The 2017 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to Peter Smith for his contribution to understanding the role of the soil system in the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles with special attention to carbon emissions and sequestration under the threat of climate change.
Peter Smith’s contribution to science is definitive and aims to quantify the key role the soil system plays in the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. His outstanding research on carbon emissions and sequestration by soils, and the importance of agricultural management, shed light on a key issue in our understanding of climate change. Smith’s research is key to understanding soil carbon dynamics and the interaction between the soil and the atmosphere, and we highlight his groundbreaking research on the effects of soil management on greenhouse gas fluxes. Smith combines the highest scientific achievements with a very strong commitment to society, as his service to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows. Smith, moreover, is a very approachable scientist and he serves as a true example for the next generation of scientists. He demonstrates scientific excellence, devotion to society and openness in scientific discussion, which collectively characterise a truly great scientist. In addition, his research is relevant to achieve a sustainable agriculture. For these reason, Peter Smith is a worth recipient of the Philippe Duchaufour Medal.