Macquarie Earth Sciences researcher awarded prestigious Medal

18 November 2016

  • Associate Professor Juan Carlos Afonso has won the Anton Hales Medal
  • The award is one of the most prestigious in the field of Earth Sciences in Australia

Geophysicist Associate Professor Juan Carlos Afonso from Macquarie University has been awarded the Anton Hales Medal by the Australian Academy of Science. The award is one of the highest honours in Australia in the Earth Sciences and recognises distinguished research contributions in the field.

Associate Professor Afonso said that it was an incredibly humbling experience to learn that he had received the award.

“When I found out I had been selected for the 2017 Anton Hales medal, two thoughts came immediately to my mind. First, I wanted to thank all the people that helped me during my career and therefore contributed to this achievement; this award is not only for me, but for all of them as well. Second, it made me reflect on my personal path to become a scientist and all the sacrifices I had to make. This sort of recognition makes it all worthwhile.”

The early-career award is offered by the Australian Academy of Science to researchers who are within 10 years of completing their PhD and are Australian residents or have conducted most of their research in Australia. Associate Professor Afonso, who originally hails from Argentina, received the award for his research exploring and improving our understanding of the internal constitution of the Earth and plate tectonics. His work has also received other prestigious international awards such as the Outstanding Young Scientist Award of the European Geoscience Union.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius says that Afonso’s research into the mechanical and geochemical interactions that affect tectonic processes is a powerful example of research with global impact.

“As a world-leading research-intensive university, we have a responsibility to produce knowledge and solutions that help communities remain resilient in the face of natural disasters and long-term hazards. Associate Professor Afonso’s research is a prime example of this, having aided our understanding of the nuances of Earth’s tectonics and increasing our insights into the internal constitution and dynamics of the Earth’s interior.”

The Anton Hales Medal honours the contributions of the late Professor Anton L Hales FAA to the Earth Sciences, and Associate Professor Afonso believes that he is in good company – both past and present – in Australia with so many accomplished Earth Scientists within our borders.

“It is such a great honour to be acknowledged by your peers, especially when there are so many great Earth scientists in Australia. I also feel that it does not really matter where you come from or how difficult the path is, if you are really passionate about something (and stubborn enough), you can do well,” Associate Professor Afonso concluded.

More information about the Australian Academy of Science’s Anton Hales Medal can be found at this link: https://www.science.org.au/opportunities-scientists/recognition/honorific-awards/early-career-awards/anton-hales-medal

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