Tipping Points in the Earth System: Potsdam Young Scientist Award for Nico Wunderling

11/25/2022 - Nico Wunderling was awarded the Young Scientist Prize of the state capital Potsdam for his research on tipping points in the Earth system. Mayor Mike Schubert awarded the post-doctoral researcher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) the prize based on his scientifically and socially relevant work. Wunderling's work on "Nonlinear dynamics and interactions of tipping elements in the Earth system" addresses some of the particularly consequential impacts of human-induced global warming. His findings have been picked up by media around the world - including Guardian, Spiegel and Zeit. Nico Wunderling completed his PhD at the University of Potsdam and at PIK with a position in an international doctoral program and a doctoral fellowship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.
Tipping Points in the Earth System: Potsdam Young Scientist Award for Nico Wunderling
Mayor of the state capital Potsdam Mike Schubert (right) presents Nico Wunderling of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research with the 2022 Young Scientist Award. Photo: Hendrik Hartung/LHP

"There is no vaccine against climate change. You can't call a truce with climate change. It is therefore very fitting that once again a paper from the field of current climate impact research has been selected, which represents Potsdam as a science location and which illustrates the excellent and globally recognized research work carried out at Telegrafenberg," said Mayor Mike Schubert at the award ceremony in Babelsberg City Hall. The event was attended by award winner Nico Wunderling, Jonathan Donges and Stefan Rahmstorf from PIK, as well as jury member Ralf Engbert from the University of Potsdam.

His articles on tipping elements - parts of the Earth system, such as the ice masses of West Antarctica, which lose their stability after a certain global warming - are primarily concerned with the risk of feedback processes, whereby the crossing of a tipping point could trigger further tipping processes in a kind of domino effect. His doctoral thesis was awarded the top grade "summa cum laude."

"The Potsdam Young Scientists Award has a special significance for me as a researcher who has been closely associated with the Potsdam science region since his doctorate," explained Nico Wunderling. "The award contributes significantly to advancing the visibility of my research field and can thus ultimately also be decisive for the success of future research proposals. Overall, the award represents an important motivation for me to want to gain a permanent perspective in science." (mr)