of innovative and influential papers on the atmospheric impacts of volcanic eruptions. Within less than three years of her Ph.D. (which won a Springer Thesis Prize) she has published 17 papers spanning the impacts of eruptions on air quality, aircraft hazards, as well as current and ancient climates. These papers have contributed to important developments in our understanding. Notably, she has quantified the climate impacts of tropospheric volcanic aerosol and shown how it can alter our calculations of human effects on climate. Anja has also edited a book titled ‘Volcanism and Global Environmental Change’.  Her 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy was the first to show how air pollution from a present-day Icelandic fissure eruption similar to Laki could cause the premature death of many people in Europe.

Unusually for such an early career researcher, Anja has already used her expertise to advise the UK Government on the risks from large Icelandic eruptions and she is a member of the Expert Advisory Group to the UK government on volcanic risks and emergencies. Her current research is at the forefront of efforts to understand how ancient flood basalt eruptions may have contributed to climate change and mass extinctions.

The George Walker Award honours the memory of Professor George Walker, who was born on March 2, 1926 and died on January 17, 2005. Professor Walker's discoveries pioneered a modern quantitative approach to physical volcanology and greatly accelerated understanding of volcanic processes. The award is supported by the George Walker Fund.

We would like to congratulate Anja on this fantastic achievement.  Anja was presented with her award at the 26th IUGG General Assembly in Prague.

You can follow Anja on twitter @volcanofile