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Senior Fellow Receives the William Smith Fund Award from the Geological Society of London

Fred Richards, a Senior Fellow from our 2018 cohort has recently received the William Smith Fund award for his research applying geology and geophysics to resolve major scientific challenges.

The award recognizes science from Fred’s Fellowship Year at Harvard University, which he has continued to expand in his current role as an Imperial College Research Fellow at Imperial College, London.

The William Smith Fund is awarded to an early-career geoscientist who has made an excellent contribution to geoscience research and its application, in the UK and internationally.

In particular, the Geological Society of London acknowledged Fred’s work on the development of inverse and forward methods to map temperature and viscosity in the Earth’s mantle, providing insight into a range of geological and geophysical phenomena with wide-ranging implications. Fred was also recognized for his current work exploring the implications of 3D viscosity variations for glacial isostatic adjustment and rates of future sea-level rise.

The Antarctic Peninsula - Fred's current work focuses on trying to understand the mantle structure beneath this region and how it will affect rates of future ice loss and sea-level rise.

Fred’s nomination considered his contribution to the geoscience community where Fred has taken part in outreach and public policy engagement work, including coordinating events for the Royal Astronomical Society’s Early Career Network, and a series of influential papers with an international network of collaborators on diverse topics, in particular work initiated during his Fellowship Year on sediment-hosted mineral deposits along cratonic margins that received attention in both the academic and economic press.

On receiving the award, Fred commented: “It is a huge honor. As a complete map obsessive, I am particularly delighted to be receiving an award named after William Smith. I want to highlight that I owe a huge debt to my fantastic collaborators at Harvard during my Fellowship Year, Mark Hoggard, Jerry Mitrovica, and Jacky Austermann, and to the Schmidt Science Fellows and Imperial College Research Fellowship programs. Without their support I would never have been able to complete the work that led to this award.”

“The award also gives me more confidence to keep tackling major scientific challenges with geology and geophysics, such as supplying the raw material required for the energy transition and developing a better understanding of interactions between Earth’s climate and internal dynamics.”