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2012 Award Citations and Replies

Christopher John Hawkesworth (Wollaston Medal)

The Wollaston Medal – the Society’s premier medal and highest accolade was first awarded to William Smith in 1831.  Professor Chris Hawkesworth, this year’s laureate, is internationally recognised as one of his generation’s most outstanding geochemists, whose work has run the gamut of isotopic systems: in­­cluding neodymium, lead, uranium-thorium, uranium series, and most recently hafnium and oxygen in zircons. 

Chris’s scientific publications, numbering  about 300, cover key fields - including mantle melting, element flux at subduction zones, heterogeneities within the mantle, of which I am particularly fond, and the differentiation and evolution of the crust.  His contributions include many fundamental advances and his impact, evinced by a stellar ISI citation index of 77, has extended over the entire length of his 40-year research career.  His influence continues today, with two recent papers in Nature and Science rapidly accumulating the characteristic Hawkesworth totals of citation.

What drives this success is Chris’s outstanding ability to take and solve tractable problems of high general impact.  His enthusiasm attracts and inspires young researchers to his side, and his lasting international influence on isotope geochemistry relies in no small measure upon the pivotal role he has played as a team leader and mentor for two of the foremost Earth science isotope groups in this country – namely, those of the Open University and more recently of Bristol University.

Nor has Chris neglected his role within the wider scientific community, serving on a wide range of national and international scientific committees.  He has served this Society as Science Secretary, as well as the European Association for Geochemistry as President, the Geochemical Society as International Secretary, and has also served as a member of the International Ocean Drilling Programme’s Mission Review Panel.  There have been many others.  He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 2002, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012 and he is currently Deputy Principal of the University of St Andrews.

Chris, your work has been a major influence not only on your own field but in the wider understanding of the Earth system, over four decades.  Your many students and co-workers owe you an enormous debt, as do all those organisations fortunate enough to have benefited from your involvement.  It therefore gives me the greatest pleasure to acknowledge this outstanding achievement by awarding you the Wollaston Medal of The Geological Society of London.


Eric Wolff (Lyell Medal)

The medal named for one of the 19th Century’s most influential geologists, Sir Charles Lyell, goes this year to a geochemist whose work has focused not on rocks but on ice.  The study of ice as a guide to past climate is becoming increasingly influential in our urgent struggle to understand what effect we may be having on our planet

Eric Wolff began his career working on pollutants in polar snow, measuring lead in these hitherto supposedly pristine environments.  This work led him to advance our understanding of the rates and mechanisms of exchange between the atmosphere and the Earth’s ice caps.  He began to publish on the climate implications of acidity measured from electrical logs of Greenland ice - and as a result became involved in experiments showing the importance to the physics of ice of impurities located at boundaries between ice grains.

Eric then became interested in ice cores’ palaeoclimate record, looking first at fast changes in dust concentration in Greenland ice over the last 100,000 years.  He was appointed Chief Scientist for the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), and Chair of EPICA’s science group.  This led to a landmark Nature paper in 2004 on ‘Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic Ice Core’, and to several papers considering the controls on the glacial-interglacial cycles and rapid climate changes that characterise the Quaternary record. These and other works have marked him as a world expert on ice chemistry, and a leader of the ice coring community.  He is currently co-chair of the International Partnership in Ice Core Sciences, which aims to drill ice one million years old in the Antarctic.

Eric serves as science leader of the British Antarctic Survey programme ‘Chemistry and Past Climate’ and has shouldered a host of other responsibilities in international bodies and initiatives. Among his many scientific affiliations, I should mention that he is not only a Chartered member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, but also a Fellow of the Royal Society. The ultimate accolade of CGeol will surely not elude him for long.  He has connections to many other prestigious organisations, and is a busy editor for scientific journals specialising in Quaternary science.

Eric Wolff, your contribution to the palaeogeochemistry of the Earth’s ice caps and its implications for climate has been exemplary. You have been prepared to explain to fractious audiences the broader implications of your outstanding achievements in observational science.  It is my great pleasure to acknowledge this work by awarding you the Lyell Medal of The Geological Society of London.




Frank Spear  (Murchison Medal)

Sir Roderick Impey Murchison was, among his countrymen, one of the 19th Century’s most widely travelled Earth scientists; so it is perhaps appropriate that we award this year’s Murchison Medal to another widely travelled scientist, from the United States.

Frank Spear is a metamorphic petrologist who has pioneered the development of the quantitative thermobarometry and Pressure-Temperature-Time path analysis that underpins modern tectonic studies of mountain belts.  Throughout his career, first as professor at MIT and then at his present school, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he has undertaken rigorous investigations of the phase equilibria of metamorphic rocks.  He led the way in understanding the significance of trace-element zonation in metamorphic minerals, and of accessory mineral stability - both factors now understood to be crucially important in interpreting metamorphic ages and rates.

The goal of this work has been to construct Pressure-Temperature-Time histories that can inform the tectonic evolution of a terrane. He and his many students and collaborators have applied these techniques in the Alps, New England, Southern Chile, the Mojave Desert, British Columbia, the Adirondacks of New York, the Norwegian Caledonides, and the blueschist belt of the Greek Cyclades – an itinerary at which even Sir Roderick would perhaps have looked askance. Present-day Teaching Fellows at Harvard University, leading undergraduates through Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York, have Frank’s work to guide them – I wish that had been true for us in the 1960s.

Frank is credited with writing a trilogy of landmark works that have been described as the three most highly cited contributions in modern metamorphic petrology.  These are his 1978 experimental study with John Ferry on the partitioning of iron and magnesium between biotite and garnet, his 1982 study with Kip Hodges of the schists at Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire, and his magnum opus, a monograph on metamorphic phase equilibria and pressure-temperature-time paths, which has become the standard work of reference for those working in this broad field.  With this work, published by the Mineralogical Society of America, together with a number of associated computer programmes, Frank has presented his contemporaries with the essential toolkit of their profession.

Frank Spear, you are indeed a worthy recipient of the Murchison Medal of The Geological Society, which it is my great pleasure to present to you now.





William Phillip Aspinall (William Smith Medal)

The medal named for William Smith celebrates outstanding achievement in the field of applied geology, and this year we are delighted to present it to an outstanding practitioner - not, this year, to one of Smith's fellow engineering geologists, but to an internationally influential figure in natural hazards and risk assessment - Willy Aspinall.

Willy Aspinall's work has been applied to a wide range of problems for a wide range of clients, mostly (as in the case of William Smith himself) as a private consultant running his own business - Aspinall and Associates; although recently he has also been appointed part-time professor at the University of Bristol.

Willy Aspinall has made pioneering contributions in applying quantitative risk assessment and management techniques to volcanic hazards, especially during the eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. This work has had worldwide impact on applied volcanology, in which he is now seen as a leading expert, his work followed by institutes in such diverse volcanic provinces as New Zealand, Italy and the USA.

His work on Montserrat, as joint Chief Scientist in the early stages of the eruption, developed into a pivotal role as he provided the quantitative risk analysis that has underpinned the six-monthly hazard and risk assessments supplied to UK and Montserrat governments.  In this work he has pioneered probabilistic and expert elicitation methods in crisis management which, together with his understanding of both Earth science and statistics, has been central in enabling effective management of this long-term hazard.

Many of Willy's contributions have ranged beyond volcanoes - taking in such pressing topics as seismic hazard and nuclear power, the safety of UK dams, bioterrorism, disease threats, the implications of climate change for nuclear waste disposal, and aviation safety during the recent volcanic-ash crisis.

Willy Aspinall, for your pioneering and wide-ranging contributions, applying the Earth sciences to the benefit of all, it is my great pleasure to award you today the William Smith Medal of The Geological Society of London.


Richard John Aldridge (Coke Medal)

The first of the Society’s two Coke medals is awarded to a palaeontologist who, in addition to major contributions to our understanding of the lower Palaeozoic as a whole, has done a great deal to help solve one of the longest abiding mysteries of the fossil record – the nature of the conodont animal, and the part played by conodonts in the early evolution of vertebrates.

Many of us will remember from student days those enigmatic tooth-like objects that, despite their biostratigraphic utility, were a complete biological mystery.   Now, conodont affinities and palaeobiology are well understood - and the diversity of the uses to which they are put has multiplied accordingly.

This chapter of the story begins with the long-awaited discovery of conodont soft tissues in the early 1980s by Euan Clarkson, Coke Medallist in 2010.  Dick joined Euan, Derek Briggs and Paul Smith in describing and interpreting conodont anatomy, confirming  This finding confirmed their vertebrate affinities of conodonts.,  This  and engendered a revolution in phylogeny overturning almost every aspect of a textbook story that had stood more or less intact since the days of Charles Darwin.

Dick took the opportunity to pioneer conodonts’ use as geochemical proxies for Palaeozoic oceans - especially in the Silurian.  Working with Lennart Jeppsson, this was  controversial science, invoking major cyclical shifts in climate during what had been thought of as a period of relative stability, a view subsequently supported by  isotopic work by Axel Munnecke and others.

Exceptionally preserved conodont soft tissues led Dick to an abiding interest in lagerstätten, taking him from Granton on the Firth of Forth (where conodont animal soft parts first emerged from obscurity,  having been long trodden over by those of us urging sedimentology on generations of Edinburgh students) to the somewhat warmer surroundings provided by the Soom Shale in South Africa.  This rare Ordovician lagerstätte has provided unique insights into the high-latitude ecosystems of the time, and informed the study of a host of taxonomic groups - as well as having broader implications for sedimentology, taphonomy and Earth systems science.

Dick , few palaeontologists of your generation have set the agenda in so many different areas.  To have led the way towards a new understanding of conodonts and vertebrate evolution might have been enough in itself.  This achievement is set  alongside much other significant work, and makes you a worthy recipient of the Coke Medal of The Geological Society of London.


Robin Strachan (Coke Medal)

The second of the Coke medals to be awarded today goes to a consummate field geologist whose research, spanning three decades, takes us back to what may be termed the intellectual heartland of much of this Society’s history – the geological evolution of the Scottish Highlands.

Rob Strachan’s work forms a keystone in constructing a deeper understanding of the age and deposition of Neoproterozoic rocks, and the tectonothermal processes associated with the Caledonian orogen and the development of the Iapetus and Rheic oceans.

Clearly set out in a sustained series of publications, Rob’s research has focused on unravelling the complex structural, sedimentological, metamorphic and geochronological history of deformed successions in this ancient mountain system and its associated sedimentary basins.  It has been time-consuming, painstaking work, requiring the synthesis of observations spanning the true geological scale from microscopic to global. 

His many insights include documenting a major tectonic event during the Neoproterozoic evolution of the North Atlantic region – the enigmatic Knoydartian Orogeny – developing a structural model of the Great Glen Fault as an ancient Iapetan transform fault, and using chemostratigraphy to link the rocks of the Highlands with correlative successions worldwide.  The intellectual agility and sustained curiosity that informs his work has enabled him to combine leading-edge laboratory techniques with detailed, methodical fieldwork of the sort that this Society’s founders would have recognised and approved most heartily.

Rob, who began his research career in Keele working on the Moine rocks of West Inverness-shire, is now Head of School at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Portsmouth University.  He is a truly collaborative scientist, who freely shares his knowledge and ideas with collaborators and many research students.  His work for the Society, including eight years as subject editor and six as Chief Editor of the JGS, in which role he was famously both firm and fair, reveals a level of commitment to collegiality that stands as an example to us all.

Rob Strachan, please accept, with our thanks and admiration, the Coke Medal of The Geological Society of London.


Geoffrey Duller (Bigsby Medal)

We come now to the Bigsby Medal, which this year goes to a key international figure in the development of luminescence dating and its application to geological, geomorphological and archaeological sites – Professor Geoff Duller of Aberystwyth University.

Geoff Duller’s work has been instrumental in helping us to understand Quaternary environmental change, and the rates of operation of a number of geomorphological processes.  His research has covered four main themes – the design and development of luminescence equipment, characterising the luminescent properties of minerals, developing analytical procedures for measuring luminescence, and writing research software for collecting, processing and analysing the data retrieved.

His key technical achievements have included developing single aliquot methods of equivalent-dose determination, developing the first widely available system for making optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) measurements of quartz, as well as the first widely available method for making OSL measurements on single sand-size grains. I think one has to have struggled with the early equipment to fully appreciate the advances these developments represent.

Among his many notable research successes, we should cite dating the earliest evidence for human symbolic representation in the petroglyphs of Blombos Cave, South Africa; helping to rethink our understanding of how, and at what rate, linear dunes migrate; and being the first to apply single grain luminescence methods to determine the timing of deglaciation in the southern Andes. He is also involved in assessing the feasibility of using luminescence to provide some chronological control of geomorphological activity on the surface of Mars.

Geoffrey Duller, for your combined activity in developing the usefulness of this research tool and applying it to hitherto intractable research problems – many of fundamental importance to our understanding of climate change and human cultural evolution – please accept the Bigsby Medal of The Geological Society of London.


Cherry Lewis (Sue Tyler Friedman Medal)

The Sue Tyler Friedman Medal, awarded for excellence in research into the history of geology, was endowed by a Foundation established by one of this Society’s senior Fellows – the distinguished carbonate sedimentologist and historian of science, Professor Gerald Friedman, who sadly died late last year.  Let us take the occasion of this award to remember and salute a great benefactor of the Society.

The Award, named for Gerald’s wife, goes this year to a geologist who has straddled many worlds in her career – Dr Cherry Lewis. With a childhood interest in fossils, Cherry came to study geology as a mature student, obtaining academic qualifications in geochemistry which led to a career in oil exploration. Until her recent retirement she worked at the University of Bristol as an editor and media relations manager, promoting that institution’s scientific research to a wider public.

Cherry’s interests, however, have long lain in the history of our science.  An active member of the History of Geology Group (HOGG), she served as Chair from 2004 to that crucial anniversary year of 2007, when she convened a conference on the Society’s history, with its memorable dinner in costume dress, and co-edited the subsequent Special Publication.

Cherry is well known as the biographer of Arthur Holmes, and for her book about his life and work, The Dating Game.  She is currently working on a biography of one of this Society’s founders, James Parkinson – best known today for giving his name to the neurological disease he first described.

Cherry Lewis, you have been pivotal in developing the History of Geology as a discipline within this Society. Your personal drive and energy have been major factors in making HOGG one of this Society’s most active and exciting specialist groups.  Please accept with our respect and gratitude, the Sue Tyler Friedman Medal of The Geological Society of London.


David Ward (R H Worth Prize)

The R H Worth Prize celebrates the practice and encouragement of geological science by and among amateurs, and this year we are pleased to award it to one of this country’s foremost amateur geologists, David Ward.

David Ward, a vet by training and profession, has had a life-long fascination with geology and palaeontology and has made many important contributions over 35 years.  He is now an internationally recognised expert in the field of Mesozoic and Cenozoic shark and ray teeth.  He has travelled all over the world in search of fossiliferous deposits - from the former Soviet Union to the Sahara – often under dangerous and trying conditions.  His extensive knowledge of Cenozoic stratigraphy has led to his involvement in projects ranging through sedimentology, magnetostratigraphy and stable isotopes.

He has also led the way with development of instruments  - an early achievement was the development of a mechanical sieving machine able to process large amounts of clay and silt for microvertebrate remains – leading to the discovery, by him and others, of  many previously overlooked fossils, including the elusive Mesozoic mammals.

He has published, alone and in collaboration, over 90 scholarly and beautifully illustrated papers on subjects ranging from taxonomy to biostratigraphy and palaeoenvironmental studies.  His careful biostratigraphic collection of shark teeth has led to the publication in our Journal of research which employed the stable oxygen isotopes in their apatite to reconstruct changes in salinity in the early Paleogene North Sea Basin,  giving important new insights to the many of us who study these fascinating and valuable rocks.

David’s amazing collection of fossil selachian teeth, housed in his home, attracts experts from all over the world whom he welcomes and entertains in fine style – visits that are testament to the significant contribution that he has made to international science. 

David Ward, please accept with our admiration and respect, the R H Worth Prize of The Geological Society of London.


Bridget Wade (Wollaston Fund)

At a time when fears are being expressed about the future of micropalaeontology in the UK, it is a great pleasure to present the Wollaston Fund to an outstanding young micropalaeontologist, Bridget Wade of Leeds University.

Already the holder of awards from the Micropalaeontological and Palaeontological associations, and a prestigious National Science Foundation ‘CAREER’ Award, Bridget Wade  has an outstanding record in research and teaching on both sides of the Atlantic.

After graduating from Leeds in 1996, she took the UCL MSc in micropalaeontology before going on to a PhD in Edinburgh on Eocene climate, studying stable isotopes in marine plankton.  After a NERC Fellowship at Cardiff and Edinburgh, she moved to America, first to Rutgers and then, as assistant professor, to Texas A&M. 

Bridget returned to the UK in 2010 as a NERC Advanced Research Fellow at Leeds,  but remains an Adjunct Professor at Texas.  She is currently supervising  research students both here and in the USA, and has served on ODP cruises as well as the Tanzania Drilling Project.

Bridget Wade, you are a highly talented scientist of great potential  – in recognition of which we are delighted to award you the Society’s Wollaston Fund.

Jamie Pringle (William Smith Fund)

The William Smith Fund goes this year to a strongly multidisciplinary researcher who focuses on the application of spatial data analysis, visualisation and near-surface geophysical techniques to a broad range of geological, engineering, environmental and archaeological problems. He is Dr Jamie Pringle of the University of Keele.

The cross-disciplinary application of Jamie’s research means that he has an impact on a wide range of communities. For example, his work on applying shallow geophysical prospecting techniques, is capable not only of detecting buried archaeological features but also clandestine graves, impacting significantly upon the emerging science of forensic geophysics. Jamie serves as a Committee member of the Society’s Forensic Geology and Near Surface Geophysics Groups.

The quantitative datasets that result from his spatial data analysis and visualisation techniques, allow the construction and interrogation of virtual models of geological outcrops. These models have been used to constrain sedimentological architecture in petroleum reservoir analogues, and thus to inform flow-modelling studies.

Jamie Pringle, your research not only serves many constituencies within our science, but underpins and enriches the education and training of near-surface geophysicists. Please accept the William Smith Fund of The Geological Society of London.




Daniela Schmidt (Lyell Fund)

The Lyell Fund of the Society is awarded this year to Daniela Schmidt of the University of Bristol.

Dani won the silver medal for the best PhD in Earth Sciences at ETH in Zurich in 2003 and has continued to garner honours ever since, including a NERC postdoctoral fellowship, the Micropalaeontological Society’s Downie Award and the W Storrs Cole Award of the GSA.  In 2006 she won a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

Dani has made significant and substantial contributions to our understanding of micropalaeontology, and its application to climate change during the past 100 million years..   A key finding was that planktic forams increased in size through the Cenozoic as an adaptive response to intensifying surface-water stratification in low latitudes, driven by polar cooling.  She has since diversified her research, working with isotope geochemists and climate modellers on assessing the effect of ocean acidification and warming on future ecosystems.

Dani Schmidt, you are a gregarious scientist who enters fully into the wider life of science, while extending micropalaeontology teaching at undergraduate and masters level at a time when the discipline is under pressure elsewhere.  Please accept the Lyell Fund of The Geological Society of London.



Russell Wynn (Murchison Fund)

The Murchison Fund of the Society is awarded to Dr Russell Wynn of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, where he leads a group of some 40 staff and PhD students as Head of Marine Geoscience.  His research concentrates on sedimentary processes in deep sea systems, and has had a significant impact in both pure and applied geoscience.

His work has characterised and interpreted the deep-water scours and bedforms generated by turbidity and bottom currents, and synthesised sedimentological processes and products in deep-water sinuous channels and channel-lobe transition zones.  He has analysed the timing, trigger mechanisms and character of volcanic island landslides, using distal turbidites to demonstrate multi-stage failure of source landslides in the Canary Islands.  His work thus has  implications for both geohazards and hydrocarbon exploration.

In 2008 he won the BSRG award for research by scientists under 40, named for the late Roland Goldring.  Russell’s research, documented in over 60 papers, has received financial support from both research councils and industry. His wide-ranging curiosity has enabled him to turn his biological interests into a second career studying the distribution and ecology of seabirds and cetaceans.

Russell Wynn, we are pleased to award you the Murchison Fund of The Geological Society of London.


Simon Winchester OBE (Distinguished Service Award)

This year we make two Distinguished Service Awards. The second goes to an intrepid journalist, writer and traveller who studied geology because above all he wanted to see the world and his partial colour-blindness had ruled him out of a career in Her Majesty’s Navy.  The Senior Service’s loss was the gain of his worldwide readership, and – not least - of this Society. Simon Winchester, OBE, has promoted widespread recognition of the man whose eyes burn into us from his portrait as we enter Burlington House to study his map: William Smith.           ,

Simon has reported from all over the world, most notably for The GuardianThe Sunday Times, and later Harper's, The Atlantic,  Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic.  However since the spectacular success of his first bestseller The Surgeon of Crowthorne, he has devoted his time to writing books – many of which draw upon the geology he learnt as a mining geologist in Uganda, and at Oxford University.

From his time as undergraduate at Oxford, Simon acknowledges a particular debt to Harold Reading in his The Map that Changed the World . This book is another New York Times bestseller, which brought geology to the attention of a large audience of general readers, the stuff of dreams for writers of popular science,.  It is fair to say that he has made ‘amateurs’ of those who might previously never have shown any interest in Earth science.

Subsequent books have included several with broadly geological themes, including A Crack in the Edge of the World, Krakatoa, and more recently, Atlantic.  Since 2001 Simon has worked with geological bodies worldwide, notably GSA, USGS, SEPM and BGS, as a presenter, speaker and lecturer (appearing at the OneGeology presentation at the Oslo IGC, for example).  He was also Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth.

Simon Winchester, we hope you will continue to bring our science to the attention of your readers, and that you will accept with our deep gratitude, the Distinguished Service Award of The Geological Society of London.


Ian Jackson (Distinguished Service Award)

We come now to the Society’s Distinguished Service Award.  Ian Jackson has had an outstanding career spanning some 37 years with BGS, the last 15 of which have witnessed his truly remarkable contribution in the field of geoscience information, both at home and internationally.  Ian was in the vanguard of those who recognised the potential offered to organisations such as BGS by advances in computing. A strong theme in his career is the exploitation of geoscience data to make positive and lasting socio-economic impacts.

As BGS’s Director of Information, Ian’s achievements include developing and publishing the world’s first national digital geological map database at 1:50,000, together with the first national digital geohazard dataset at the same scale. He instigated and delivered the first atlas of digital geoenvironmental information for the UK, “Britain beneath our feet”.  He steered the development of the BGS website which led to worldwide recognition of  BGS  as a  leader in geoscience information management and delivery.  He successfully completed innovative projects to create 3D geological modelling, digital field mapping and visualisation capability, now deployed right across BGS, and emulated by many surveys. Not surprisingly, Ian  is in demand  internationally as adviser on geoscience information strategies.

Ian was the architect, and still is the coordinator, of the principal UK scientific contribution to the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, namely the OneGeology project, which uses geoinformatics and interoperable data standards to deliver geological map data from 117 nations via the web.  The success of this project and its outreach programme has raised geoscience awareness on a truly global scale, and brought geological surveys from across the world together to a remarkable degree.

I have had the pleasure of working with Ian on matters connected with recruitment of young staff into BGS, and can attest to his determination that our profession should ensure its priority is always to serve society and not itself.

Ian Jackson, for your pioneering and indefatigable work on bringing the geological world into the age of delivery of digital information, we are delighted to award you the Distinguished Service Award of The Geological Society of London.



Carys Bennett (President’s Award)

The first President’s Award today goes to Carys Bennett, who - in admirable symmetry with Romain - is currently studying at the University of Lille, France.

Carys graduated from Liverpool, earning the accolade as “easily among the top 5% of Liverpool graduates” – praise indeed, considering the competition in that cohort!  Her doctoral work reflected the breadth of interest noted by her teachers, as she went to Leicester University on a NERC CASE studentship to study Carboniferous ostracods and isotopes.

Her project principally concerned identifying the first colonisation by ostracods of non-marine environments from marine and brackish-water dwelling ancestors – difficult and controversial work that required a multidisciplinary approach, drawing in micropalaeontology, palynology, sedimentology and isotope research.

After a spell as Research Associate at Leicester University she is now Post-Doctoral Fellow at Lille, where she is developing a proxy for Ordovician seawater temperature using the eyes of pelagic trilobites.

Carys Bennett, you are a careful and meticulous scientist of great promise and it is my pleasure to confer this Award upon you today.


Romain Guilbaud (President’s Award)

The second President’s Award goes to an exceptionally gifted young French geologist working in the UK – Romain Guilbaud.  Romain graduated from Grenoble in 2005, completed an MSc there which included a year in Freiburg-im-Breisgau (Germany). He moved to Edinburgh for a PhD in experimental geochemistry, held visiting positions at Cardiff and Jerusalem, and he now is a post doc in Newcastle. Romain has been lead author on papers in Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Science, and Earth & Planetary Science Letters.  And he is still only 27!

Romain is also remarkable for his breadth of expertise – he is currently focusing on the co-evolution of life and the planet in the Neoproterozoic, the evolving redox state of the ocean, and links to nutrient availability and oxygen production.  He has that vital quality of combining work in the laboratory and in the field to break important new ground

Romain Guilbaud, you have an unusually broad range of skills for one still at an early stage in your career, and this is reflected in an already fine record of publication: quite a beginning. It is my pleasure to give you the first President’s Award today.