SAMS news room

Royal honour for SAMS president

Oban, July 10, 2014 -- The president of SAMS has been awarded a royal medal for his lifetime’s work developing and promoting glaciology.

Glaciologist Professor Geoffrey Boulton received The Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Founder’s Gold Medal at this year’s recent annual presentation. Approved by the queen, the Society’s royal medals are among the highest awards of their kind in the world, and are presented annually in recognition of excellence and outstanding achievements in geographical research and fieldwork, teaching and public engagement.

SAMS Director Professor Laurence Mee said: “We are delighted that Geoffrey has been honoured with the Royal Medal. The founder of SAMS, the pioneering oceanographer Sir John Murray, was honoured with the medal in 1895 and it is wonderful to see that medal awarded to our president on the centenary of Murray’s death.”

Professor Boulton, who is also Regius Professor of Geology Emeritus and former Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh, has led research integral to the improved understanding of glacial sediments, the development of ice sheets and quantitative theories of erosion and deposition. He has published more than 150 research papers.

RGS President Professor Dame Judith Rees said: “Within the field of glacial science, Professor Boulton is one of the most influential practitioners of his generation. Current generations follow and test concepts set out by him. Even in retirement he is still pushing frontiers: using geophysics beneath an Antarctic ice stream to observe the process of drumlin formation.”

Professor Boulton, who was elected president of SAMS in 2012, has held numerous powerful posts, including member of the prime minister’s Council for Science and Technology, the Scottish Science Advisory Committee and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. He currently chairs the Royal Society’s Science Policy Centre.

The Royal Geographical Society awarded its first gold medal in 1831. Since 1839 the Society has awarded annually two royal gold medals, the Founder’s Medal and the Patron’s medal, that are of equal value and merit. For over 180 years they have recognised “the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery”.

Previous recipients include Captain Robert Falcon Scott, David Livingstone, Fridtjof Nansen and Sir David Attenborough.

Professor Boulton received his medal at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual general meeting at the Society in central London in June.

Photo used with permission ©RGS-IBG/Mark Earthy.

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