The University is saddened to announce the death of Professor Tjeerd Van Andel, the Honorary Professor of Earth History, Quaternary Science and Geo-Archaeology in the Department of Earth Sciences and husband of the Principal of Homerton College, Dr Kate Pretty.

Tjeerd was educated in the Netherlands. In the early 1950s he worked for Bataafse Petroleum in Amsterdam and then for Shell in Venezuela. He went to Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1956 and in 1968 became Professor of Oceanography and Head, Division of Marine Geosciences at Oregon, overlapping with being Professor of Oceanography and Professor of Geophysics, at Stanford from 1976. He became Wayne Loel Professor of Earth Sciences there in 1984.

During this period he received numerous honours and awards. He took part in many cruises including the epic submersible dive in 1977 which discovered the astonishing and unexpected primitive life forms living round hydrothermal vents, two miles down on the floor of the deep ocean on the Galapagos Ridge.

He was a great synthesizer as well as generator of data, and wrote a classic paper on variations in the depth of the CCD (carbonate compensation depth) with time, one of the major controls on ocean chemistry.

His GSA memoir with his students Ted Moore and Ross Heath on the history of the Panama Basin was also a classic.

He made major contributions in geopolitics and has been described as the Godfather of CLIMAP, the project that led to confirmation of the orbital forcing of climate in ice ages.

His move into Geoarchaeology was extremely innovative.

In 1987 he decided to take early retirement from Stanford and move permanently to Cambridge to join the Department of Earth Sciences. He brought with him a wealth of experience and a prodigious enthusiasm and vitality.

For 20 years he contributed tremendously to the life of the Department, in research and teaching, giving generously of his time to inspire staff and students alike. He played a major role in the library, most effectively steering the rationalisation of its holdings.

While at Cambridge he continued his most productive research over a very wide range of interests in the geosciences and in archaeology, culminating in the outstandingly successful direction of the Sage 3 international project on environmental change and human history in Europe 70,000-20,000 years ago.

The funeral will take place at Cambridge Crematorium on Thursday 30th September at 3.00pm. There will be refreshments at Homerton College’s Combination Room from 4.30pm. It would be helpful to let the Principal’s PA, Lizzie Madder, know if you intend to come to the College.  Email: or telephone 01223 747132.

Family flowers only. Donations may be made to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or the World Land Trust through the funeral directors, Richard Stebbings (01223 232309).

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