Ylona van Dinther, 2018 Jason Morgan Early Career Award recipient
Ylona van Dinther

Ylona van Dinther is one of the few people in her generation who has pushed the research community into “big challenges” directions. She has distinguished herself by conducting groundbreaking research in quantitative tectonophysics.

Ylona developed and applied a new numerical modeling approach, the seismo–thermo–mechanical (STM) technique, which enables innovative cross-disciplinary research, bridging the gap between geodynamics and seismology. Ylona’s work is at the forefront of mechanical modeling linking geodynamic space–time scales of millions of years of slow and broadly distributed regional deformation with seismic space–time scales of rapid and localized rupture processes. Ylona applied the STM approach to subduction zone environments and presented her results in leading scientific journals.

Ylona stands out for her enthusiasm, breadth of knowledge, quantitative skills, and scientific vision, combined with exceptional efficiency in conducting research, participating in collaborative projects, and serving the community. She is also a great teacher and an excellent science communicator, who is able to explain complex scientific problems (and their solutions) in an effective and engaging manner.

It is worth mentioning that Ylona has been able to continue her productive scientific career while being a mother of two babies.

Ylona strongly deserves the Jason Morgan Award. We all look forward to seeing more scientific discoveries from her and will try to keep up with her progress.

—Jean-Philippe Avouac, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Francesca Funiciello, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre, Rome, Italy; Taras Gerya, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland; and Kelin Wang, Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, B. C.


I am deeply honored to receive the 2018 Jason Morgan Early Career Award and join the exquisite company of its previous recipients. My sincerest thanks go to Jean-Philippe Avouac, his fellow nomination writers, and the Tectonophysics section for this recognition. This represents the grand finale of an extraordinary year with the birth of my second son, an assistant professor position, graduating students, and various honorable plenary talks, while moving back home. Thanks to all colleagues, family, and friends who made that possible.

In particular, I would like to thank those who significantly influenced my career, which is founded on solid undergraduate studies I received at Utrecht University. At Roma Tre University, my mentor and friend Francesca Funiciello helped me to become the scientist I am today and lighted my wish to bridge from geodynamics into seismology. During my Ph.D., postdoctoral, and senior scientist years at ETH Zürich, I worked among great seismologists, which facilitated me to actually build that bridge. In particular, I remain forever grateful to my mentors at ETH Zürich, Taras Gerya and Andreas Fichtner, for their complementary examples and letting me define my own research, while supporting me, my group, and my family unconditionally. In addition, I have been fortunate to work with bright students who completed this bridge and applied it to demonstrate its power. Last but not least, this would not have been possible without the eternal support of my husband, Bram, and my parents and parents-in-law, who with love and dedication helped with the care for our sons, Bastiaan and Arthur.

From this basis onward, I hope to be able to facilitate the advancement of science and society, among others, by making new generations of students enthusiastic for an engaging journey discovering Earth, academics, and life.

—Ylona van Dinther, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland; and Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands


(2018), Van Dinther receives 2018 Jason Morgan Early Career Award, Eos, 99, Published on 28 November 2018.

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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