12:00 AM

Ohio State Researchers Win Important Global Prize

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and climatologist Ellen Mosley-Thompson are among this year’s winners of the prestigious Dan David Prize.

This year’s other winners include former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, British playwright Tom Stoppard, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, Israeli author Amos Oz and British geologist Geoffrey Eglinton.

Each year, the Dan David Prize each year awards $1 million to winners in each of three categories, or “time dimensions” – past, present and future.  Oz, Stoppard and Egoyan were selected in the “past” category, while Gore won for the “present” category.  Thompson and Mosley-Thompson will share the $1 million award with Eglinton for the “future”.

Read the Dan David Prize information citing the OSU researchers' accomplishments.

“Being selected to receive this exceptional international prize is an honor that is deeply humbling,” explained Lonnie Thompson, University Professor of Earth Sciences.

“It acknowledges the vitally important role that glacial records can play in our efforts to understand the dramatic climatic and environmental changes occurring around the world.”

“A recognition of this magnitude actually honors the long-term efforts by our entire team of researchers and students at Ohio State.  We’ve all devoted decades to deciphering the clues recovered from ice cores retrieved across the globe,” said Mosley-Thompson, a professor of geography.

“This is truly a reflection of the progress that can be made through a steady, sustained scientific approach to improving understanding and hopefully addressing the serious challenges that lie ahead.”

For nearly three decades, Thompson and Mosley-Thompson have directed an effort to better understand the planet’s climate system, seeking clues preserved deep within massive bodies of ice scattered around the globe.  The analyses of these ice cores have painted a vivid picture of the climate of past ages, in some cases, dating back into the last ice age.

Their work has produced some of the most detailed and comprehensive records of how climates change over many centuries and across the Earth.  That information is vital for efforts to accurately forecast how the world’s climate may change in the future.

Between them, the two scientists from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State have authored more than 200 academic papers published in some of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.  They have led well over 60 expeditions to some the harshest and most remote sites on five continents.

“These two researchers set the highest standard for all of us and are exceptional role models for both their colleagues and all of our students.  They make us extremely proud,” said E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State. 

The Dan David Prize is supported by an endowment from the Dan David Foundation and is administered through Tel Aviv University.  The awards will be presented during ceremonies May 19, 2008 at Tel Aviv University.  Israeli President Shimon Peres is expected to participate.

Previous winners of the award include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conductor Zubin Mehta and climate scientist James Hansen.

One provision of the Dan David award allows its winners to designate 10 percent of their monetary award to support graduate students in their field of study.


Contact:  Lonnie Thompson, (614) 292-6652; Thompson.3@osu.edu or Ellen Mosley-Thompson, (614) 292-6662; Thompson.4@osu.edu. Written by Earle Holland, (614) 292-8384; Holland.8@osu.edu.