Geography research fellow wins Rolex Laureate award.

Joe CookJoseph Cook has been selected as one of the Rolex Young Laureate award winners for 2016.

Joseph Cook – a research fellow in the Department of Geography – is one of five individuals to receive the prestigious award, which is reserved for pioneering work across a wide variety of fields.

Joseph investigates polar ice microbes in the vast “frozen rainforest” of the Greenland ice sheet to better understand how those microbes influence climate, nutrient and carbon cycles, and other aspects of our world and its systems.

Rolex Young Laureate award winners demonstrate a talent for independent thinking and a capacity to embrace projects that require creativity and determination in the face of considerable odds.
Having obtained both his undergraduate degree and a PhD from the University of Sheffield, Joseph is the second member of the department to be a recipient of the Rolex Laureate, following Andrew McGonigle’s award in 2008.

On winning the award, Joseph said

"The Rolex awards recognise potential in young scientists and I am really humbled that the jury identified that in me. I'll be using the award to advance my ongoing Arctic research at the University of Sheffield.

“As part of the award I've met Nobel prize-winners, astronauts, explorers, Olympians and inventors who have inspired me to think big in my research - the Rolex Award will fund some exciting science in 2017 and beyond."

Professor John Flint, Head of the Department of Geography, said

"I am delighted Joseph Cook has become a Young Rolex Laureate. I congratulate Joe on this achievement: this is a very prestigious award.

“The award is for Joe's Ice Alive project on glacier microbiology and climate change, which, in the words of the scheme, epitomises the ground breaking ideas of exceptional individuals required to address the major challenges facing humanity.

“The scheme's aim to promote enterprise and a passion and commitment to improving our planet is shared by our department and we are all very proud that our colleague's work has been recognized in this way."

He will be making a documentary – Ice Alive – a sequel to his prize-winning Life on Earth’s Cold Shoulder. Public lectures, feature articles and exhibits will widely publicise the fascinating and fragile miniature world of Arctic micro-organisms.