The president of a Highland marine science institute has been awarded a royal medal for his lifetime’s work studying glaciers.
Professor Geoffrey Boulton of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) based at Dunstaffnage, near Oban received the Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Founder’s Gold Medal at this year’s 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.”
Prof Boulton, who is also Regius Professor of Geology Emeritus and former Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh, has led research that has been 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. Even in retirement he is still pushing frontiers, using geophysics beneath an Antarctic ice stream to observe the process of drumlin formation.”
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 famous explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott, (Scott of the Antarctic) David Livingstone, Fridtjof Nansen and naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.