MAL17-ESSI | Ian McHarg Medal Lecture by François Robida and ESSI Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture by Anirudh Prabhu
Ian McHarg Medal Lecture by François Robida and ESSI Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture by Anirudh Prabhu
Convener: Jens Klump | Co-convener: Martina Stockhause
| Mon, 15 Apr, 19:00–20:00 (CEST)
Room K2
Mon, 19:00
The ESSI Medal and Awards session celebrates this year's awardees for the Ian McHarg Medal and the ESSI Division Outstanding ECS Award. The Ian McHarg Medal Lecture will be given by François Robida, and the ESSI Division Outstanding ECS Award Lecture will be given by Anirudh Prabhu.

Session assets

Orals: Mon, 15 Apr | Room K2

Chairpersons: Jens Klump, Martina Stockhause
ESSI Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award Lecture
On-site presentation
Anirudh Prabhu, Shaunna Morrison, Robert Hazen, Michael L. Wong, Grethe Hystad, Henderson J. Cleaves II, Ahmed Eleish, George Cody, Vasundhara Gatne, Jose P Chavez, Xiaogang Ma, and Peter Fox and the Mineral Informatics Team

Data Science and Informatics methods have been at the center of many recent scientific discoveries and have opened up new frontiers in many areas of scientific inquiry. In this talk, I will take you through some of the most recent and exciting discoveries we've made and how informatics methods planned a central role in these discoveries. 

First, we will look at our work on data-driven biosignature detection, specifically how we combine pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and machine learning to build an agnostic molecular biosignature detection model. 

Next, we will talk about how we used association analysis to predict the locations of as-yet-unknown mineral deposits on Earth and potentially Mars. These advances hold the potential to unlock new avenues of economic growth and sustainable development.

Finally, we will set our sights on exoplanets—celestial bodies orbiting distant stars. The discovery of thousands of exoplanets in recent years has fueled the quest to understand their formation, composition, and potential habitability. We develop informatics approaches to better understand, classify and predict the occurrence of exoplanets by embracing the complexity and multidimensionality of exoplanets and their host stars.

How to cite: Prabhu, A., Morrison, S., Hazen, R., Wong, M. L., Hystad, G., Cleaves II, H. J., Eleish, A., Cody, G., Gatne, V., Chavez, J. P., Ma, X., and Fox, P. and the Mineral Informatics Team: X-informatics at the center of scientific discovery: Detecting biosignatures, predicting mineral occurrences, and characterizing planetary kinds. , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-2658,, 2024.

Ian McHarg Medal Lecture
On-site presentation
Francois Robida

The earth sciences are first and foremost observational sciences, based on data collected on the planet over generations. It is from this data that interpretations, concepts and models are produced. The description of data by those who produced it and its conservation has always been a concern for scientists, to enable it to be reused and reproduced. This has been achieved by adopting common rules and standards, for example for indicating the geographical coordinates of an observation or the units of measurement used.

Today's scientific challenges, first and foremost the climate challenge, require the mobilisation of different scientific disciplines, often with different languages and practices.

The establishment of data infrastructures on an international scale means that researchers can use computer protocols to access considerable sources of data from their own and other disciplines. Digital tools such as AI make it possible to make machines 'reason' about data to produce new knowledge.

All these factors make it critical for both humans and machines to be able to 'understand' the data used. This understanding necessarily requires the adoption of common reference systems on an international scale and across all disciplines. These standards are based on a common 'vision' produced by the scientific community (and updated as knowledge evolves), resulting in vocabularies and ontologies shared by the community.

This presentation will look at the ecosystem for producing and maintaining standards for the geosciences and some of the issues involved in the relationship between scientists and the production and use of standards.

How to cite: Robida, F.: The central role of geoscience data standards in generating new knowledge, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4562,, 2024.


  • Anirudh Prabhu, Carnegie Institution for Science, United States of America
  • Francois Robida, France