Glaciologist Professor Julian Dowdeswell honoured as Fellow

Chancellor Sir Emyr Jones Parry with Professor Julian Dowdeswell

Chancellor Sir Emyr Jones Parry with Professor Julian Dowdeswell

15 July 2016

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography in the University of Cambridge, has been presented with an Honorary Fellowship of Aberystwyth University.

Julian has a long association with Aberystwyth University, having lectured in geography between 1986 and 1989, and then again as Professor of Glaciology between 1994 and 1998.

Julian was the Founding Director of the University’s Centre for Glaciology, which has become one of the leading British research groups concerned with the study of glaciers and their sedimentary products.  The Centre celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell was presented as Fellow on Friday 15 July by Professor Neil Glasser from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences.

Presentation of Professor Julian Dowdeswell

Canghellor, Is-Ganghellor, darpar raddedigion, gyfeillion.  Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Julian Dowdeswell yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, prospective graduates and supporters.  It is an honour and a privilege to present Julian Dowdeswell as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell is Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography in the University of Cambridge.

Julian is a glaciologist, working on the form and flow of glaciers and ice caps and their response to climate change. He also studies the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record, using a variety of satellite, airborne and shipborne geophysical tools.

In a career of more than 30 years, he has taught in the universities of Aberystwyth, Bristol and Cambridge, and established world-leading glaciology research centres both here in Aberystwyth and in Bristol.

Since 2002, he has been Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography in Cambridge University. He is also Brian Buckley Fellow in Polar Science at Jesus College.

Julian has a long association with Aberystwyth. He worked here first as a Lecturer in Physical Geography between 1986 and 1989, and then again between 1994 and 1998 when he was Professor of Glaciology and the Founding Director of our Centre for Glaciology.  The Centre for Glaciology is still going strong and celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. It is a lasting legacy to his time here in Aberystwyth. 

Over the years, he has brought the joys of glaciology to thousands of Undergraduate students, supervised countless research students and mentored junior staff. During his career as a glaciologist he has published nearly three hundred research articles in academic journals, and he has written both academic and popular science books. He has also served the academic community on both Arctic and Antarctic research funding panels, on the Natural Environment Research Council and on the committees of Learned Organizations.

Julian originates from Oxford and remains an avid supporter of Oxford United Football Club. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1980, and studied for a Masters Degree at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research in the University of Colorado in the USA and then for a PhD in the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. He has worked both on the ice itself and from aircraft in Antarctica and many parts of the Arctic, including Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland and the Russian and Canadian Arctic archipelagos. He has also undertaken many fieldwork seasons aboard ice-breakers and research ships in the fjords of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Julian is also committed to furthering the public understanding of science.  He has written widely about polar science and history, and glaciology, for the wider public. He also frequently appears as an expert on national TV, radio and other media, and he has written popular books including contributions on the polar explorers Shackleton and Scott. He has also obtained large-scale funding for major expansion of the world-renown Scott Polar Research Institute polar library, museum and archives.

Julian was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen for ‘outstanding contributions to glacier geophysics’ and has also received the Founder’s Gold Medal in 2008 and the Gill Memorial Award in 1998 from the Royal Geographical Society. In 2011 he was awarded the Louis Agassiz Medal by the European Geosciences Union for ‘outstanding contributions to the study of polar ice masses and to the understanding of the processes and patterns of sedimentation in glacier-influenced marine environments.’ In 2014 he received the IASC Medal from the International Arctic Science Committee ‘as a World leader in the field of Arctic glaciology and for his outreach and communication activities which have been instrumental for public understanding of Arctic change’.

And now, to top all these international awards and achievements, we are delighted that he has agreed to accept an Honorary Fellowship from Aberystwyth University. 

Chancellor, it is my absolute pleasure to present Julian Dowdeswell to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Canghellor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Julian Dowdeswell i chi yn Gymrawd. 

Aberystwyth University Honours 2016

Twelve individuals are being honoured by Aberystwyth University during the 2016 graduation ceremonies, which take place at the University’s Arts Centre from Tuesday 12 July until Friday 15 July.

Eight Honorary Fellowships will be presented to individuals who have, or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

One Honorary Doctorate degree will be presented.  These are presented to individuals who have been outstandingly successful in their field, or who have a long record of renowned research and publication.

Three Honorary Bachelor degrees will be presented.  These are presented to individuals who are members of Aberystwyth University staff without an entry-level degree in recognition of long-service, contribution and dedication to the Institution; and members of the local community who have made a significant contribution to Aberystwyth and the area.

Also being honoured are:

Honorary Fellowships:

Dr Catherine Bishop, triple Olympian, international conflict diplomat and experienced speaker and facilitator

Natasha Devon MBE, writer, campaigner, television pundit, and founder of the Self Esteem Team

Charmian Gooch, anti-corruption campaigner and co-founder and director of Global Witness

Ruth Lambert MBE, former Chairman of the Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust, who organised the Machynlleth Festival and the exhibition programme of MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) Machynlleth for almost thirty years

Dr Mitch Robinson, international law specialist for the US Department of Defense specialising in human rights, and an alumnus of the University

Sir Evans Paul Silk KCB, President of the Study of Parliament Group; formerly clerk in the British House of Commons, Clerk to the National Assembly for Wales and chair of the Commission on Devolution in Wales

A J S “Bill” Williams MBE (1920-2016), RAF pilot and Aberystwyth University lecturer named in 2014 as one of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 175 Faces of Chemistry.

Honorary Doctorate Degree:

Professor Ken Walters, Distinguished Research Professor in the University’s Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Society

Honorary Bachelor Degrees:

Karina Shaw, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Penglais, Aberystwyth, Director of the Penparcau Community Forum, founder member and current Chairwoman of the Penparcau History and Heritage group, and charity volunteer

Aled Haydn Jones, Welsh radio editor, presenter and former radio producer with BBC Radio 1, and presenter with S4C.

Stefan Osgood (1994-2016), who achieved and contributed a great deal while studying at Aberystwyth, including through his involvement in sports, and as an exceptional contributor to Raising and Giving at the University 





Professor Julian Dowdeswell

Chancellor Sir Emyr Jones Parry with Professor Julian Dowdeswell

Chancellor Sir Emyr Jones Parry and Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon with Professor Julian Dowdeswell (centre)