The 10 leading geologists in Britain, as chosen by their fellow experts
Sir Nicholas Shackleton
The work of Sir Nicholas Shackleton, 64, in recording the geological effects of climate change has improved understanding both of today's climate system and how it may evolve as a result of increas- ing levels of greenhouse gases.
Sir Nicholas, who is related to the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, spent much of his childhood in East Africa, where his father Robert worked.
"[My father] was described as `perhaps the last of the great field geologists' and so not surprisingly he had a big influence on my career choice," Sir Nicholas recalls. "Mind you, what appealed to me about geology was going out into the field and wandering across the countryside, whereas in fact, I've spent all my life in the lab."
He read natural sciences at Cambridge, finishing in physics. "I had intended to go into geophysics, but was lured into a small research group by the late Sir Harry Godwin, who wanted me to use my physics to develop a new method for measuring past temperatures using the stable isotopes of oxygen." Sir Nicholas successfully set up a facility for obtaining the measurements and worked on microfossils from deep ocean sediments.
Sir Nicholas has remained in Cambridge ever since, aside from a post- doctoral year in the US, but throughout his career he has collaborated with scientists worldwide.
He strongly believes that geology should be taught more extensively in schools. "It's a very appealing subject for people who don't know much about science."
Professor Peter Doyle, 41, held posts at the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural History Museum before joining the University of Greenwich.
"Geology is fundamental. The econo- mies of all the great nations are founded on their mineral wealth and tempered by the physical constraints of the natural world. Geologists will always be in demand."
Professor Joe Cann, 64, works at Leeds University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, researching the deep ocean floor, volcanoes, springs and geological faults.
"Geology is like solving a crime. There are bits and pieces of evidence scattered around - some physical, some chemical, some biological - and the challenge is to fit these scraps together to make a testable story."
Dr David Falvey, 55, gained a PhD in geophysics from the University of New South Wales in 1972. After working for Shell and teaching at the University of Sydney, he became chief of the Australian Geological Survey's Marine Division in 1982, pioneering offshore research.
"Geology is an exciting and relevant science. One formula for success is pursuit of scientific diversity in the context of that relevance."
Dr Angela Milner, 54, is head of the Fossil Vertebrates Division in the Department of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum. Her specialism is dinosaurs, in pursuit of which she has carried out field work around the world. She has written widely on the subject and appeared on television.
"Being the first human to discover a fossil animal that was living in the remote past and working out how it relates to those living today is a great privilege. …