Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group


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IPA Award

John's Lifetime Achievement Award

John Birks was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Palaeolimnology at the 12th International Paleolimnology Symposium in Glasgow.

John Birks, with Rick Battarbee and John Smol, the medal and title page of...
John Birks, with Rick Battarbee and John Smol, the medal and title page of John's talk.
Hilary Birks

His achievements are summarised by John Smol as:

"Prof. H. John B. Birks transformed palaeolimnology in the 1980s by introducing powerful new numerical techniques that allowed us to reconstruct changes in past lake water chemistry from fossil diatom records in a rigorous quantitative way. The techniques he introduced have now become standard in probably every palaeolimnology laboratory in the world. It is hard to fully appreciate John’s legacy in this regard, except to say that his contributions and influence were enormous. Although John must be one of the busiest scientists on the planet, he never hesitates to help colleagues and especially young students as they try and understand numerical methods in palaeolimnology. His work on the editorial board of the Journal of Paleolimnology, since its inception, has been exemplary. He is a remarkable leader and role model for younger scientists. In summary, John Birks is an outstanding scientist, colleague, teacher and writer, whose influence on our field has been and is extraordinary."

The medal was presented by the past and present Presidents of the International Paleolimnology Association, Prof Rick Battarbee (centre) and Prof John Smol (right). John then presented an amusing account of his scientific lifetime (a pdf of which can be found on the right).