The IAG Young Scientists Award for 2017

We are proud to announce that this year’s winners of the IAG Young Scientist Award are Dorothea Macholdt and Peter Onuk.

The award is made annually to early career scientists for excellence in analytical geochemistry. Eligibility is limited to scientists who are currently pursuing a higher degree in a field related to geoanalysis or who have completed their university education within the past five years.

The award promotes the careers of young scientists who have either developed innovative analytical methods or provided new strategies to improve data quality as applied to the chemical analysis of geological or environmental samples.

Both winners will be presenting their work at the 2017 Goldschmidt conference in Paris and will be receiving their awards on Thursday 17 August. For more details, see

Dorothea Macholdt

Dorothea successfully completed her PhD studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany in May 2017. Her thesis “Interdisciplinary Research on Rock Varnish” combined chemical, biological, geochemical, mineralogical and atmospheric data.

During her research she was involved in developing new techniques for the analysis of atmospheric dust samples and rock varnish, characterising reference materials and conducting portable XRF measurements at sites of historical interest. She has already made substantial contributions to ongoing scientific investigations and is first author of four publications in international journals (see below).

When she is not working hard at her studies, Dorothea enjoys the outdoor life either hiking or cycling.

Macholdt, D.S., Jochum, K.P., Stoll, B., Weis, U. and Andreae, M.O. (2014). A new technique to determine element amounts down to femtograms in dust using femtosecond laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Chemical Geology, 383, 123-131.

Macholdt, D., Jochum, K., Pöhlker, C., Stoll, B., Weis, U., Weber, B., Müller, M., Kappl, M., Buhre, S., Kilcoyne, A., Weigand, M., Scholz, D., Al-Amri, A.M., Andreae, M.O. (2015). Microanalytical methods for in-situ high-resolution analysis of rock varnish at the micrometer to nanometer scale. Chemical Geology, 411, 57-68.

Macholdt, D.S., Jochum, K.P., Wilson, S.A., Otter, L.M., Stoll, B., Weis, U. and Andreae, M.O. (2016). Suitability of Mn‐and Fe‐Rich Reference Materials for Microanalytical Research. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 40, 493-504.

Macholdt, D.S., Jochum, K.P., Pöhlker, C., Arangio, A., Förster, J.D., Stoll, B., Weis, U., Weber, B., Müller, M., Kappl, M., Shiraiwa, M., Kilcoyne, A.L.D., Weigand, M., Scholz, D.,   Haug, G., and Andreae, M.O. (2017)  Characterization and differentiation of rock varnish types from different environments by microanalytical techniques. Chemical Geology, 459, 91-118.

Peter Onuk

Peter has been a PhD student at the Department of Geology and Economic Geology, Montanuniversität, Leoben, Austria since 2014.

The subject of his thesis is the potential exploitation of high-technology elements in sphalerite from Eastern Alpine Pb-Zn ore deposits. His research has involved the analysis of sphalerite (ZnS) using LA-ICP-MS, which necessitated the development of suitable reference materials for calibration of the LA-ICP-MS system. Peter devised a sintering technique to produce homogenous ZnS materials doped with a wide range of trace elements, which was published in Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research in 20161.

In addition, he developed a cost-efficient method for sulphur isotope measurements by LA-ICP-MS, using N2O as the reaction gas in an ICP-MS/MS system (paper in preparation).  The reference materials he developed, MUL-ZnS1 and MUL-ZnS2, have been distributed to many other laboratories, as the demand for such materials in research related to ore geology continues to grow. When he is not in the lab, Peter enjoys cave diving and renovating a 300 year old mill.

1Onuk, P., Melcher F., Mertz-Kraus, R., Gäbler, H-E. and Goldmann, S. (2016). Development of a matrix-matched sphalerite reference material (MUL-ZnS-1) for calibration of in situ trace element measurements by laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 41(2), 263-272.