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Press Release No. 34 | 9 September 2013
DFG Recognises Early Career Geoscientists

Bernd Rendel Prizes 2013 for Original Predoctoral Research

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the winners of the 2013 Bernd Rendel Prize, which honours early career researchers who have made important and original contributions to basic geosciences research prior to obtaining their doctorates. Each of the four winners will receive 500 euros for research purposes. The prizes, which will be awarded for the twelfth time this year, are funded by proceeds from the Bernd Rendel Foundation managed by the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany.

The prize recipients were selected by the geosciences expert forum from twenty nominations and personal applications received. The award allows the winners to attend scientific meetings and conferences. The prizes will be awarded on 16 September 2013 in Tübingen during the joint annual meeting of the German Mineralogical Society and the German Geological Society.

The 2013 prizewinners are:

Matthias Alberti (30), Institute of Geosciences, University of Kiel

Matthias Alberti's special research focus is on sedimentary rocks from the Kachchh Basin in western India. In his work, Alberti explores the region's geological and climatic development by reference to strata in the Middle and Upper Jurassic boundary. He also establishes seasonal fluctuations in water temperatures in the Kachchh Basin. In particular, the marine temperature profiles he has reconstructed have a significance that extends far beyond their regional relevance: they suggest that there was no cooling in the studied period. Until now there has been heated debate among researchers as to whether there had been continental ice cover at that time. Alberti is currently involved in a research project to study the deeper shelf deposits at the northern margin of the Indian craton.

Mathis Bloßfeld (28), German Geodetic Research Institute Munich

Satellite geodesy, that is the measurement and mapping of the Earth's surface with the aid of satellites, is Mathis Bloßfeld's area of research. One of his main topics is the Earth's oscillations, a subject that the young geoscientist studied between 2009 and 2012 as a member of the DFG Research Unit "Earth Rotation and Global Dynamic Processes". Another major area of interest is Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), which, due to its sensitivity, is already instrumental for both the geometric and physical parameters of geodetic reference systems and which is likely to gain further importance in the context of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS).

Yannick Bussweiler (27), Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Using geochemical methods, Yannick Bussweiler analyses how diamonds are formed. His particular interest lies in the carrier rock kimberlite. By means of a laser application which he optimised, the early career researcher analyses the geochemistry of the melt compositions of kimberlites and the minerals that occur there, known as olivines. The most important result: a far greater proportion of the olivines derives from the primary melt than was previously assumed. With more than 50 percent carbonate minerals, the melt composition tends towards carbonatite. Bussweiler's discovery makes an important contribution to a highly topical area of research within petrology.

Laura Klüpfel (27), Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics (IBP), ETH Zurich

Laura Klüpfel conducts research in the area of biogeochemistry and environmental chemistry. She is currently analysing the redox properties of various environmental phases and their importance in biogeochemical cycles. The young researcher concentrates on observing organic solid phases, which have previously received inadequate attention due to their complexity and the lack of suitable analytical methods. Klüpfel's research shows that under anoxic, i.e. oxygen-free, conditions, natural organic substances from soils, sediments and bogs absorb electrons from anaerobic microbial respiration and give off oxygen when subsequently re-aerated. Moreover, Klüpfel has been able to show for the first time that this electron transfer process is reversible. This has far-reaching implications for carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions from temporarily anoxic bogs and lakes.

Further Information

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For more information about the Bernd Rendel Prize, please visit