Sheffield academic scoops historic Swedish accolade

A University of Sheffield academic was awarded a historic medal by the King of Sweden in a prestigious ceremony that took place in Stockholm last month (27 April 2011).

Professor Terry Callaghan from the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences was awarded the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography's (SSAG) Vega Medal for his significant contribution towards understanding the Arctic environments.

His research, which has previously earned him the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as one of the lead authors on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), has focused on Arctic ecology and how its ecosystems respond to climate change over large geographical regions. The Vega Medal was presented to him at a prestigious symposium held in his honour by the Society's patron, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Professor Callaghan said: "I am very proud to have my name featured alongside such great explorers and it was a great honour to receive such an award from the King in the presence of my family who also attended the event."

The Vega Medal was created in 1881 after Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld became the first man to sail through the Northeast Passage – a shorter but more hazardous route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The medal, which is awarded on the anniversary of Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm following his triumph, has since been presented to only around 60 individuals including renowned explorers Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen.

Referring to these predecessors, Professor Callaghan joked: "When I heard I was to receive the medal my first thought was that I hope my duty is not now to die in the polar regions like the previous recipients Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen!"

Notes for Editors: For further information on the SSAG please visit:
Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography

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