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David Gubbins

David Gubbins
David Gubbins

The 2007 Augustus Love Medal is awarded to David Gubbins for his seminal contributions to our understanding of deep Earth processes and dynamics, with particular emphasis on the physics of the Earth’s core and magnetic field generation.

Professor David Gubbins’ research is distinguished by enormous breadth, encompassing many areas of geomagnetism, seismology and theoretical geophysics. Over the last four decades, he and his students have made a series of seminal contributions to our understanding of deep Earth processes and dynamics, with particular emphasis on the Earth’s core and magnetic field.

David Gubbins began his scientific research career as a graduate student at Cambridge, working with Teddy Bullard on problems related to kinematic dynamos – an area of study he has returned to throughout his career. Similarly, he has continuously added to his early influential work, with Guy Masters and Jack Jacobs, on the thermodynamics of core convection and magnetic field generation, most recently with research examining the influence of core stratification and chemical heterogeneity on the evolution of the geodynamo. Another major area of interest has involved observational aspects of geomagnetism, and in particular the formal inversion of data sets to determine the time variation of the magnetic field at the core-mantle-boundary. This work, first developed in collaboration with Kathy Whaler, and later Jeremy Bloxham, has motivated a remarkable effort to connect the morphology of the inferred field to core dynamics and coupling processes between the core and mantle. The latter has served as one pillar of a long-standing collaboration between David Gubbins and Keke Zhang.

Professor Gubbins’ intellectual leadership has been manifest not only in these research highlights and in the mentoring of young graduate students, many of whom have continued on to distinguished academic careers, but also in his service to the broader community. This has included, most notably, his role as Chair of SEDI.