The American Geophysical Union has awarded University of Amsterdam (UvA) researcher Jasper Vrugt the prestigious James B. Macelwane Medal, a prize for scientists under 36 years old who have made significant contributions to the geophysical sciences. Vrugt won the prize for his pioneering research in the field of Bayesian statistics, optimisation problems and evolutionary strategies.
Vrugt has developed new algorithms in order to analyse the discrepancy between simulation models and actual observations, in order to gain new insights which can improve prevailing theories. Vrugt applies these methods to different scientific disciplines, in particular hydrology, ecology, and geophysics.
Previous awards for VrugtVrugt, who is affiliated with the UvA's Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), won the 2010 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the European Geophysical Union earlier this year. He received this award for his "outstanding" work on models that contribute to hydrological predictions. In 2007, Vrugt also received the Dutch Hydrology Prize 2004 - 2006 for a scientific article in the field of physico-mathematical hydrology. The Soil Science Society of America awarded Vrugt the S-1 Early Career Award in 2007 for his work in soil physics. He was also named one of the Elsevier Top 50 Most Talented Young People from the Netherlands in 2009
Vrugt graduated cum laude from the University of Amsterdam in 2004 for his dissertation Towards improved treatment or parameter uncertainty in hydro logic modeling. He now works for the University of California, Irvine, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico), and at the UvA as a guest staff member in the research group at IBED-Computational GeoEcologie headed by Professor Willem Bouten. Together they are working on further developing methods of inverse modeling, combining information from simulation models and actual observations, and implementing these observations in an e-Science research environment.