Steven ChownAn outstanding researcher and world renowned advisor to the Antarctic Treaty System, Professor Steven Chown of Stellenbosch University, South Africa, has been named the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica.  Professor Chown is a widely published and cited authority on invasive species and the effect of climate change and human interactions on Antarctica. The Selection Committee of leading Antarctic scientists and policy makers cited his outstanding contributions to both science and policy in Antarctica. Professor Chown plays a critical role in Antarctic policy by leading the delegation of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) at the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs). His advice and leadership has been pivotal in advising policy makers in a wide range of environmental stewardship issues before the ATCM’s Committee on Environmental Protection

Helen FrickerAn outstanding glaciologist, Associate Prof. Helen Fricker from Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California-San Diego, has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica. Professor Fricker is widely recognized for her discovery of active subglacial lakes, and she has shown that these lakes form dynamic hydrologic systems, where one lake can drain into another in a short period of time. She is also known for her innovative research into Antarctic ice shelf mass budget processes such as iceberg calving and basal melting and freezing. The Selection Committee of leading Antarctic scientists and policy makers cited her leadership in the application of remote sensing techniques, using laser altimetry to detect current changes in the Antarctic ice sheet in response to rising sea level and climate variability, and her individual activities promoting educational outreach about ice sheets of Antarctica.

Professor Fricker will be awarded the Prize and deliver the Muse Lecture at the American Geophysical Union meeting to be held in San Francisco in December 2010.

Jose XavierDr. José Xavier, from the Institute of Marine Research of the University of Coimbra in Portugal and the British Antarctic Survey in the UK, has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica. Beginning with his doctoral research (PhD. Cambridge University, 2003), Dr. Xavier has conducted outstanding research on the predator-prey dynamics that sustain populations of albatrosses, penguins and other top predators in the Southern Ocean. One example of his leadership in this field is his recent publication of a comprehensive monograph on the prey of top predators that will be a great aid to many researchers. The Selection Committee of leading Antarctic scientists and policy makers also cited his leadership in the establishment of a new and thriving Antarctic research programme in Portugal during the International Polar Year (IPY, 2007-2008) and in launching a highly successful educational programme, LATITUDE 60! during the IPY.

The award ceremony will be held at the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Aberdeen (26 - 30 Sept, 2011).

Steve RintoulDr Stephen Rintoul, a physical oceanographer from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart, Australia, has been awarded the prestigious 2012 Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica for his outstanding research on the Southern Ocean. Dr Rintoul is also affiliated with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and with the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.

The Muse Prize is awarded to an individual in the fields of Antarctic science or policy who has demonstrated potential for sustained and significant contributions that will enhance the understanding and/or preservation of Antarctica.

Dr Rintoul's research has made a profound contribution to our scientific understanding of the Southern Ocean and of Antarctica’s role in the global system. His work has provided new understanding of the structure, dynamics and variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the largest ocean current on Earth. He has also shown how the Southern Ocean circulation links the shallow and deep layers of the ocean to form a global network of ocean currents that strongly influences climate patterns. His research has provided new insights into the nature, causes and consequences of Southern Ocean change. Dr Rintoul’s leadership has been critical to advancing coordinated international investigation of the Southern Ocean and to promoting long term Southern Ocean observing systems. A recent interview with Dr Rintoul about his research showing continuing deep ocean change Southern Ocean can be seen here.

Dr Rintoul will be awarded the Prize and will deliver the Muse Prize Lecture at the SCAR Open Science Conference in Portland, Oregon in July 2012.

Martin SiegertProfessor Martin Siegert of the University of Bristol has been awarded the 2013 Muse Prize for his innovative research on Antarctic subglacial lakes and the reconstruction of Antarctic glacial history. His research in this field is multidisciplinary and collaborative, and has received significant world-wide attention, which Prof Siegert has cultivated to promote public awareness of Antarctic earth and environmental sciences. He has maintained a successful and diverse research programme, involving multiple multidisciplinary international collaborations. His work has supported the development of early-career scientists (e.g. his airborne geophysics research, and his convening of major international meetings), international collaborations (e.g. the ICECAP and subglacial lakes activities) and the public understanding of science (through outreach work on subglacial lakes, and in international symposia). Full press release available here.

The prize will be awarded at the Cryosphere Reception, 2013 Fall AGU, San Francisco. We hope you will be able to join us there!