Professor Geoffrey Vallis, who's been awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

Exeter mathematician wins prestigious national science award

One of the University of Exeter’s foremost experts in climate dynamics has been honoured with a prestigious national science award.

Professor Geoff Vallis, from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences has been bestowed with a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

He is one of just 28 scientists nationwide to be awarded the honour, in recognition of his outstanding research into Geophysical fluid dynamics and climate.

Professor Vallis, from Exeter’s Mathematics department, said he was both “honoured and delighted” to receive the influential award.  He said: “The award mainly attests to the intellectual environment here at Exeter. I cannot think of a better place in the world to do research in fluid dynamics and climate." 

Professor Vallis's research is concerned with atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics and is focused on a number of interconnected themes, such as the ocean’s role in the climate system, the structure of the atmosphere and ocean and how they interact on long timescales.  

The research for which he received his award  is centred particularly on understanding the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, such as the weather patterns and the ocean currents, and how these might change as the climate warms. 

Professor Vallis said: “I like to think of my work as an example of how basic, fundamental research can address problems of great practical import to society.”

Professor Vallis has previously taught at both Princeton University and the University of California, in the United States.

Professor Ken Evans, Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences said: “This award is testament to Professor Vallis’ outstanding scientific achievement, and is richly deserved. It is also a testament to the world-class research conducted within our College, and we are all delighted that he has received this considerable honour.”

The Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

It aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

The newly appointed award holders are working on a wide range of projects including radar-tracking the movement of bees, assessing how polar ice sheets contribute to global sea level rise, and the development of machine learning for precision medicine.

The Wolfson Foundation is a grant-making charity established in 1955. Funding is given to support excellence. More information is available from its website.

Date: 9 May 2014

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