The 2017 Sergey Soloviev Medal is awarded to Augusto Neri for his pioneering research in fluid dynamics that revolutionised our understanding of eruption processes, and for his generous insights and efforts worldwide to mitigate pyroclastic flow and ashfall/gas hazards.
Augusto Neri is the world leader in the fluid dynamics modelling of hazardous explosive eruptions and pyroclastic flows. His research has substantially raised the state-of-art of numerical modelling of atmospheric ash dispersal, pyroclastic current dynamics, explosive eruption physics, magma ascent and lava flowage. The magnificent numerical codes developed over a decade by Neri and his team at INGV in Pisa almost uniquely enable multi-particle dynamics of volcanic eruptions, with complex time-dependence over complex topography, to be properly explored. This is a true revolution in clarifying explosive eruption dynamics. Many of the most important advances in volcanology, and in the coming years, will have resulted from his multiphase computational fluid dynamics innovations. Neri is instrumental in translating this enhanced understanding of physical volcanology into practical knowledge invaluable to the mitigation of volcanic hazards. His work at Vesuvius on pyroclastic flow dynamics defined the evacuation Red Zone in the emergency plan. He combines numerical models of volcanic hazards with human and infrastructure vulnerability, and decision analysis, that yielded a new global standard for crisis decision-support. No other research group worldwide could have done this work. His tools were employed at Etna (1991-present), Stromboli (2002-3), Redoubt (2009), Merapi (2010), Eyjafjallajökull (2010), Grimsvotn (2011) and Santorini (2012) to produce ash/gas-forecast maps and mitigate aviation risk. At Campi Flegrei, Montserrat and Guadaloupe, his analyses were used to define lethal blast and pyroclastic flows that supported government decisions on risk mitigation. Neri is the pioneer in computational fluid dynamics of explosive eruptions, and led the paradigm-shift in understanding eruption dynamics and pyroclastic flow impacts. His impressive research achievements has led him to extend his expertise to mitigate major volcanic hazards.