The recipient of the 2019 Research Excellence Award of the European Mineralogical Union is Dr. Nadège Hilairet from CNRS and Université de Lille, France. She received the award for her outstanding contributions to understanding rock deformation and rheology as well as for her international collaborative research.
Dr. Hilairet’s achievements in the field of physics and mechanics of the deformation of crystals and poly-crystalline aggregates are remarkable in terms of originality and depth. Through her experimental approach, she has created new data and insights that have allowed an unprecedented view and understanding of the rheological properties of rocks and the mechanism of earthquake formation.
In particular, she has contributed to important advances in our understanding of how phase changes impact the mechanical stability of deforming materials and how we can measure these effects using cutting edge tools such as synchrotron x-ray diffraction and acoustic emissions. The use of synchrotron diffraction to probe deformation experiments in the D-DIA apparatus is a relatively new field and Dr. Hilairet has been one of its pioneers. These experiments are incredibly difficult to do and even harder to do well. Apart from her excellent achievements in the lab she herself also transferred implications of these new insights to the deformation of natural systems, making them accessible to a wide community.
Throughout her career she has (co)-advised several undergraduate and PhD-students. She has provided her knowledge and experience to the community by developing and offering software tools and building experimental infrastructure at user facilities in Europe and US. Her work is firmly embedded in the European and international research community.