4 June 2018

Oliver Plümper wins Goldschmidt prize for his research in fluid-rock interaction

Dr Oliver Plümper has been awarded the 2018 Victor-Moritz-Goldschmidt prize from the German Mineralogical Society for his work on fluid-rock interaction and the deep water cycle. The geologist based at Utrecht University has won the prize for his ground-breaking research conducted over the last five years.

Oliver’s novel, multi-disciplinary approach combines natural observations, experiments, theory and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to probe nanoscale reactions and their impact for large-scale geological processes. His ambition is to build a bottom-up understanding of reactive fluid-rock/mineral interaction focusing on crystalline rocks to not only better understand geological processes but also to aid technological innovations , e.g., in the field of carbon sequestration, nuclear waste disposal and sustainable energy resources.

Oliver Plümper
Oliver Plümper on board the JOIDES Resolution research vessel during a trip to the Southwest Indian Ridge (IODP 360) to investigate the deep water and carbon cycle within the oceanic lithosphere. Photo by William Crawford.

An idol

 “I am very honoured to receive this internationally renowned prize from the German Mineralogical Union”, says Plümper proudly. “The scientist it was named after, Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, has always been an idol of me, who tried to understand chemical and physical processes controlling rocks and minerals. The prize motivates me to make new discoveries in the field of mineralogy and geochemistry.”


Plümper emphasizes the facilities he was able to use: ”A great thanks goes to the extraordinary research infrastructure at Utrecht University. Some of my recent discoveries would have not been possible without the facilities in, for example, the Electron Microscopy Square.”


Dr. Oliver Plümper obtained his PhD at the Center for Physics of Geological Processes at the University of Oslo, Norway in 2012. He was appointed as an assistant professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, shortly after, where he was awarded the prestigious NWO Veni grant and authored two first-author Nature Geoscience papers in a single year. Oliver’s research has also gained considerable attention in Dutch-speaking media (Volkskrant, Elsevier), English-speaking media (e.g., National Geographic) and German-speaking media (der Spiegel, GEOlino children’s science magazine).

Victor-Moritz-Goldschmidt Prize

Oliver Plümper will be awarded the Victor-Moritz-Goldschmidt-Prize at the joint mineralogical and geological German conference GeoBonn in September. Victor M. Goldschmidt’s (1888-1947) scientific work is regarded as marking the birth of geochemistry, the science that describes the distribution of chemical elements in nature.