University of Reading: International Honour For Mathematician Exploring Earth’s Climate

A University of Reading professor who applies mathematical methods to environmental issues has been honoured in an international awards programme for work advancing understanding of Earth and its atmosphere.

Professor Valerio Lucarini was the recipient of the 2021 Ed Lorenz Lecture, in the Nonlinear Geophysics Section of the American Geosciences Union (AGU) Honors 2021.

The AGU Honors recognise outstanding work studying all aspects of the Earth, from what lies deep below its surface to the secrets beyond its atmosphere in space.

A key feature of Professor Lucarini’s research has been the use of maths to attempt to identify tipping points in Earth’s climate system, which is essential to determine the point at which damage to rainforests or polar ice would become irreversible. Additionally, his work has greatly contributed to the science behind extreme events in the climate system.

Professor Lucarini said: “It is an amazing feeling and a great pleasure to be selected for this honour by the American Geophysican Union, especially considering that previous awardees include Mandelbrot, Ghil, Sornette, Kalnay, and many other great scientists.

“Of course, this has been made possible thanks to the many collaborators I have had in my career. A special thank you goes to the PhD students and to the postdoctoral scientists I have supervised in these years. I also wish to thank the institutions I have worked for, particularly the University of Hamburg, and, obviously, the University of Reading.”

A total of 78 awards and lectures were presented across 23 sections in the 2021 AGU Honors. The Lorenz Lecture awarded to Professor Lucarini was one of 30 lectureships awarded to distinguished scientists with proven leadership in their fields.

The annual Lorenz Lecture is named after renowned American mathematician Ed Lorenz, who is known as the founder of the modern ‘chaos theory’. He established the theoretical basis of weather and climate predictability and the basis for using computers in atmospheric physics and meteorology.

Susan Lozier, President of AGU, said: “Individuals are selected as section honorees on the basis of meritorious work or service toward the advancement and promotion of discovery and solution science.

“Each one of you made tremendous personal sacrifices and selflessly dedicated yourselves to advancing Earth and space sciences. Your discoveries and solutions are simply remarkable.”