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Geological Society 2017 Awards

6 March 2017

Wollaston MedalThe Geological Society of London is delighted to announce the winners of our 2017 awards, to be presented at President's Day on 7 June.

The Wollaston Medal, our highest award, is this year presented to Professor Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. Professor Alley’s research is focused on the flow and stability of ice sheets, their climate records, and the way they interact with the landscape.

‘I’m humbled and honoured’ Professor Alley said on receiving the award. ‘The Wollaston Medal is certainly one of the highlights of my career!’

The Wollaston Medal is presented to geologists whose research has had a substantial impact on pure or applied aspects of geology. It was first awarded in 1831 to William Smith, whose 1815 geological map of England, Wales and part of Scotland - now regarded as 'the map that changed the world' - was the first of its kind.

The winner of this year's Lyell Medal, awarded to geologists whose research has made a significant contribution to 'soft' rock studies, is Rosalind Rickaby, Professor of Biogeochemistry at the University of Oxford. Professor Rickaby’s research involves the complex interactions between the evolution of organisms, ocean chemistry, atmospheric composition and Earth’s climate.

The Murchison Medal, awarded to geologists who have contributed significantly to 'hard' rock studies, is awarded to Professor Tim Elliott of the University of Bristol, whose research focuses on the chemical evolution of the Earth.

The William Smith Medal, awarded for excellence in applied and economic aspects of geology, is awarded to Professor John Walsh, Director of iCRAG, the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, and Co-Director of the Fault Analysis Group in the School of Geological Sciences, University College Dublin.

The awards will be presented by Geological Society President Malcolm Brown at President's Day on 7 June.

The 2017 Geological Society Awards in full: 

Wollaston Medal: Professor Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University

Lyell Medal: Professor Rosalind Rickaby, University of Oxford

Murchison Medal: Professor Tim Elliot, University of Bristol

William Smith Medal: Professor John Walsh, University College Dublin

Coke Medal: Dr Mark Anderson, Plymouth University

Coke Medal: Professor Ian Fairchild, University of Birmingham

Bigsby Medal: Professor Caroline Lear, Cardiff University

Sue Tyler Friedman Medal: Professor Mott T Greene, University of Washington

Distinguished Service Award: Dr Richard Hinton, University of Edinburgh 

Distinguished Service Award: Mr Ian Kenyon

R H Worth Prize: Rotunda – the William Smith Museum of Geology

Wollaston Fund: Dr Russell Garwood, University of Manchester

William Smith Fund: Dr Richard Walters, University of Durham

Lyell Fund: Dr Susannah Maidment, University of Brighton

Murchison Fund: Dr Sami Mikhail, University of St Andrews

  • Notes for editors

    1. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body, of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.

    2. The Wollaston Medal is named for William Hyde Wollaston 1766 – 1828, the discoverer of the element Palladium, in which the medal is struck. It was first awarded in 1831 to William Smith, known as “the father of English Geology”, who is credited with creating the first geological map of Britain, and was also bestowed on Charles Darwin in 1859.

    3. The Geological Society 2017 Awards will be presented at President’s Day 2017, to be held at Burlington House on 7 June.