Na sequência da denúncia pública feita neste blogue sobre o assunto em título – ver aqui – justifica-se dar a conhecer o testemunho do Professor Jean-Pierre Burg (ETH Zürich) acerca de Fernando Ornelas Marques, vítima de uma decisão injusta, ilegítima e corrompida por interesses pessoais num concurso para Professor Catedrático no Departamento de Geologia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
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University of Zurich
Institute of Geology
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Burg
Friday, 16 September 2011
To whom it may concern
Recommendation for Fernando Ornelas Marques for a full Professorship
I am writing to express my sincere and strong support for the promotion of Dr. Fernando Ornelas Marques to a full Professorship in Geology. I became acquainted with Fernando when he presented first results of his graduate studies at the European Geoscience Union meeting in 1987. Since then, I have followed his work and met him on many occasions, in particular at international scientific meetings and during the sabbatical period he spent from April 2007 to May 2008 at the ETH-Zurich, as a guest Professor in the research/teaching group I am leading. Therefore, I feel competent to appreciate his qualities as a researcher and a leader in structural geology.
The geosciences are evolving from a descriptive discipline to an increasingly quantitative science, an inexorable trend that must be accepted if geosciences are to remain a viable component of academia. Fernando’s prolific and rigorous work has essentially defined this trend over the last decade in structural geology (mesoscopic and microscopic structures) and tectonics (very large structures). A major and the most widely cited component of his work concerns the development of analogue and numerical models and tools for the interpretation and analysis of deformation structures as the mechanical response to stress and flow fields in rocks. Rocks contain a wealth of information about their physicochemical environments of formation, but the mechanical information was largely untapped because structural geologists used geometric methodologies established decades ago when the quality of mechanic and rheological models was limited. Fernando Ornelas Marques’ work in this regard has largely contributed in changing the face of modern structural geology and few geoscientists world-wide have such a profound influence on their fields of specialization, in particular in southern Europe. As an evident consequence of his still blossoming work, he is involved in numerous collaborative efforts that apply his structural and tectonic methodology to solve scientific problems at different scales. The fruits of these efforts have further enhanced his international standing. The physical (rheological) properties of rocks exert first order controls on their deformation and his work has made it possible to assess these effects in the context of practical models for the average behaviour of rocks in geodynamic systems, from basin evolution in the upper crust to shear zone distribution and buckling processes in lower crustal levels. Such studies are essential for understanding many geodynamic and geophysical processes, a fact that is now recognized by the broader scientific community.
The success of Fernando Ornelas Marques research efforts refers to his certainty that structures understood under a mechanical perspective contain keys to forces and stresses that produced them. He is among the first persons to have recognized the importance of mechanical concepts to be applied to structural geology and tectonics and such a fundamental formulation has already, and will undeniably have enormous impact on the field of tectonics and geodynamics in the future. Importantly, and at variance to many modellers, Fernando is convinced that the modelling he can perform is useful only if it validates or disproves interpretation of actual structures. Consequently, he involves his students in the study of geological problems, at outcrop or larger scale, before initiating them to the mechanical solution they can derive to solve the problem. This is particularly true for his master students who go in the field to make detailed measurements on folds before providing a mechanical solution with emphasis on rheological contrasts between sandstones and shales in turbiditic sequences. I was very pleased to be able collaborating with Fernando on this topic, and I was always strucked by his rapid and astute observations, which he was happy to share to develop further discussion and generate new ideas. This example is but one of several that demonstrate Fernando’s capacity to grasp the essential aspects of geological problems and to solve them through creative thought. This commitment in sharing scientific knowledge and discoveries is manifested by the impressive succession of authoritative papers that have had a real influence on the development of modern, process-oriented structural geology.
The success of Fernando’s research efforts in structural geology make it easy to overlook his many other scientific contributions on topics as diverse as the application of rock magnetism, metamorphism and regional interpretations of various orogenic systems. His research covers a successful combination of structural geology, petrology and geophysics. Thanks to these significant contributions, and to significant and attractive presentations at various international meetings, he is becoming a well-respected researcher with a growing international renown. This versatility in research is unusual and demonstrates the breadth of his knowledge as well as the insight he has in the Earth Sciences as a whole. Again, a fundamental assumption in Fernando’s approach is that structures understood under a mechanical perspective contain keys to forces and stresses that produced them.
Fernando Ornelas Marques was interested in staying in Zurich to deepen his knowledge of physical experiments on rocks, and therefore strengthen his knowledge on rock rheology. I observed his steady progress while he was working in the projects we had, in particular on salt behaviour. In his first batch of experiments he performed independently and remarkably well at each step of the experimental modus operandi, from the preparation of the starting material to the post-experimental analysis. This procedure made him expert in several experimental and analytical techniques, which involve cutting edge technology and require extreme precision in the work. His pioneering and substantial results find extensive applications for our understanding of the physical and chemical behaviour of the deep crust, and that of salt in thrust and diapir systems. He established the rheology and phase relations of the deforming material in the light of mechanical data measured during his experiments, and coupled these new data with evolving microstructures. His results are published and are still being published in authoritative international journals such as JGR, Tectonophysics, and others.
Fernando Ornelas Marques firm commitment to education should also be recognized. Since he is teaching in Lisbon, he has supervised a notable number of undergraduate (many) and graduate (3) students, along with several PhD (7) and pot-Docs who he financed after successful applications to research and industrial institutions. This supervision work demonstrates that he not only is motivated but also is motivating other, younger researchers whose results are commonly leading to publication. Several of these students and visiting scientists have gone on to become accomplished researchers. I have no doubt that the roots of this success are to be found in the tradition of imaginative work instilled by Fernando. He has developed a structural-geology profile which is recognized as one of the top in this discipline world-wide. His international recognition is clearly expressed in his participation to the board of premier journals such as Tectonophysics and Journal of Structural Geology.
His teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels is exemplary. His courses are based on practical exercises that accompany learners in their progress on how to handle geological problems. In addition to the lectures, Fernando Ornelas Marques is intensively involved in field courses and excursions, and he is a very precious and efficient collaborator in organising this “applied” teaching that remains the basis of our discipline. He enjoys that part of the work at least as much as the modelling part, and spends a lot of energy at convincing students that observation is as important as deduction in modern sciences.
Fernando Ornelas Marques’ activity has included the organisation of several seminars and international meetings, in particular the well-attended GEOMOD at Lisbon, in 2010. This important endeavour demonstrates that he is eager to stimulate the scientific life of his community, and reflects some scientific enthusiasm, vital to the dynamism of any group he should lead.
Fernando is a careful listener and a gentle, but firm, critic. He is a very active and determined scientist. He is a hard-working, diverse and innovative scientist with original ideas and has demonstrated lucid insight into physical processes of the Earth. A consequence of Fernando personality is that he does not feel any need to prove that he is smarter or more important than other people; therefore, his motivation, scientific curiosity, is pure. He fully applies himself to any task he undertakes. He is an independent and quite reliable researcher to whom I was happy to leave some responsibility in managing the rock deformation lab.
I hope this letter gives some feeling for the tremendous service that Fernando Ornelas Marques has done for structural geology in particular, and the geosciences as a whole. In conclusion, I most heartily endorse his nomination as “Professor Catedrático, do Departamento de Geologia” at Lisbon.
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Jean-Pierre Burg has been full Professor (ETH/University of Zurich) at the Institute of Geology of the ETH Zurich since September 1, 1993.
Prof. Burg was born on April 25, 1953 in Meknès, Morocco and is of French nationality. He received a scholarship from the British Council enabling him to study as a graduate student at the Imperial College in London from October 1975 to July 1976. From 1979 to 1983 he did scientific research at the French CNRS. His dissertation was honored with great distinction by the USTL Montpellier in May 1983. In November 1983 he assumed a post as research fellow at Melbourne University. In March 1986 he was appointed Research Director at the CNRS Center for Geology and Geophysics in Montpellier, a post he held until he was called to the ETH.
Prof. Burg has many editorial responsibilities. He has been chief editor of "Geodinamica Acta" and "Geologie de la France" and is now one of the Chief Editors of "TECTONOPHYSICS". His dedication merited the Australian Society of Educational Technology Award in 1986. He was awarded the Prix Henri Becquerel from the Academy of Sciences in Paris on 26 November 1990. On the decision of the Sofia University Council, Prof. Burg received the title Doctor honoris causa on 22 May 1995; at that time he was also given the "The Blue Ribbon" from Sofia University.