Yonggang Yu and Nicholas J. Austin have been awarded the Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award, given annually to one or more promising young scientists for outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research. Recipients of this award are engaged in experimental and/or theoretical studies of Earth and planetary materials with the purpose of unraveling the physics and chemistry that govern their origin and physical properties. Yu’s thesis is entitled “Structure properties and phase transitions in earth minerals: A first principles study.” Austin’s thesis is entitled “Grain size evolution and strain localization in deformed marbles.” They were both formally presented with the award at the Mineral and Rock Physics focus group reception during the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.
Yu received his B.S. in physics from Tsinghua University in 2002, an M.S. in physics from University of Florida in 2004, and a Ph.D in high-pressure mineral physics under the supervision of Renata Wentzcovitch at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His research interests include phase transitions in minerals.
Austin received a B.S. in geology from University of British Columbia in 2001 and an M.S. in rock mechanics/structural geology from University of British Columbia in 2003. He completed a Ph.D. in rock mechanics/structural geology under the supervision of Brian Evans at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass., in 2008 and is currently working on shale gas at Imperial Oil in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His research focuses on understanding the mechanical behavior of the crust and mantle, based on both laboratory and field observations.