McKenzie-VC-May

BP and the University of Cambridge have joined forces to create a new professorship in Earth Sciences.

This new professorship, by strengthening academic and intellectual leadership at the highest level, will help us to provide students, who are faced with enormous challenges to do with energy, natural resources, climate, natural hazards and environmental protection, with the tools to meet them.

Professor James Jackson

Enabling Cambridge to retain its world-leading position in geophysics research and teaching, The BP Foundation McKenzie Professor of Earth Sciences will provide senior intellectual leadership in the flourishing Geophysics research group in the University's Department of Earth Sciences.

Professor Dan McKenzie, FRS, for whom the professorship is named, is one of the most distinguished international earth scientists of the last 50 years, the foremost figure in the field of his generation. He has played a pivotal role in research areas such as plate tectonics, the evolution of sedimentary basins, mantle convection and the interior evolution of planets.

His fundamental work on plate tectonics in the late 1960s, followed by his insights into the origin of sedimentary basins, are responsible for oil and gas exploration strategies on continental margins and in their interiors, with a commercial value to oil companies of many billions of dollars. His thinking has inspired generations of young scientists who have gone on to become leaders in both academia and industry.

Speaking at a ceremony in Cambridge to celebrate the establishment of the professorship, Professor James Jackson, the Head of Department, said: "The aim of the Department of Earth Sciences is to understand how our planet works and to train current and future generations to make informed, balanced use of that knowledge. This new professorship, by strengthening academic and intellectual leadership at the highest level, will help us to provide students, who are faced with enormous challenges to do with energy, natural resources, climate, natural hazards and environmental protection, with the tools to meet them."

"We positively welcome BP's continuing interest and participation in the work of the Department. We have found that BP's involvement in our activities has been a source of intellectual and technical input that has been entirely beneficial and has never posed the remotest threat to our intellectual independence. "

Dr Mike Daly, Chief Geologist for BP, said: "BP has endowed this Professorship in perpetuity both to recognise Professor McKenzie's unique and innovative contribution to science and to enable the University to build on the legacy of his tremendous achievements. It is an acknowledgement of the past - and also a vote of confidence in the future. A future we trust that will be led and influenced by the incumbents of the Chair with the same deep insight and the gracious, open style of its first holder, Dan McKenzie."

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Alison Richard, paid tribute to Professor McKenzie's extraordinary creative capacity, crossing academic boundaries, and his commitment to teaching as well as research.


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