05 June 2007

Sheffield Graduate awarded Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Medal

Photo: Professor Paul Curran

University of Sheffield graduate Professor Paul Curran is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Patron’s Medal.

Professor Curran, who is the Vice-Chancellor of Bournemouth University, graduated from Sheffield in 1976 with a BSc in Geography. He later served as Lecturer in Geography at the University. He has been awarded the honour for his international contributions to Earth observation - an important field in contemporary geographical science and discovery.

A former NASA research scientist and adviser to the European Space Agency (ESA), Professor Curran pioneered the remote sensing of vegetation amount and condition on Earth from space. Amongst his many achievements, Professor Curran co-developed the ESA’s operational global chlorophyll maps which have proved vital for the study of terrestrial climate change effects.

The RGS (IBG) Patron’s Medal, personally approved by Her Majesty the Queen, is one of the highest international accolades and is awarded for the encouragement and promotion of geography, science and discovery.

Previous recipients include explorers such as the Rev David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Commander Robert Scott, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Edmund Hillary and Chris Bonnington.

“Receiving this medal from the Royal Geographical Society is a singular honour,” said Professor Curran. “The thought of walking in the footsteps of previous medal winners is a most humbling experience.”