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(l-r) Professor John Underhill and Professor David Manning, Geological Society President.

Professor John Underhill, Chair of Exploration Geoscience in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) at Heriot-Watt, has been presented with the Lyell Medal by the Geological Society.

John’s research has occupied the forefront of North Sea geology and petroleum geology for the last 30 years.
Professor David Manning

Named after Sir Charles Lyell, the Medal was first awarded in 1876 and is their top geological award. It is given to someone who has made a significant contribution to the science by means of a substantial body of research. Workers in both 'pure' and 'applied' aspects of the geological sciences are eligible but normally given for contributions to structural, sedimentological and stratigraphic basin studies. Professor Underhill is the only University staff member to win the Medal in its 140 year history.

Career achievements

The award was presented by the Geological Society’s President, Professor David Manning, at the Society’s President’s Day held at Burlington House, Piccadilly. Professor Manning cited Professor Underhill’s achievements including the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), led by Heriot-Watt, and his contribution to the establishment of the Lyell Centre, as well as his personal work in the field.

“Few academics have made a more significant contribution to our understanding of UK Continental Shelf geology than John Underhill.  Founded on over 170 publications, receiving over 3,500 citations, John’s research has occupied the forefront of North Sea geology and petroleum geology for the last 30 years. He has also shown expertise in a wide variety of fields that include sedimentology, structural geology, stratigraphy and geo-archaeology.

“John has made a major contribution to the Geological Society having been a Council Member and populated the Petroleum Group’s committee. He was also the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) President in 2012.

“John Underhill is an inspiring mentor, and universally respected for professional integrity, a fact borne out by his being the only academic representative on the UK Government’s Oil and Gas Technology Leadership Board.  Here perhaps, his many years’ experience as an international football referee will stand him in good stead.”