Product has been added to the basket

2002 Awards: Citations, Replies


Wollaston Medal – Rudolf Trûmpy

The Society’s highest honour goes this year to the leading Alpine geologist of the post-war era, and one of the great field geologists of the last 60 years – Rudolf Trûmpy.

Trûmpy, in whose family geology has been a tradition of several generations, is revered all over the world for his work on the classic Alpine chains of Switzerland – especially on the Helvetics. This work was always firmly rooted in the meticulous fieldwork, structural mapping and stratigraphy that have become his trademark. He has been the prime researcher in unravelling the relationship between nappe structure and sedimentary facies belts, and was responsible for disproving the idea that individual nappes corresponded with individual facies belts in a series of works characterised by superb and detailed field observation and grand synthesis.

Trûmpy seems to know every outcrop in Switzerland, and what it means. Not only has he proved himself a genuine genius at outcrop, but a master of the grand tectonic synthesis. He has a breadth of geological knowledge that is perhaps unrivalled. His contagious enthusiasm for his chosen subject, combined with the wit, brilliance and clarity of his exposition, has made him an expert teacher of profound influence. His scientific expertise has not been confined to the theoretical. He has been active in international science policy as Treasurer and then President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and has lately researched and written authoritatively upon the history of ideas on Alpine mountain building.

Rudolf Trûmpy, you are a worthy recipient of the Society’s greatest accolade, and one who does us honour in accepting it.

Rudolf Trumpy replied:

My Lord President, Fellows of the Society, ladies and gentlemen:

I am deeply moved by receiving the Wollaston Medal. The list of former medallists contains names of scientists who have left indelible marks on the history of geology. It is almost impossible to live up to their standards. I have also noted with pleasure the names of my colleagues at the ETH, Augusto Gansser, Ken Hsü and John Ramsay. You may well imagine how stimulating it was to be a member of this "gang of four".

Looking back at my career, I am fairly happy with my task as teacher. I have worked with highly motivated graduate students, and I have appreciated the unspoiled minds of undergraduates, including geography and forestry majors. Teaching not only involves lecturing in a classroom or, preferably, on a mountaintop, but also trying to explain the marvels of Alpine geology to local non-geologists and to geologists from abroad.

I am not so sure about my scientific contributions. During my first 25 years of fieldwork, I may have made some interesting observations and recognised their meaning. But very much depends on chance: the chance of spending part of my boyhood in a valley with spectacular geological scenery, and another part in Latin America where I learned languages easily; the chance of choosing a PhD subject that, unbeknown to me at the time, would provide a key to understanding part of Alpine history.

Thanks to a gift from my father, I was able to attend the 1948 International Geological Congress in this city. It was an unforgettable experience, getting to know the great geologists whose works I had read and learning about what was going on outside our little landlocked country. I went on one field trip to the Dorset coast and on another to the Scottish Highlands, as I had not yet decided whether I was going to be a stratigrapher or a tectonician. In the Alps, you have be a bit of each. A week after my return from the Congress, I married Marianne Landry, which was another stroke of extraordinary luck.

I feel greatly honoured by this distinction from the most venerable of geological societies. I also interpret it as a mark of enduring interest in the Alps, not as a model but as a well-studied and easily accessible mountain chain, where general theories can and must be tested.

Lyell Medal – Andrew Benjamin Smith

Andrew Smith, the recipient of the Society’s Lyell Medal, pioneered the application of morphological knowledge of living to fossil echinoderms. His work has shown that the tubercles and pores of the denuded tests commonly found in the fossil record precisely reflect the nature and function of the spines and tube feet that determine the animal’s life-style. He has simultaneously developed his interests in echinoderm taxonomy, and his cladistic classification of the Phylum has now become the standard.

This rigorous taxonomic understanding has led Smith and his colleague Colin Patterson to elucidate patterns of extinction in the fossil record. He is responsible for a series of major monographs of fossil echinoderms from all over the world, and from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous. He has lately turned his attention to molecular taxonomy, and the study of ancient DNA. For more general audiences, Smith has authored beautifully illustrated textbooks and website on his beloved echinoids.

Previously honoured by the Society with its Bigsby Medal (1995), by the Linnean Society’s Bicentennial Medal (1993) and by Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1996), Andrew Smith is a worthy recipient of the Lyell Medal.

Andrew Smith replied:

I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Lyell Medal by the Geological Society. Sir Charles Lyell was not only a fellow Scot, but he was born at Kinnordy, a small town in the North East of Scotland immediately adjacent to the Highland Boundary Fault and just a little along strike from Stonehaven where I spent the formative years of my childhood.

Furthermore, he and I have both moved from the Lower Devonian of the Mearns to the south east of England to make our professional lives in London, though my route to the Chalk where I now live was rather less direct.

I have always tried to adopt a strongly Lyellian approach to palaeontology, turning to the living sea urchins for illumination on how to interpret their fossil relatives. After studying geology at Edinburgh as an undergraduate I moved to the Biology Department at Exeter University where I had the great good fortune to be supervised by David Nichols. It was there that I gained my grounding in anatomy, studying the all-important relationships between soft and hard tissue structures in sea urchins. Although I have moved on to other fields since then I have always tried to keep one foot firmly in the biological camp while exploring what the fossil record has to tell us.

Of the many that have influenced me and encouraged me along the way, Porter Kier, Chris Paul and Colin Patterson deserve especial mention, and I am pleased to acknowledge my debt to them. Both provided intellectual leadership and encouragement at key stages in my career.

Thank you, my Lord President and The Geological Society, for honouring me in this way. 

Murchison Medal – Geoffrey David Price

The Murchison Medal goes to Geoffrey David Price.

David Price is an outstanding mineral physicist who has used a wide range of experimental techniques to investigate the properties of minerals stable under the conditions found deep within the Earth’s interior.

David’s early work involved the use of transmission electron microscopy to unravel the microstructures and stabilities of a number of important phases. He published a definitive study of the subsolidus relations in the titanomagnetite series, showing how exsolution textures could be used to determine rocks’ thermal histories. He discovered the first natural occurrence of the mineral he named wadsleyite, (beta magnesium-iron silicate), now known to be a major component of the Earth’s Transition Zone.

Subsequently David’s pioneering work on the use of computer simulation to modelling the properties of mantle minerals (many of which are difficult or impossible to study experimentally) has culminated in the use of quantum mechanical analyses of many-electron systems to elucidate the mineralogy of the deep mantle and the Earth’s core.

David Price, 1983 Royal Society University Research Fellow; 1999 recipient of the Mineralogical Society’s Schlumberger Medal; Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (1997) and Member of Academia Europaea (2000), you have never previously been honoured by this Society. I am delighted now to correct this omission by awarding you the Murchison Medal for 2002.

David Price replied:

It is a great honour to receive the Murchison Medal, and I thank the Society and my colleagues for this tribute.

I was very fortune to have been taught by Dr Mike Bown while at Cambridge, who first inspired me to study Mineralogy and Petrology, and then to have been supervised by Professor Desmond McConnell, who opened my eyes to how mineralogy should be a quantitative subject and one that can be used to reveal the history and evolution of our planet.

It was Dr Stewart Agrell, however, who first introduced me to high-pressure minerals and the problems of the Earth's interior. When 1 started my research in this field, experimental studies were not able to reproduce the very high pressure of the Earth's lower mantle, so 1 turned to atomistic modelling, where for the most part my research has stayed.

I would like to thank Professor Mike Audley-Charles for inviting me to UCL in 1983, and for involving me in the scientific development of the department he recreated. As a result of this, I was able to collaborate with a number of exciting and stimulating colleagues, including Professors Richard Catlow, Steven Parker and Mike Gillan, and Drs. Dario Alfe, Ross Angel, John Brodholt Nancy Ross, Lidunka Vocadlo, lan Wood and Kate Wright. I have learnt much from the work that I have performed with these colleagues.

With the advancement in computing power and in theory, computational mineral physics is on the verge of great developments. I look forward to the 21st Century, where I am sure this sub-discipline will make a great contribution to our splendid subject.

I thank the Society again for this great honour, and I gratefully accept the Murchison Medal for 2002.


Coke Medal – John Christopher Wolverson Cope

John Cope differs from most stratigrapher-palaeontologists by virtue of his wide range of interests, covering many fossil groups and geological periods.

John made his name on the ammonites of the Upper Jurassic, where he was among the first to demonstrate sexual dimorphism throughout an entire lineage. He followed up work at home with researches on Jurassic rocks in Turkey, Albania, and Italy. He is now an internationally renowned expert on the ammonites and stratigraphy of the Jurassic System.

In the late 1970s his mapping in the Carmarthen area led to the discovery of hitherto unknown Precambrian rocks containing an Ediacaran fauna. He also discovered a tract of Cambrian rocks with rich faunas and the first Tremadoc rocks found in South Wales. In this overlooked area of South Wales, John discovered some of the world’s richest Arenig faunas, and has since described the earliest representatives of many groups of fossils. The Arenig bivalve faunas led to work that has totally revolutionised ideas on early bivalve phylogeny. In short he has now also become the leading world authority on Ordovician bivalves.

John’s demonstration of an end-Cretaceous plume under the eastern Irish Sea has elegantly explained how southern Britain was tipped up to produce the well-known geological pattern - of older rocks in England and Wales being to the north-west with a general south-eastward dip and the younger rocks to the south-east. It also explains the origin of the drainage of the southern British Isles, and his interpretation of the unroofing of the Irish Sea petroleum reservoirs has been acclaimed by petroleum geologists - a brilliant solution still not widely appreciated.

John, you have been an indefatigable worker for the Society over many years, including your major role in the Society’s palaeogeographical atlas of the British Isles, your service as Publications Secretary and as Treasurer – a fact that has rendered him ineligible for a Society honour for over a decade. John, I am delighted to couple our thanks for that service with this acknowledgement of your distinguished contributions to science, in bestowing upon you now the Coke Medal.

John Cope replied:

My Lord President, Fellows, Guests: Although I grew up in a geological household, I had no aspirations to become a geologist, until, at the age of 15 we had a family holiday in Dorset and I collected my first ammonites and, for want of something better to do one evening, picked up a copy of Arkell’s The Jurassic System in Great Britain. I could not put it down, and was convinced, there and then, that I wanted to follow an academic career in geology and pursue research into ammonites. Arkell’s book has, for me, long served as a model of how to write good geological English.

Ammonites have, however, on several occasions, been close to being my downfall. In my first year at university I reopened one of the old quarries in the Inferior Oolite of Dundry Hill. After one particularly successful ammonite collecting day I lifted a heavy rucksack onto my back and started to cycle back to Bristol. Part way down the long one in five gradient my brakes failed. I hurtled round the first sharp bend on the wrong side of the road and went on to reach terminal velocity for a bicycle before stopping on the next up-gradient. Much more recently, collecting ammonites in a remote area of Albania, I was at the receiving end of a renegade soldier’s sub-machine gun, but survived that unscathed, thanks to a quick-witted Albanian driver.

In my final undergraduate year I received my first lesson in the egocentricity of some heads of departments. One day in Shropshire, the professor left two of us to find trilobites; we quickly found them, but then I noticed a siltstone lenticle that I carefully extracted and split, to reveal exquisitely preserved crinoids. On the professor’s return he immediately confiscated them, saying "Ramsbottom must see these". Twenty five years later I had to identify crinoids I found in South Wales and opened up the monograph on Ordovician crinoids. There on the first plate were my crinoids, a new species, and the professor was thanked for donation of the material.

My research interests widened dramatically in the late 1970s, thanks to a keen extra-mural class who requested more fieldwork. I suggested mapping, but then had to find somewhere suitable, and selected the area south-west of Carmarthen. The one-inch map showed Ordovician Arenig Series, unconformably overlain by Old Red Sandstone; there were also igneous rocks and improbable faults. I could not have picked a better area; within a short time we had proved the Tremadoc Series and went on to make other discoveries the President has referred to. I owe my extramural group a great deal for getting me involved in such rewarding geology.

Bulk collection was the key to proving the age of the Tremadoc rocks, and, with a dozen willing field assistants, I used this technique regularly. No more so, however, than from one quarry from which I broke up some 20 tonnes of Arenig rock in the laboratory over a decade and recovered thousands of fossils, including the most diverse Early Ordovician bivalve fauna known. Ordovician bivalves have provided the focus for much of my recent research and, coming as a mature researcher into a new research field, I developed a new model of early bivalve evolution that has enabled major progress to be made.

My move to Cardiff, from Swansea, in 1989, gave me relief from a heavy teaching load and the administration that several spells as Head of Department entailed, and provided much more research time. So much so that in under 13 years at Cardiff, I have published more papers than I did in 28 years in Swansea.

You have alluded to my work on uplift in the Irish Sea; this has been cited widely and generated a plethora of speaking invitations. Such are the vagaries of taste, however, that this work was not included in the departmental submission for the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise.

Throughout my career I have enjoyed supervising student mapping, often around the margins of the French Massif Central. The present decline in the numbers of staff of Earth Science departments who are capable of training students in this key discipline is a development we should view with concern.

My researches have been encouraged and supported by my wife Pauline. To record my indebtedness to her I named an Arenig bivalve Paulinea after her. I think she was quite pleased by this, but her reaction was rather equivocal when she read the diagnosis of the type species, which said that it was "small and moderately inflated".

My Lord President, it gives me great pleasure to accept the Coke Medal.

Prestwich Medal – Adrian William Amsler Rushton

The Prestwich Medal goes to Adrian Rushton who, over more than 35 years has made important contributions to Lower Palaeozoic geology, correlation and palaeontology.

His work at the British Geological Survey provided the stratigraphical control that ensured the scientific correctness of their geological maps, as will be readily acknowledged by any one of fifty or more colleagues, among whose names his was often modestly to be found. His contribution to the reinterpretation of the Lake District, Snowdonia, the Southern Uplands and the Lower Palaeozoic subcrop of the English Midlands, has been immeasurable, but as his impressive list of over 140 publications attests, hardly a single area of the Lower Palaeozoic in the British Isles has been left untouched by his hand.

Adrian Rushton, previous recipient of the Society’s Lyell Fund (1977), renowned scientific editor, leading expert on the Cambrian and its trilobites but legendarily knowledgeable about all fossils from brachiopods to graptolites, I am delighted to acknowledge your lifetime contribution in this award.

Adrian Rushton replied:

My Lord President, I am much honoured by the award of the Prestwich Medal, and am gratified, and not a little astonished, to find my name listed in the company of those geological heroes that were past recipients of this medal.

Sir Joseph Prestwich was one of the great Victorian geologists who, almost single-handed, accomplished a huge amount, and in a wide range of geological endeavours. In his particular case, his achievements were an the more remarkable because he was only a geologist part-time; it is pleasing to think of him a noted London wine-merchant, seeking as a hydrogeologist also to provide London with a good supply of clean drinking-water.

But such single-handed endeavours as those of Prestwich are all but impossible today and I am therefore very glad that you mentioned my many colleagues in the British Geological Survey. These days, more than ever before, geological surveying is best accomplished by a team that boasts a diversity of expertise; the meeting of several minds over a complicated problem will then lead to a more informed and robust interpretation of the geology. I was most fortunate to have been involved in a number of the Geological Survey's multidisciplinary projects, and I am glad to tell you that I have on occasions been well guided by colleagues expert in such fields such as geophysics and geochemistry. I in turn have endeavoured to offer my companions equally satisfactory and far-reaching advice. Accordingly I am happy to acknowledge that this medal reflects in large part the achievements of my friends and colleagues in the field, the laboratory and the museum.

Aberconway Medal – Andrew Stewart Mackenzie

The Aberconway Medal 2002 goes to Andrew Mackenzie, who has made extraordinary and long-lasting contributions to our understanding of petroleum generation, migration and entrapment. His work has influenced geoscientists in every country and organisation where the business of oil and gas exploration is pursued.

This remarkable journey began when Andrew unravelled the geological fate of steroids and chlorophylls buried in sediments. This led to new tools to constrain the temperature histories of sedimentary basins and the origins of hydrocarbon accumulations. This work - together with kinetic models for the breakdown of sedimentary organics – helped define the conditions needed for the release of commercial quantities of oil and gas from source rocks. Andrew has also made original and groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of overpressure in sedimentary basins, and how it affects migration from source to trap.

Andrew’s work has become "part of the furniture", enshrined in mathematical models used everywhere to predict the likely location, composition and sizes of hydrocarbon accumulations.

Andrew Mackenzie, your work has had immeasurable economic and scientific impact and I am delighted to honour it with the award of the Society’s Aberconway Medal.

Andrew Mackenzie replied:

Thank you, Lord Oxburgh, for these kind remarks. It is a great honour to receive such splendid recognition for work done now over 10 years ago. I am delighted that it has had such a lasting impact.

Many of you know that I have moved on – following a career that touched most parts of the energy and petrochemicals industry, I looked after Technology and Engineering for BP, before moving to my current role, running Petrochemicals in North and South America.

In many respects my changes were enabled by my grounding in Earth science, and more especially geochemistry. Not because it helped me put a straight line though a cloud of points, but because of the grounding I had in the physics and chemistry of petroleum.

My current role has me managing the hi-tech business of making some very complicated but very useful molecules from petroleum. I started looking at very complex molecules in petroleum, trying to unravel the geological fate of natural products such as steroids and chlorophylls. At the start of my talks I used to use a cartoon of Snoopy looking at a leaf falling into a forming coal swamp saying: "your troubles are just beginning".

In my early career I followed Snoopy looking at how these complicated molecules got unravelled, and how the unravelling could be used to determine the temperature history of oil source-rocks and hence a more precise understanding of the geological conditions it takes to make prolific oil and gas deposits. I am sure that this understanding, along with 3D seismic, has played a huge part in reducing exploration uncertainty from 1 in 10 to the ability to find oil and gas with dry holes – a remarkable change that has hugely added to non-OPEC oil and gas reserves. It was a real pleasure to be part of the teams that did this – and I will never forget my Eureka moment when at 2am one morning in 1979, staring at the output of a mass spectrometer I realised the isomerisation sequence of steroid hydrocarbons in oil.

But my latter day Snoopy has been a creature of the underworld – perhaps Cerberus - looking at the oil and gas itself and saying its trouble was just beginning - having a well drilled into it, being produced, distilled, cracked, reformed, alkylated and hydrogenated, separated, oxidised, and polymerised. There is nothing that special about this – without the intrusion of the drill bit, deeper burial would have done this anyway! Refineries and chemical plants are simply geology, speeded up.

It is a huge pleasure to work in this hi-tech industry - a huge British success story built on our leadership in Earth science; an industry now using science to make cleaner fuels and more wonderful plastics and textiles; an industry using the understanding of geo and biochemical cycles to drive down and remove its less desirable environmental side-effects; an industry with a great future.

There is much still to do. I guess my two wishes would be: how to predict precisely whether the hydrocarbons we are likely to find will be oil or gas, and how to use geological processes and energies to make plastic bottles. Perhaps I should ask Snoopy and Cerberus?

William Smith Medal - Nicholas Ambraseys

The William Smith Medal goes to Nick Ambraseys, a giant in the field of earthquake engineering and seismic hazard assessment, and a major contributor to our understanding of active faulting and continental tectonics.

Nick realised earlier than most the importance of neotectonic field observation, and as long ago as the early 1960s was recording field observations on coseismic faulting in earthquake areas. This was at a time when there was no solid theoretical basis to connect slip on a fault with seismic radiation. Once this was developed, his meticulous measurements could be used to advance our understanding of active tectonic processes.

His second major contribution has been in understanding historical earthquakes using original documentary evidence and fieldwork. This has been a massive, life-long effort of scholarship requiring the skills of linguist and historian as well as those of a geologist.

Nick Ambraseys, the way you have combined theoretical advances with practical application makes you an ideal recipient of the Medal named for our science’s founding father.

Nic Ambraseys replied:

It is a great privilege to become a Medallist of the Geological Society, and in presenting me with this award the Society has done me a great honour for which I should like to express my thanks and deep appreciation.

The best way to deal with an unexpected gift such as this is to pass it on by sharing it. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this award, which the Society has so encouragingly given me, to my early mentors - from whom I have learnt much of what I know of engineering seismology. I have been privileged to work over many years with many Fellows of the Society and I would like to acknowledge here the part that they have played in my own interdisciplinary endeavours. I should like to refer to the great help and encouragement I have always received from Alec Skempton, John Sutton, Bob Wallace, Clarence Allen, and in particular from Vladimir Beloussov, the devil's advocate of plate tectonics, who pushed me into the breach between Earth sciences and engineering. I am also grateful to my wife for bearing with my absence in the field, and for what is even more difficult, bearing with my presence when back.

For many years I have derived a great deal of pleasure in my fieldwork and interest in teaching. To anyone who is really concerned with engineering seismology it is becoming increasingly apparent that the site of a damaging earthquake is a full-scale laboratory from which significant discoveries may be made by seismologists, geologists, engineers, sociologists or economists -not to mention politicians. As our knowledge of the complexity of earthquakes has increased, we become more and more aware of the limitations that Nature has imposed in our capacity to predict their effects, on purely theoretical bases. It is field observations and measurements that allow the interaction of ideas and the testing of theories between members of a field party and help the young scientist to choose his line of research on realistic grounds and with enthusiasm. I feel that today much effort has been diverted to computing and that field observations are now called for.

I am delighted and honoured that the Society should have chosen to interest itself in my work, joining a company of so many distinguished geologists who have been awarded this honour since its creation. The broadmindedness of the Society is apparent in that it can do this to one not "brought up" as geologist.

I should like to take this opportunity of saying again how much I appreciate the honour that the Society has conferred on me. I accept this medal with gratitude.

RH Worth Prize - David Barnard Thompson

David Thompson has made key contributions to geology in the field of primary sedimentary structures, and has made important contributions to our understanding of the Permo-Triassic sediments and palaeoenvironments of the Cheshire Basin, - work that has had considerable influence on the hydrocarbon exploration in NW England and the Southern Irish Sea.

However tonight, in awarding him the RH Worth Prize, the Society acknowledges over 40 years’ contribution to geological education in the UK. Throughout a long career teaching and training geoscience and other science teachers, he has served with distinction upon many local, national and international bodies – including this Society’s Education Committee (from the early 1970s to 1998) and several committees of the Royal Society. He remains a strong supporter of the Geologists’ Association, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Earth Science Teachers’ Association – of which he was made Honorary Life Member in 1990. His work world-wide was recognised by an award of the International Geoscience Education Organisation in Hawaii in 1997.

David Thompson, you have been an unfailing advocate of the benefit of teaching many different sciences through the medium of geoscience and have been heavily involved in campaigning for the integration of geological topics into the National Curriculum. Your support for teachers, pupils and amateur geologists is legendary and unwavering. You are indeed a worthy recipient of this award.

Lyell Fund – Simon Philip Turner

The Lyell Fund is awarded to Simon Philip Turner.

Simon Turner has over 60 publications to his credit, of which an impressive number are highly cited lead-author papers in major journals like Science, Nature and Geology. His research expertise includes continental flood basalts and post-orogenic lavas, but his principal theme - for which he has an international reputation – has been the uranium series isotopic study of lavas, especially from volcanic arc settings.

Simon has been able to make major advances in magma genesis and was the first to try to quantify element recycling rates at subduction zones, and showing that these timescales are much shorter than previously supposed.

Simon Turner, I am delighted to award you this moiety of the Lyell Fund 2002.

Wollaston Fund – Richard Henry Worden

The Wollaston Fund is awarded to Richard Henry Worden, who has established an international reputation for his wide-ranging research in oilfield diagenesis, developing a wide range of expertise in diagenetic and metamorphic problems with theoretical and practical implications.

Beginning with novel doctoral research into transmission electron microscope studies of sheet silicates and their reaction mechanisms, Richard moved onto alkali feldspars in low temperature settings, and eventually to diagenesis as a sedimentary geochemist at BP (Sunbury). There he worked on a wide range of projects including a major diagenetic study of the sediments of the Paris Basin and developed his interest in reservoir quality controls. His work on gas souring through thermochemical sulphate reduction has had major worldwide impact. He has since worked on fluids in oilfields and their compartmentation, and made significant contributions to the literature on cements in sandstones.

Richard Worden, I am pleased to award you the Society’s Wollaston Fund for 2002.

Murchison Fund – Philip Conrad James Donoghue

The Murchison Fund goes this year to Philip Donoghue.

Philip is an outstanding young palaeontologist who has made a major contribution to the palaeobiology of conodonts. In recent years conodonts have been shown to occupy a pivotal position in the early evolution of vertebrates. Donoghue's work, independently and in collaboration with other palaeontologists and developmental biologists, has been of particular significance in helping to determine the selection pressures driving the origin of the vertebrate skeleton and its development within the conodont clade.

How the conodont animal fits within the vertebrate clade has been a topic of heated debate for the last ten years, and Phil Donoghue's painstaking and exhaustive cladistic research has provided by far the most thorough analysis of this question to date. He has done innovative work on conodont histology, showing how conodont elements grew, and allowing new functional interpretations of conodont microstructure. Jointly with Mark Purnell, he has led efforts to reconstruct the conodont apparatus in rigorous architectural detail and to use this information in analyses of functional morphology

Philip Donoghue, I am pleased to award you the Murchison Fund 2002.

William Smith Fund – Simon Stewart

The William Smith Fund is awarded to Simon Stewart.

Simon Stewart completed his PhD as recently as 1992, but has since made startling contributions to the structural geology of sedimentary basins. His publication record, especially considering his age and the fact that he has chosen to publish this material in the little free time afforded him by a busy career in the hydrocarbon industry, is remarkable – including 14 papers as first author, all in top journals.

His main field has been in the analysis of salt tectonics, palaeomagnetic fold analysis, structural interpretation of seismic data and curvature mapping. His salt tectonic work has had major impact, creating a more systematic view of salt structures and their role in the North Sea. He has had to courage to try to disentangle compressive structures from halokinetic features in areas affected by both (such as the Southern North Sea).

Simon recently served as Secretary of the Society’s Petroleum Group (1999-2001), and must take a lot of the credit for the continuing success of their conferences – which currently run at about eight a year. This he does, we believe, not because he has to, but out of sheer love of his science and regard for the Society’s well being.

It gives me great pleasure to award Simon Stewart the William Smith Fund 2002.

Distinguished Service Award – Peter John Smith

Peter J. Smith has, for over 30 years, been an indefatigable writer, journalist, editor and teacher. He has been the author of over 4000 articles for Nature, The Spectator, New Statesman, New Scientist, The Times, The Times Higher, The Guardian, The Observer, etc., which have served to raise the profile of the Earth sciences in the wider community.

He founded, edited and published Open Earth (1978-1985) and then, in 1986, became scientific editor – and later, in 1991, editor – of Geology Today, for which he writes most of the news items. Indeed, since 1986, most of his writing has been for Geology Today. He has also contributed greatly to the Open University’s Earth science – mainly geophysics – courses over three decades and more, and was one of those who initially assured the great success of that institution.

Peter Smith, I am delighted to have this opportunity to acknowledge your long career in writing about the Earth sciences for a generation of students, teachers and the general public.

President’s Award

The first of two President’s Awards goes to Richard Barke of Oxford University, who is working on the late Tertiary and Quaternary tectonics of the Andes supervised jointly by Simon Lamb and Barry Parsons. An Oxford graduate who subsequently went to Leeds, in 2000 he came back to Oxford to work on a PhD project using both fieldwork and remote sensing studies of the deformation across the Bolivian Andes. His field area is a transect stretching from the eastern lowlands, through the fold and thrust belt and Eastern Cordillera, to the Altiplano.

Using palaeomag samples he has found anticlockwise rotations to the north of his area and clockwise rotations to the south, in rocks aged 6-10 million years - showing that oroclinal bending is probably still continuing today.

President’s Award

The second President’s Award goes to Artem Oganov (University College London). Artem came to UCL from the University of Moscow with a Russian President's Scholarship. He has worked under the supervision of Dr John Brodholt, but I have also enjoyed working with him. He has just submitted his thesis on the application of ab initio methods in the simulation of the properties of mantle -forming phases. He has a paper in Nature, where he presents the first ever ab initio calculation of high temperature elastic constants. His other important contributions include a thermal model of the mantle and extensive theoretical studies of aluminium silicate minerals.