Thorsten W. Becker
The 2023 Augustus Love Medal is awarded to Thorsten W. Becker for outstanding research contributions in regional and global geodynamics, seismology, tectonics, and earthquake source processes, and for scientific leadership and selfless service.
With his outstanding contributions to various areas of geodynamics, his significant scientific leadership and unselfish service, Thorsten Becker exemplifies the high standards and values expected of Augustus Love Medal winners, and therefore thoroughly deserves this prestigious award. Becker has worked very broadly on, and made significant contributions to, many important geodynamic questions. He is one of the most diverse, productive and influential geodynamicists in the world. His research covers both regional and global geodynamics, seismology, tectonics, and earthquake source processes. He has published more than 156 well-cited papers. His studies are often data- and observation-driven, but they also contain great physical insights. He has developed innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to integrate different observations. This has made him a highly unique and special geodynamicist. Several of his works are truly transformative and have had major impacts on our views of some of the most important geodynamical processes. Becker was among the first geophysicists to combine observations of seismic anisotropy and seismic structure to constrain mantle flow using convection models. He combined seismic inversion together with state-of-art mantle flow modeling and revealed important insights on dynamic processes in the Earth’s mantle and lithosphere. Becker has also made extremely important contributions on the physics of subduction. He was among the first to apply simple scaling arguments to illustrate the role of Stokes’ flow and plate bending in the subduction process. His studies incorporate local observations of tectonic deformation and magmatism into models, setting a standard for this type of regional geodynamic study. There are many other impactful studies, including reconciling seismic anisotropy from S-wave splitting and surface wave studies, understanding the effects of lateral variations in viscosity on the geoid, and formulating an averaged global S-wave anomaly model. Becker is highly collaborative. This reflects his ever curious, unselfish, and collaborative work spirit, a spirit that has also driven him to be a leader in our scientific community. He has provided important services to our community, including co-organizing a large number of workshops, being chief editor for Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems for many years, being extremely generous in sharing his computing codes and his expertise, and recently assuming leadership in the Subduction 4D initiative.
In summary, for all these reasons, Thorsten Becker is most deserving of an EGU Augustus Love medal.