Product has been added to the basket

Honorary Fellows

Honorary Fellowship has been an important part of the membership of the Geological Society since it was founded. At the second meeting of the Society in 1807, it was decided to appoint no less than 42 ‘honorary members’, despite the fact that there were only 13 members of the Society at the time. The view was that honorary members of scholarly distinction brought prestige to the Society and also acted as links to scientific progress in their own areas.

With time, the Society wished to extend its connections and ‘foreign members’ began to be appointed, with the same background aims of bringing prestige to the Society and extending its network to gain news of geological progress and happenings on a global scale.

Today the invited ‘honorary’ and ‘foreign’ members are Honorary Fellows, and continue in a modern context to fill the roles originally envisaged. Most are from other countries, with four from the UK. Honorary Fellows are recognised for their achievements and potential, not only in science but as ambassadors for geological science and its promotion to the wider public.

Honorary Fellows elected in 2019


Dr Yildirim Dilek

Dr Yildirim Dilek, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science at Miami University, is an advocate of interdisciplinary and international science, and a major contributor to the global geoscience community. He is not only a highly productive researcher, but he spends a great deal of time and effort serving as a science ambassador around the globe. 

He has served as a Vice President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and on the editorial boards of many international journals in Earth sciences (including the Journal of the Geological Society). 

During his stays (as a visiting professor) in China, Japan, France, Italy, Norway, Turkey, and Albania over the course of the past 20 years, he has given numerous talks and has led field many trips. He has helped young scholars and students in these countries with their research projects both in the field and in laboratory settings, and inspired a very large and diverse Earth science community around the globe. He exemplifies all the expected traits and qualifications of an Honorary Fellow of the Society.

Eric Odada

Professor Eric Onyango Odada

Professor Odada has both a national and international reputation in the field of geoscience and sustainable development. As an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society, we are confident that Professor Odada will continue this engagement, and be eager to share his perspectives and experience in using geoscience to inform international policy and support society.

Professor Odada holds a PhD in Applied Geochemistry from Imperial College London, and he is both a Professor of Geology at the University of Nairobi and Regional Director of the Global Change Research Programme in Africa. Previously, he served in Kenya as Chief Research Officer at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, and Principal Geologist with the Mines and Geology Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. As an Earth Scientist, his fundamental endeavour has been to study Global Environmental Change (GEC) as way of understanding how the Earth system works. 

A former member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on water and sanitation, Professor Odada is currently a member of the committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the Conduct of Science (CFRS) of the International Council of Science (ICSU). He is a Fellow of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS); World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) and Geological Society of Kenya (GSK). 

Khin Zaw

Professor Khin Zaw

Professor Khin Zaw is Professor of Economic Geology at CODES Centre of Ore Deposits and Earth Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Tasmania. He is the pre-eminent mineral deposits geologist in South East Asia, with well over 40 years of experience working on genetic aspects of metallic ores and gem deposits across the world. He has also published a large number of papers relating to ore genesis and mineral exploration in the Australasian region. 

Professor Zaw studied geology at the University of Rangoon, graduating in 1968. After obtaining an MSc in 1976 from Queen’s University, Canada, he was appointed to a lectureship in the University of Yangon. He then went on to leave Myanmar to study for a PhD at the University of Tasmania in Australia. After obtaining his PhD, Professor Zaw joined the CODES ARC (Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits) group at the University of Tasmania, specialising in the economic geology of South East Asia.

In order to further the study of the geosciences in Myanmar and to provide a forum and support for Myanmar geoscientists, Professor Zaw, alongside Dr Yin Yin Nwe, founded the MAESA (Myanmar Applied Earth Sciences Association) in 2016. MAESA arranges conferences and workshops with the aim of promoting the geosciences and mineral resources of Myanmar, and stimulates collaboration with foreign geoscientists, mineral companies and geoscience organisations such as the Geological Society of London.


If you wish to nominate someone for Honorary Fellowship, please complete the nomination form below and return to Nominations must be proposed and seconded by Fellows of the Geological Society.

The nomination will be placed before the External Relations Committee, which will assess whether the nomination meets the criteria agreed by Council in January 2009:

“Honorary Fellowship should be conferred on individuals from any country in the world including the UK, who have rendered significant service to science, and geoscience in particular, or who have the potential to render such service from their positions in the wider world; and who by association with the Society send out a clear message about the Society’s strategic aims and objectives.”

If the External Relations Committee supports the nomination, it will be put to Council for approval. Once approved, the nominee will be notified that they are being put forward for election, prior to advertisement in Geoscientist, and will then be elected (barring objections) at an Ordinary General Meeting.

Guidance notes

  • Fellows making a nomination must satisfy themselves that the person nominated is suitable in all respects for the privilege.
  • The expression ‘signal service’ has caused confusion; longevity and good service are not sufficient for a successful nomination.
  • The candidate should have given, and be able to continue to give, exemplary and outstanding service to the geosciences, and in making a nomination Fellows should consider:
    • Will the geosciences community within the recipient’s country recognise the Honorary Fellow’s name and understand, without explanation, why they have received the honour?
    • Will association with the recipient bring benefit to the Society, either in the UK or overseas?
    • Will the recipient understand the honour being bestowed?
  • The nomination must contain a cogent statement explaining why the candidate deserves Honorary Fellowship of the Society. It should also list five recent publications or examples of work done to promote the geosciences, for example to legislators, policy makers, opinion formers or lay audiences, through public lectures, writing, television or radio programmes.
  • In order to avoid embarrassment, Fellows should make no undertakings to persons they intend to propose for Honorary Fellowship.