This year’s medals and awards were presented last night in recognition of extraordinary achievement in geographical research, fieldwork, photography, teaching, and in enthusing public audience.
Professor Geoffrey Boulton and Hans Rosling were awarded Royal Medals, which have been approved by Her Majesty the Queen and are amongst the highest honours of their kind in the world. These medals have been awarded since the 1830s when the Society was founded, and past winners include David Livingstone, Alfred Russel Wallace, Robert Falcon Scott and Sir David Attenborough.
Professor Boulton of the University of Edinburgh received the Founder’s Medal for the development and promotion of glaciology. Speaking on stage before presenting the medal, Professor Dame Judith Rees, the Society’s President, said: “Within the field of glacial science, Professor Geoffrey Boulton is one of the most influential practitioners of his generation. Current researchers follow and test concepts set out by him.”
Hans Rosling of the Gapminder Foundation received the Patron’s Medal for the encouragement and development of the public understanding of geographical data and influencing decision makers across the world. Professor Dame Judith Rees said: “Hans Rosling is changing the way very significant numbers of people access data. Through animated statistics and interactive graphics he helps people to understand how the world is changing.”
Among other recipients was broadcaster and writer Nicholas Crane, who was awarded the Ness Award by the Society’s Council for popularising geography and the understanding of Britain. Michael Palin, when nominating Nicholas for the award, said: “Over many years his prodigious, high quality output has done an enormous amount to engage the British public with geography.”