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Thomas Stocker Climate researcher awarded top Swiss science prize

Stocker was praised for his contribution to understanding climate change


Environmental researcher Thomas Stocker has been awarded this year’s Marcel Benoist prize for his groundbreaking work on establishing the consequences of climate change. The so-called ‘Swiss Nobel Prize’ is Switzerland’s most esteemed recognition for scientific achievement.

Stocker, a professor at the University of Bern, began his research into climatology in the late 1980s. His teams have drilled ice in Greenland and Antarctica to determine to determine greenhouse gas concentrations dating back 800,000 years.

Using theoretical modelling techniques, he discovered that there is a close connection between changes in ocean currents and climate. 

“His research findings are of great importance to human life, and address one of the main challenges facing today’s society,” stated a government media release. Stocker has also been recognised for passing on his knowledge to a large number of students since he became head of the Climate and Environmental Physics Division of the Physics Institute of the University of Bern in 1993.

Between 2008 to 2015, he was also co-chair of Working Group I of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report drafted under his chairmanship formed the scientific basis for the Paris Climate Agreement.

The author or co-author of more than 200 academic articles became the first Benoist Prize winner to be awarded CHF250,000 in recognition of his efforts.

The Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize has been awarded every year since 1920 to scientists based in Switzerland whose work has had a beneficial impact on society. Ten prize winners have subsequently been awarded the Nobel Prize. 

The prize jury consists both Federal Institutes of Technology and ten Swiss universities who were appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Marcel Benoist Foundation. The eponymous foundation was set up by the will of a French lawyer who found refuge in Lausanne during World War I and died in 1918.

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