Iain is professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. His long-standing research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geological hazards (earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis) and abrupt environmental change.
Alongside his academic research, for the last 15 years Iain has worked closely with BBC Science to host a number of major television documentaries on the nature, history and state of the planet. His landmark specialist factual series, many of which air in the US on National Geographic or Discovery channels, include ‘Hot Rocks’, ‘Journeys into the Ring of Fire’, ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’, ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’, ‘How Earth Made Us’, ‘How To Grow A Planet’, ‘Volcano Live’, ‘Rise of the Continents’, and ‘Planet Oil’. Iain regularly presents special BBC documentary features on topical geoscientific issues, notably the 2011 Japanese earthquake, the Russian meteor strike, Shale gas/ Fracking, and Florida sinkholes.
This popular geoscience output has gained international endorsement, receiving honours / medals from the American Geosciences Institute (2017), the European Federation of Geologists (2016), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2016), the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2014), the American Geophysical Union (2013) , and the Royal Geographical Society (2010), as well election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2017) and an MBE (2013). In addition, he served for 7 years (2007-2016) as Theme Leader for Geo-Hazards on the Member of Scientific Committee of the UNESCO International Geological Programme (IGCP), and has been recently approved as a UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.
Now at the helm of Plymouth’s Sustainable Earth Institute, he is currently developing an interdisciplinary research programme, working with social scientists and media professionals to communicate contested geoscience – geo-energy, climate change, natural hazards – to public audiences.
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