Susan L. S. Stipp
The 2023 Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Medal is awarded to Susan L. S. Stipp in recognition of her fundamental research and unique applications of nano-geochemistry and mineralogy.
Susan Stipp has made outstanding research contributions to the geosciences and provided strong support to the wider geochemical community. She is a world-leading researcher in nano-geochemistry and mineralogy. Her signature accomplishment has been the development of a detailed understanding of the effects of adsorbed organic materials on the surface properties and reactivity of minerals, particularly calcite. Her work relates thermodynamic and kinetic modeling to detailed experimental observations, often based on novel and forefront analytical methods, with important implications for industrial and technical applications.
Her long-term research has produced an adsorption model for the behaviour of organic compounds on calcite surfaces. This used a combination of theory and experiment to explore how common functional groups interact with calcite surfaces. The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 and consequent disruption of European air travel gave her the opportunity to apply her expertise in a completely new direction. Using the nanotechniques she had designed for studying natural materials, she explored the nature of the volcanic ash to determine if fears about health and safety were justified and developed a protocol to assess risks for a future event.
Her research approach mirrors her multi-disciplinary studies. She established and directed several laboratory groups tackling molecular-level problems. In her first academic position, she set up the first atomic force microscope at the University of Geneva. She built a similar facility Lausanne, and again at the University of Copenhagen, where she established the NanoGeoScience Research Section, attracting scientists from across the scientific fields, focusing their unique perspectives on fundamental understanding of mineral-fluid interaction.
Susan has provided important service to the geochemical community as Founding and Principal Editor for the journals Geochemical Perspectives and Geochemical Perspectives Letters. She has served as the Principal Editor of Elements and Associate Editor of Geomicrobiology and American Mineralogist. She has also contributed to professional societies as Director for the European Association for Geochemistry and as a Member of the Awards Selection Committee for the Geochemical Society.
Susan Stipp is an innovative interdisciplinary scientist who has given much to the field of mineralogy. She is an exemplar of the Bunsen Medal qualities of excellence, rigour and collegiality, and is therefore recognised as the recipient of the 2023 Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Medal.