Chris Yakymchuk, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has won the 2020 Young Scientist Award for his holistic approach to geology that spans the micro- to macro- to tectonic-scales. He's the first University of Waterloo researcher to win the award.
This award is given by the Mineralogical Association of Canada to a young scientist who has made a significant international research contribution in a promising start to a scientific career.
Yakymchuk studies how mountain chains form through the process of plate tectonics. His research features thermodynamic modelling that highlight processes operating at the micro scale, such as melting. These processes can have a major impact on large scale tectonics in the continental crust. He is also interested in fluid–rock interactions in the deep crust and applying the principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology to understand the petrogenesis of mineral deposits.
He uses an interdisciplinary approach to tectonics research, combining theoretical, experimental, analytical and field-based studies. He is a true all-around geologist with a broad range of expertise in petrology and tectonics. He has become an internationally recognized leader in the area of accessory mineral petrochronology. More recently, he is applying his knowledge in petrology, phase mineral geochronology and tectonics to mineral deposit studies.
"For a researcher at his early career stage, Prof. Yakymchuk has made vital new contributions to the field of petrology, mineralogy and tectonics, particularly with respect to the behaviour of accessory minerals in metamorphic and igneous systems," said award nominator Prof. Shoufa Lin.
He is a prolific and high-impact researcher. He has contributed 36 papers, which have been well-cited, and has an h-index of 14. These are remarkable achievements for an early career scientist just five years after finishing his PhD.
His research contributions were most recently recognized in 2019 when he received the prestigious and highly competitive Ontario Early Researcher Award, which is awarded to the most promising assistant professors in all disciplines in the province of Ontario.