PhD student selected to meet Nobel Laureates

5 April 2012

Grace Shephard was the only scientist from NSW selected for this meeting.
Grace Shephard was the only scientist from NSW selected for this meeting.

Grace Shephard, a PhD student in the School of Geosciences, will join early career research scientists from around the world for a special event featuring 25 Nobel Laureates.

After being selected from a highly competitive field of international applicants Grace will attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany, which this year will focus on physics.

In total, seven Australian young scientists were chosen to attend the meetings, with Grace the only scientist selected from NSW.

Professor Brian Schmidt, the Australian astronomer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011, will present the first lecture.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been run every year since 1951, and bring scientists under the age of 35 together with Nobel Laureates to exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks.

Grace was selected along with 550 young scientists from around the world from over 20,000 nominations made by more than 60 countries. The top 550 scientists were chosen for their scientific achievements, research records and merits.

"I feel very fortunate to have been selected," said Grace. "Falling in the last year of my PhD this meeting will provide a unique and enriching platform to exchange ideas with fellow students and academics, both in my field of geophysics and in the wider scientific disciplines."

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings rotate through the three science disciplines rewarded by the Nobel Prizes: physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry. Every five years, the meetings take on all three disciplines in the one tri-disciplinary meeting.

"The 2012 meeting theme is physics, and my research in geophysics requires an understanding of physical processes including mantle rheology, viscosity and mineral phase transitions. I am modelling both surface and deep Earth processes over millions of years, including mantle convection, plate tectonics and surface uplift and subsidence," explained Grace.

"This global-scale research uses physics to model long-wavelength dynamic topography signals."

In the third year of her PhD supervised by Professor Dietmar Müller, within the University of Sydney's EarthByte Group, Grace was nominated by Professor Müller for the honour.

In addition to her PhD, Grace also completed her Bachelor of Advanced Science with first class honours in geophysics at the University of Sydney and won the University Medal for her honours research.

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