On Wednesday 19th February 2020, EGS Fellows gathered for the Clough Medal lecture held at the University of Edinburgh, Grant Institute. The 2019-20 Clough Medal was awarded to Professor Kathy Whaler OBE, FRSE, FAGU (University of Edinburgh) for a distinguished career as an academic in the field of geophysics. Our current President, Bob Gatliff presented Kathy with the Clough Medal and was able to remind fellows that this year was notable on two counts. First that Kathy was only the third geophysicist to be awarded the medal and that it was over 40 years since Janet Watson received the medal. Kathy thanked the society for the recognition she had been given and was then able to explain some of the many facets of her research in a lecture entitled “Adventures with Maxwell’s equations”.
Amongst the topics covered was her research in the field of geo-magnetism, involving the use of geophysics to large-scale earth processes, from the Earth’s core through the crust and even to interpreting the history of Mars geomagnetic record. She also explained some recent research being undertaken in the Afar region of Ethiopia, called the RiftVolc project, which has drawn together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to understand crustal processes in the East African Rift. Finally, Prof Whaler touched on the future research topics including the important role played by the Earth’s magnetic field in protecting us from solar flares. She is also planning more research within the rift valley, where active volcanoes and the public are found close together. At the end of the evening, Bob thanked Kathy for the wide ranging and fascinating lecture to celebrate the award of the 2019-20 Clough Medal.