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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 currently 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

View the list of Honorary Fellows

How to nominate

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

The nomination will be placed before the Awards Committee, chaired by the President, which will decide whether the nomination meets the criteria agreed by Council in January 2009 that “Honorary Fellowship should be conferred on individuals from any country in the world including the UK, who have rendered signal 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.”

Once agreed the nominee will be notified that they are being put forward for election prior to advertisement in Geoscientist and election, 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.

Newly Elected Honorary Fellows

Two new Honorary Fellows were elected at the Ordinary General Meeting on 25 September 2014

Professor Patrick De Deckker

Prof Patrick De Deckker

Patrick De Deckker, Belgian by birth and Australian by naturalisation, is one of Australia’s most distinguished Earth scientists. Having graduated in Australia in 1971 he worked briefly in Europe before returning to Australia to carry out research and subsequently spent most of his career at the Australian National University in Canberra including time as Head of the former Department of Geology. Patrick recently took early retirement to focus on research on past Quaternary climates in the Australian region.

Patrick was awarded a PhD in Zoology from the University of Adelaide in 1981 and a DSc by the same institution in Geology in 2002, but his contribution to Australian and international Earth science is more accurately reflected by his publication list of c.200 publications in refereed journals and 7 edited volumes, in the fields of Micropalaeontology and the chemical composition of microfossils, Limnology especially of salt lakes, Aeolian Dust and Airborne Deposits and in Palaeoceanography. Patrick holds the Verco Medal, Royal Society of South Australia, 1992; Australian Society for Limnology Medal, 2005; Order of Australia Medal, 2007; Christoffel Plantin Medal, 2008; Mawson Medal of Australian Academy of Sciences, 2010. Patrick became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2012.

Dr John (Jack) Hess

Jack Hess

Jack Hess has been Executive Director of the Geological Society of America since 2001, a role from which he will retire shortly. During Jack’s tenure collaboration between our two Societies has developed dramatically in terms of co-sponsored meetings and marketing, and as a joint positive influence in international geopolitics. On ‘retirement’ Jack is expected to assume the role of President of the GSA Foundation. This is an important function and will ensure his continuing links to geosciences both in the United States and internationally and the Society can look forward to the continuation of a mutually beneficial relationship with GSA.

Much of Jack’s scientific career was spent at the Division of Hydrologic Sciences of the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas and Reno rising from Assistant to Associate to full Research Professor including Director of the Environmental Isotope Laboratory. Latterly he was Executive Director of the DHS and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He spent a year carrying out research at the SURRC, East Kilbride, UK and another secondment was to a Senatorial office in Washington, DC as a Legislative Fellow to advise on radioactive waste, renewable energy and other science and technology matters. His research career was carried on in parallel with teaching and student supervision and steadily increasing administrative responsibilities.