Yale paleontologist named a Schmidt Science Polymath fellow
Yale paleontologist Pincelli Hull, whose research into ancient marine life and ocean ecosystems has led to new insights into long-ago mass extinction events and what they might tell us about today’s changing planet, has been named a 2023 Schmidt Science Polymath fellow.
The prestigious fellowship supports recently tenured professors with remarkable track records, promising futures, and a desire to explore interdisciplinary research. It comes with an award of $500,000 per year for up to five years, to help support innovative, highly interdisciplinary research. The Schmidt Science Polymath program is supported by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt.
“This award is tremendously enabling,” Hull said. “Thanks to it, my group can now pursue innovative ideas on topics that are simply too interdisciplinary to be funded by traditional funding routes.”
Hull is an associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and associate curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum. She joined the Yale faculty in 2013 after three years as a postdoctoral associate at Yale.
She is also director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Earth & Planetary Studies and a past recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship.
Hull’s work focuses on the interactions of the living and non-living components of the “Earth system” — particularly on how those interactions are affected by catastrophic disturbances. This work has the potential to inform questions related to modern climate change, such as why some ecosystems are able to adapt to widespread changes in environmental conditions, while others are not.
“As a young scientist I was constantly told to stick to one topic, which I never managed to do, so I am delighted that the Schmidt Science Polymath award exists,” Hull said. “Recognition like this can provide hope for the next generation. Not only is it possible to work to bridge ideas between fields, it is needed now more than ever with deepening disciplinary divisions in techniques and ideas.”
Hull is one of nine new Schmidt Science Polymath Program fellows. They join an existing network of 12 polymaths, for a total of 21 polymaths across 21 universities and six countries.