European Union of Geosciences

Outstanding Young Scientists Award

Yani Najman

For her contributions to Himalayan tectonics.

Since the start of her PhD in 1986 at the University of Edinburgh, UK, Yani Najman has focussed on the early evolution of the Himalayan foreland basin. For her DH fellowship she broadened the scope of this work into the field of mountain belt uplift and global climate change. Whilst not directly involved in the "hands-on" analytical side of Ar-Ar geochronology herself, she has, in collaboration with Malcolm Pringle at East Kilbride, pioneered the dating of detrital muscovite in foreland basin sediments. Much of her research has generic applications to other orogenic belts.

Since completing her PhD thesis in 1995 Yani Najman has published 7 papers in high ISI impact factor peer reviewed journals (including one Nature paper in 2001), on 5 of which she is first author. There are a further 6 manuscripts in review. A further two papers (Najman et al., 1993 & 1994) were published while she was still a PhD student.

Since 1990, Yani Najman has successfully written her own research proposals to fund both her PhD and post-doctoral research and that of two PhD students who have worked under her supervision. This is an impressive track record, recognised in 1998 when she was presented to HM Queen Elizabeth II as one of Britain's "young achievers in science".

Yani is an extremely determined young woman who has already established a considerable reputation for herself in the field of Himalayan tectonics. In 1999, 2001 and 2002 she chaired sessions at the annual International Himalayan-Tibet-Karakorum Conference.

Based upon her research record, Yani has recently been appointed to a lectureship in Environmental Sciences at the University of Lancaster (from 2003).


Artem Oganov

For important contributions on computational material science studies of the deep mantle.

Although very young, A. Oganov has already made decisive contributions in the field of computational mineral physics. He has provided original data about polymorphism and phase changes of the important crustal compound Al2SiO5. Moreover, he has computed, for the first time, elastic properties of silicate perovskite at high pressure and high temperature. The results, especially the latter ones, are of great importance for modelling the deep planetary interiors and for retrieving Earth composition from geophysical data. An important additional point is that A. Oganov has personal and deep thoughts about the meaning of research in modern mineralogy. His phenomenological processing of the effect of internal degrees of freedom on equations of state of complex solids is of great interest and is a good example of this intellectual level.

A. Oganov has convincingly demonstrated that Al2SiO5 will not form a separate phase in the lower mantle of the Earth. This is important since this putative phase, proposed by previous authors, would have been the major aluminium carrier in the deep Earth. Predictions by A. Oganov of new metastable phases in this system will provide an exciting challenge for further experimental studies. His work on MgSiO3 silicate perovskite represents the most impressive research achievement of the last five years in the field of computational science of deep Earth materials. For the first time, elastic constants of a material have been convincingly and rigorously computed from first principles at high pressure and high temperature. This opens new possibilities for translating seismological tomographic images of the deep Earth into temperature variations.