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Geological Society Awards 2015

Wollaston Medal

18 February 2015

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2015 awards, to be presented at President's Day on 3 June.

The Wollaston Medal, our highest award, is this year presented to James Jackson, Professor of Active Tectonics at the University of Cambridge. Professor Jackson's insights into active tectonics cover a wide range of regions, including New Zealand, Iran,Turkey, Greece and Tibet. By observing the active processes which shape our continents he has made vital contributions to the study of the evolution and deformation of continents on all scales, from the movement of individual faults in earthquakes to the evolution of mountain belts. Through his teaching, he has inspired a generation of geologists in a wide range of fields.

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 geological map of England, Wales and part of Scotland, now regarded as 'the map that changed the world', was the first of its kind. First published in 1815, the map is this year celebrating its bicentenary.

The winner of this year's Lyell Medal, awarded to geologists whose research has made a significant contribution to 'soft' rock studies, is Professor Colin Ballantyne of the University of St Andrews. Through meticulous and painstaking field research in the UK, the Alps, New Zealand and North America, Professor Ballantyne has transformed our understanding of glacial and post glacial environments, and of Pleistocene ice sheet growth and decay.

The Murchison Medal, awarded to geologists who have contributed significantly to 'hard' rock studies, is awarded to Geoffrey Wadge of the University of Reading. His major contributions in the field of geology and remote sensing cover a wide range of areas, including volcanology, Caribbean tectonics and the development of novel methods of monitoring volcanoes, contributing to the study of volcanic hazards and societal risk assessment.

The William Smith Medal, awarded for excellence in applied and economic aspects of geology, is awarded to Anthony Doré, Senior Advisor to Exploration Management at Statoil, for his tireless work in forging links between industry and academia, carrying out work of exception scientific as well as economic importance.

The awards will be presented by Geological Society President Professor David Manning at President's Day on 3 June.


The 2015 Geological Society Awards in full: 

Wollaston Medal: Professor James Jackson, University of Cambridge

Lyell Medal: Professor Colin Ballantyne, University of St Andrews

Murchison Medal: Professor Geoffrey Wadge, University of Reading

William Smith Medal: Professor Anthony Doré, Statoil

Coke Medal: Professor Sarah Davies, University of Leicester

Coke Medal: Professor Rory Mortimore, ChalkRock Limited

Bigsby Medal: Professor Daniel Parsons, University of Hull

Prestwich Medal: Profesor Alastair Robertson, University of Edinburgh

Aberconway Medal: Dr Stuart Archer, Dana Petroleum

Sue Tyler Friedman Medal: Dr David Branagan, University of Sydney

Distinguished Service Award: Professor John Catt

R H Worth Prize: Mr Peter Loader, Teacher

Wollaston Fund: Dr Stefanie Hautmann, University of Bristol

William Smith Fund: Dr Sarah Bradley, Utrecht University

Lyell Fund: Dr Esther Sumner, University of Southampton

Murchison Fund: Dr Sebastian Watt, University of Birmingham

Notes for editors

1. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body, of almost 10,000 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 2015 Awards will be presented at President’s Day 2015, to be held at Burlington House on 3 June.

4. A complete list of the Society’s medal winners may be found at Awards, Grants and Bursaries.