Innovative rethinking of climate models wins Reading mathematician national award
Release Date 03 July 2018
A University of Reading scientist who is seeking to revolutionise the way we make climate predictions and understand climate dynamics has been awarded an important prize for his research in mathematics.
Dr Valerio Lucarini, professor of Statistical Mechanics in the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences, and director of the Centre for the Mathematics of Planet Earth, was announced as a winner of a Whitehead Prize by the London Mathematical Society (LMS) on Friday. It recognises his work applying complex maths to climate science.
He was one of six winners of Whitehead Prizes, and 11 winners overall, announced by the LMS on Friday 29 June.
Dr Phil Newton, Research Dean for Environment at the University of Reading, said: “Professor Lucarini is at the forefront of collaborating across disciplines, undertaking and inspiring cutting-edge maths research to drive breakthroughs in environmental science. This is Mathematics of Planet Earth in action, and I am delighted that Valerio’s work has been recognised by this prize.”
Dr Lucarini’s research combines mathematics, statistical physics, dynamical systems and response theory to improve climate change models.
"Lucarini’s sustained and timely contributions are of great potential value to a topic of immense consequence" - LMS selection committee
One aspect of his work is predicting how increasing concentrations of CO₂ will affect global climate change. The mathematical approach he has developed, which reinterprets existing climate model outputs, has the potential to reduce computational costs associated with running new model simulations.
In a statement on Dr Lucarini winning the award, the LMS said: “Lucarini’s sustained and timely contributions are of great potential value to a topic of immense consequence. He has also demonstrated outstanding scientific leadership, playing a key role in the international program Mathematics of Planet Earth. His energy, charisma and the extraordinary fertility of his ideas have sparked many collaborations in this area.”
Film screening event
In November, Dr Lucarini will give a public presentation on his research using mathematics to better understand climate transitions at the Barbican Centre in London. He will explain how the film Melancholia by L. von Trier inspired him to study tipping points in the climate system in a mathematically rigorous and far-reaching way.
For more information, and to buy tickets to the Science on Screen event, visit https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2018/event/melancholia-15-presentation-by-valerio-lucarini