For his Master’s thesis, titled “Point of No Return and Optimal Transitions in CMIP5”, Matthias Aengenheyster wins this year’s Graduate School of Natural Sciences (GSNS) thesis award. Isabel Arends, Dean of the Faculty of Science, awarded the prize today during the GSNS Master’s introduction. Aengenheyster wrote the thesis for his Master’s in Climate Physics. The other nominees were Sophie Huiberts (Mathematical Sciences) and Bobby Vos (History & Philosophy of Science and Mathematical Sciences).
The jury, consisting of Hans Gerritsen (chair), Frank de Groot, Carleen Tijm-Reijmer, Deb Panja, Frank Wegener and Yuri Kuznetsov, selected the best thesis based on both scientific quality and originality.
In his thesis, Aengenheyster determined the point of no return in climate change. He used Linear Response Theory on data from a state-of-the-art global climate model output (the CMIP5 archive) to develop a stochastic climate-carbon model. He linked fossil fuel emissions to the global mean surface temperature, which the jury praised as “one of his brilliant ideas”. Aengenheyster was lead author of a recently published paper on the climate-carbon model in the journal Earth System Dynamics. The director of education of Climate Science called Aengenheyster “clearly one of the best students we have had over the last decade.” Besides the quality, brilliance and depth of the work, the jury was also very pleased that the thesis was written in a very clear style. Aengenheyster received PhD offers from MIT and Oxford, and chose Oxford to continue his career.