Product has been added to the basket

Bruce Yardley appointed Chief Geologist

Bruce Yardley (Leeds University) has been appointed Chief Geologist by The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Chartership news

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth reports on a projected new logo for use by CGeols, advice on applications and company training schemes

Climate Change Statement Addendum

The Society has published an addendum to 'Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record' (November 2010) taking account of new research

Cracking up in Lincolnshire

Oliver Pritchard, Stephen Hallett, and Timothy Farewell consider the role of soil science in maintaining the British 'evolved road'

Critical metals

Kathryn Goodenough* on a Society-sponsored hunt for the rare metals that underpin new technologies

Déja vu all over again

As Nina Morgan Discovers, the debate over HS2 is nothing new...

Done proud

Ted Nield hails the new refurbished Council Room as evidence that the Society is growing up

Earth Science Week 2014

Fellows - renew, vote for Council, and volunteer for Earth Science Week 2014!  Also - who is honoured in the Society's Awards and Medals 2014.

Fookes celebrated

Peter Fookes (Imperial College, London) celebrated at Society event in honour of Engineering Group Working Parties and their reports

Geology - poor relation?

When are University Earth Science departments going to shed their outmoded obsession with maths, physics and chemistry?

Nancy Tupholme

Nancy Tupholme, Librarian of the Society and the Royal Society, has died, reports Wendy Cawthorne.

Power, splendour and high camp

Ted Nield reviews the refurbishment of the Council Room, Burlington House

The Sir Archibald Geikie Archive at Haslemere Educational Museum

You can help the Haslemere Educational Museum to identify subjects in Sir Archibald Geikie's amazing field notebook sketches, writes John Betterton.

Top bananas

Who are the top 100 UK practising scientists?  The Science Council knows...

Advancing geology?

GNGordon Neighbour* wonders if now is the time for the Society to become involved in developing a new Advanced level qualification in geology.

With the proposed review of both GCSE and A level examinations, it would seem the ideal time for the Geological Society to become more involved in the development of the Geology qualifications. We have seen ample evidence from Chris King and Fiona Hyden (‘Reasons to be cheerful?’ Geoscientist 21.05 June 2012), showing that the uptake of students taking Geology qualifications has been increasing over the past few years – I am sure that all fellows of the Society would see that this is good news. However we have the perennial argument concerning the “worth” of the qualification, and the suggestion that perhaps we ought to be encouraging students to pursue only mathematics, physics and chemistry if they want to follow a geology course in higher education.


So when the qualifications are reviewed, should the Geological Society follow the lead of the Institute of Physics campaign (‘Advancing Physics’) and work with examination boards and the Earth Science Teachers Association to develop a new Advanced Level course that satisfies all parties and the standards required from a professional body?

It is pleasing to see the Geological Society developing more and more online resources, with the ‘Rock-Cycle’ and ‘Plate Tectonics’, as well as the Schools Affiliate scheme, which is gaining momentum all the time. But one thing is very clear: despite the excellent work already being undertaken by the Society with the Geoscience Education Academy, helping non-specialist teachers develop their geoscience skills, it is still very much the hard-working band of teachers of ‘A’-level and GCSE Geology that inspires so many students to develop an interest in the subject. That first taste of the wonders and diversity of our science has for years ‘hooked’ students – I myself was introduced to it by an enthusiastic geography teacher while still at school.


Universities and the Society should now decide what they think the “minimum standard” should be, in terms of the skills that any potential geology student should possess before embarking on their studies in higher education. What are the skills required of a successful geoscientist in the 21st Century? If mathematics, physics and chemistry are seen as ‘vital’ components, should a new specification concentrate on developing those skills in a geosciences context?

I always argue that geology is the “perfect” science; I do not currently teach it in my own school, but I do try to develop the skills of my students with many extra-curricular opportunities, so that they are enthused by the subject. With enhanced support from the professional body it would be easier to encourage more senior leaders to teach the course in their schools – and perhaps also bring benefits to recruitment to the Society!

Over to you colleagues – how about “Advancing Geology”?

*Gordon Neighbour teaches at Torquay Girls' Grammar School.