TCD Academic Awarded Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal

Posted on: 19 November 2008

Chairman of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Michael Kelly, presented the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medals to Trinity College’s Professor Charles Hepworth Holland and Queen’s University Belfast’s David Livingstone, for their outstanding contributions to the fields of Environment and Geosciences, and the Social Sciences respectively.

The Gold Medals, dubbed ” Ireland’s Nobel Prizes”, aim to celebrate the achievements of higher education in Ireland and inspire future generations to strive for excellence in their field of study.

Commenting on the significance of the awards RIA President, Professor Nicholas Canny, said: “Professors Holland and Livingstone are among the most eminent scholars in their respective disciplines.  We award them the Academy Gold Medals today to celebrate their immense contribution to their disciplines, and to acknowledge that they are setting the international standard for academic excellence.”

The HEA Chairman, Michael Kelly, added: “Ireland’s previous social and economic development owes much to the researchers and scientists who investigate, explore and challenge so many aspects of our lives and communities.  Continuation of their work can be expected to be an equally powerful driver of our future progress as a society.  The RIA Gold Medal Awards provide a tangible way of recognising their contribution and motivating others to follow in their footsteps.”

Fellow Emeritus and former Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity College, Professor Charles Hepworth Holland, was awarded the Academy Gold Medal in the Environment and Geosciences.  His career has spanned over 57 years and he has been a leading researcher in stratigraphy and palaeontology.  As a scholar with major international standing he has been the driving force behind two editions of the authoritative Geology of Ireland and was a founding editor of the Journal of Earth Sciences.  Professor Holland was also the first recipient of the T. N. George Medal of the Glasgow Geological Society and was awarded the Major Edward Coke Medal of the Geological Society in London.  He is a former President of the Geological Society of London, where he also served as Chairman of the Stratigraphy Committee.

The Gold Medal for the Social Sciences was presented to Professor David N. Livingstone of Queen’s University Belfast.  A scholar of human geography, Professor Livingstone was awarded the OBE in 2002 and was one of the youngest scholars to be elected to both the British Academy (1995) and the Royal Irish Academy (1998).  From his highly accomplished career, Professor Livingstone has marked himself out as a polymath of several disciplines, including human geography, social studies and modern history.

In 2005 President Mary McAleese awarded two Trinity College Professors with Academy Gold Medals: Professor Michael Coey with the Gold Medal in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Professor John Dillon with the Gold Medal in Humanities.

The Royal Irish Academy established six high profile Gold Medals in 2005 to acclaim  Ireland’s foremost contributors in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Pysical and Mathematical Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering Science and the Environment and Geosciences.  Two Gold Medals are awarded each year following a detailed international peer review assessment.