Dorrit in the rough
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By Kelly

I’ve mentioned Dorrit a number of times in previous blogs as she has been a significant mentor to me over the last few years. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks she’s a bit of a diamond. Earlier this month Dr. Dorrit Jacob, from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, was awarded a Heisenberg Professorship by the German Research Foundation (DFG).  She is the first female scientist in Rhineland-Palatinate to be awarded a DFG-funded Heisenberg Professorship and the first female Heisenberg Professor at her university. I am exceptionally proud and pleased as we have often discussed, as I have on this blog, the under representation of women in senior positions with in the Earth Sciences.

As reported in the university release, “Dorrit Jacob’s work focuses on two very different aspects of the carbon cycle: One occurs in the depths of the Earth while the other takes place on the surface – the creation of diamonds and biominerals. Living organisms use organic and inorganic materials to form biominerals such as pearls, corals, and mollusk shells. These can also be used to investigate paleoclimatic conditions as they record evidence of temperatures. Knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the formation of minerals helps scientists in various disciplines to reconstruct evolutionary processes and the history of the Earth.”

If my research is correct Dorrit is the first female professor at her institute since 1947 – this is when it re-opened, not when the last woman retired. So this may mean she is the first female professor ever!  While I tend to want to throw my hands in the air and shout “the shame of it all” if I look a little closer to home I see my department doesn’t even have one! So for the time being, I shall look to Germany for my academic inspiration and be grateful that I have a mentor at all, regardless of the distance.

To read the full release and ohh and ahh over her academic record , click here.