The 2018 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists is awarded to Zhonghua Yao for his crucial role in the identification of processes leading to the transfer and dissipation of energy in solar system planets, and for emphasising the importance of comparative planetary sciences.
Zhonghua Yao made significant scientific breakthroughs in understanding the key issues in the dissipation of planetary magnetospheric energy at Earth, Saturn and Jupiter and compared the development of associated large-scale current systems in these planetary magnetospheres. He has contributed 42 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, with most publications concerning magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling dynamics at Earth, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. He has very clear scientific thinking and strategy, which helped him win a competitive Marie-Curie COFUND fellowship to work on Jupiter’s aurora at the Laboratory for Planetary and Atmospheric Physics of the Université de Liège. He has a unique perspective in understanding planetary-energy dissipation because of his Earth research experience and his solid background of plasma physics.
Despite his very early career, Yao has already developed a strong reputation in the international space science community. He has been invited to present his research work at four international conferences, convened four sessions for international conferences, with two as the lead convener for the EGU General Assembly and Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) Annual Meeting. He is also a lead guest editor for Geoscience Letters, the official AOGS journal and rapidly developed a strong international leadership shortly after his PhD. His achievements collectively make Zhonghua Yao an extremely well qualified recipient of the Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists.