Capitanio Receives 2012 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Fabio Capitanio received the 2012 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early-career contributions in tectonophysics.


CapitanioFabio Capitanio is one of the brightest and most dedicated young scientists. His work combines geology, plate reconstruction, numerical models, and basic physics. He has developed a powerful description of the processes underlying plate tectonic motions that greatly enhances our view of the way Earth works. His recent work models convergent margins at high resolution in three dimensions, including deforming overriding plates, buoyancy variations in the slab, melt generation, and the effect of surface processes. These models are an order of magnitude more advanced than their immediate predecessors, are well resolved, and provoke new understanding of the distribution and evolution of forces in subduction systems. Fabio’s work draws out the simplicity inherent in a complicated system.

Fabio is naturally creative and expressive—he had a background in art and music before beginning his research career; this gives him the capacity to reach out and communicate his scientific ideas in a direct and easily understood fashion. His style is well received by students; Fabio is a popular and effective teacher in the undergraduate classes at Monash University.

He is an excellent and deserving choice for the Jason Morgan Early Career Award this year.

—LOUIS MORESI, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia


I am deeply grateful for the Jason Morgan Early Career Award. It is an honor to be considered for this prize and a privilege to be the 2012 recipient. Access to unprecedented technologies and knowledge makes this a thrilling time to be a scientist. At the same time, it has made it increasingly difficult for an early-career researcher to find a way to make an individual and original contribution. The support of the community becomes instrumental for early-career scientists, and awards such as this one are a clear expression of encouragement from distinguished members of our community.

My research interests lie at the intersection between geology and geodynamics. Most of my time was spent figuring out where exactly I was standing. As this award would suggest, it has been a worthwhile effort. Indeed, it has been a team effort, and I have to thank all the colleagues who contributed in different capacities to the shaping of my own research.

A special mention goes to my mentors and friends Claudio Faccenna, Saskia Goes, and Louis Moresi, whose advice and directions were invaluable for the development of my career. I am indebted also to many people for the fun they have infused in our time spent together because this is what makes work interesting and life enjoyable. In particular, guys like Gabriele Morra, Dave Stegman, and Manuele Faccenda have made the journey so far a pleasant one. Last, but not least, I thank the people who supported my nomination: Shijie Zhong, Thorsten Becker, and Dietmar Müller. Receiving the support of such great colleagues is already rewarding.

The Jason Morgan Early Career Award acknowledges previous work but raises the bar for the future. Luckily, the continuing support of these excellent people will make this new challenge achievable.

—FABIO A. CAPITANIO, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia