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Prof. Tonie Van Dam Inducted as AGU Fellow

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Published on Thursday, 19 November 2020

Prof. Tonie van Dam was made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). She joins a select group of scientists who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences, and the University is proud that Prof van Dam has been welcomed into this group. 

AGU is an international non-profit, scientific organisation, which in its 100 years of operation has become a unique and influential leader in the Earth and space science community. Today the AGU has nearly 60,000 members in 137 countries. The AGU Fellows programme was established in 1962 to identify scientists that could advise, upon request, the various government agencies and other organisations outside the Earth and space sciences. Since its founding less than 0.1% of all AGU members have been selected to become new Fellows.

Prof. van Dam is an internationally acclaimed geophysicist, and this latest achievement is a recognition of the decades of work she has spent advancing her field. Her 2001 paper titled ‘Crustal displacements due to continental water loading’ is considered a touchstone reference in the field of geodesy, the mathematical study used to measure and understand the Earth’s shape and orientation.

More recently her work has focused on measuring the shrinkage of ice mass in Greenland, representing a significant contribution to the study of climate change. Throughout her scientific career Prof van Dam has achieved ground-breaking results that have defined the way researchers execute geodesy research projects focused on the interactions between the Earth’s fluid envelope and solid Earth. 

This latest accolade from the AGU yesterday follows other significant honours. Only last year the European Geosciences Union awarded Prof. van Dam the prestigious Vening Meinesz Medal. During her career she has also served as a leader in numerous professional and academic associations, including at the AGU, where she served as the Geodesy Section Secretary, as well as at the European Geophysical Society, where she served as the President of Geodesy Section.

Becoming an AGU Fellow acknowledges Prof. van Dam’s dedication and contribution to her field and the advances she has achieved through her constant commitment to discovery and innovation. 

“As a long-standing member of the AGU, becoming a Fellow is a tremendous honour for me,” said Prof. van Dam. “I am humbled that my peers consider my research, the response of the Earth to environmental changes, so highly.”