Dr Ho-Kwang Mao ForMemRS
Ho-Kwang Mao is a geologist whose study of the Earth’s structure has led to major breakthroughs in the field of high-pressure physics. By demonstrating that the conditions prevailing in the Earth’s mantle and core could be reproduced in laboratory conditions, he has also facilitated a more profound understanding of our planet’s deep interior.
Many of Ho-Kwang’s most significant contributions have therefore been in the development of instrumentation techniques to study samples under extreme temperatures and pressures. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of the diamond-anvil cell, which is capable of trapping samples between the flat faces of two compressed diamonds at pressures similar to those felt at the centre of the Earth.
Ho-Kwang has been elected a fellow of many of the world’s leading learned societies in his field, and in 2007 received the prestigious Inge Lehmann Medal from the American Geophysical Union. He is currently the Director of Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.