The 2019 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Benedikt Soja for original research and contributions to the fields of very long baseline interferometry and terrestrial reference frames.
Since November 2016, Benedikt Soja has been working as Postdoctoral Researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he is making substantial contributions to the improvement of the Kalman filter implementations used to determine the JPL Terrestrial Reference Frame. His great experience in Kalman filtering is not restricted to applications for terrestrial reference frames, but also covers other geodetic parameters, ranging from stochastic quantities like clocks and troposphere delays to Earth orientation parameters and positions of extragalactic radio sources. These developments have been implemented in the routine VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) processing at the Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam, Germany, where he was hired from May 2013 until his move to JPL. The starting point of his scientific career, however, was the development of a novel method to use geodetic very long baseline interferometry observations to obtain information about the Sun’s atmosphere. With this idea, he caught the attention of the scientific community already at the age of 25. In addition to publications in high-impact journals, numerous awards are a testimony of Benedikt Soja’s scientific excellence. For example, he received the Bernd Rendel prize awarded by the German Research Foundation to researchers out of the very broad field of geosciences. He is a worthy winner of the G Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award.