The recipients of the Palaeontologica Belgica Award are listed by year. A short introduction concerning their research and contributions to Belgian paleontology are briefly discussed. The biography of each awardee will be updated after the annual award ceremony
During the first ceremony of the Palaeontologica Belgica award, the excellent academic course and the merits of palaeontologist Dr. Koen Stein, were praised. As a young scientist, Koen specialised in the interpretation of fossil bone structures through histology, which he would later apply to hadrosaurs as well as the world-famous iguanodons from Bernissart. In addition to his purely scientific agenda, Koen is also very interested in raising awareness and spreading the word through (social)media among a young audience, thus selflessly contributing to a strengthened support for palaeontology within the Belgian landscape. His excellent international reputation within the world of vertebrate paleontology make him an expert who influences the international look upon the Belgian paleontological landscape for the better. His ongoing outreach and passion make him the perfect modern-day paleontologist.
During the first ceremony, dr. Olivier Lambert was honoured for winning the Palaeontologica Belgica Award 2021. His collaborative research with citizen scientists on the evolution of whales started some ten years ago on a professional level as a staff member of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where he made important contributions to the evolution of these marine mammals and their genealogy. Thanks to Dr Lambert's work, we have gained a much better understanding of the diversity, anatomy and evolution of fossil whales in the North Sea basin and far beyond. His open-mindedness, communication skills and close cooperation with the growing community of fossil collectors and citizen scientists make him the epitome of the modern palaeontologist who is passionate about his research.
The 2022 Palaeontologica Belgica award, was given to prof. dr. em. Jean-Marie Charlet (UMons - Faculté Polytechnique), who devoted his career to research, teaching and service to the (scientific) community. During the early sixties prof. Charlet helped develop and fine-tune a method to determine new features and trace common origins in quartz minerals thanks to thermoluminescence. The study of tectonically disturbed regions like the Mediterranean for example would greatly benefit from these new insights. As such prof. Charlet was able to confirm the opening of the South Atlantic through the discovery of common “DNA” between quartz formations from South Africa and Argentina. Prof. charlet has spent a great deal of his career, and emeritate, promoting earth sciences through non-profit organizations and cultural institutions like “l’Espace Terre et Matériaux” "L’asbl Malogne", "La Maison des sciences de la vie et de la terre" or "Le Cercle Géologique du Hainaut" with whom he relentlessly engaged in lectures, exhibitions, internships and field schools, thus stimulating interest and passion for geology, mineralogy and paleontology among laymen, citizen scientists and future academic scientists. Needless to say that prof. Charlet’s lifetime dedication to earth sciences in both professional and philanthropic perspectives can only set the highest standard for future generations of scientists.
Johan Vellekoop (°1987) grew up in the village of Smilde in Drenthe, the Netherlands. After a master's degree in biogeology and a PhD at University of Utrecht, Johan decided to come to Belgium to pursue a decade of postdoctoral research fellowships. During this period, Johan sought to enhance our understanding of cataclysmic events dating back to 66 Million years ago, during which about 75% of all terrestrial organisms became extinct. To do this, he has studied the successive stratigraphy, palynological, geochemical and isotopic composition of this exact Cretaceous-Paleogene (called K-Pg) boundary in Belgium, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the US, Denmark, Spain and, of course, Mexico itself, the site of the impact responsible for the cataclysm. Apart from the very infamous K-Pg event, he has also contributed significantly to a better understanding of seasonal climate variations during another remarkable period in Earth's history; the much more recent Eocene greenhouse world, dated to 38 million years ago. Johan is active within the palaeontological community in various ways, both in association and on an independent basis.From organising large palaeontological fairs, managing palaeontological forums to giving lectures, his enthusiasm and passion are very contagious. This therefore ensured that the decision was unanimously taken to award him the 2023 Palaeontologica Belgica Award. A fine crown for his many years of efforts within Belgian and Dutch palaeontology.