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Fellows Directory

Alexander Halliday

Alexander Halliday

Sir Alexander Halliday FRS


Elected: 2000


Alex Halliday has been Professor of Geochemistry at Oxford University since October 2004. Before coming to Oxford, he spent twelve years as a professor at the University of Michigan and then six years in Switzerland, where he was Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the ETH in Zürich. His research involves the use of isotopic methods to study Earth and planetary processes.

Halliday is a former President of the Geochemical Society, the European Association of Geochemistry, and the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology Section of the American Geophysical Union. He has experience with a range of top science boards and advisory panels including those of the Natural Environment Research Council, HEFCE, the Natural History Museum London, the Max Planck Society, the Royal Society and the American Geophysical Union. At Oxford He was Head of the Division of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (science and engineering) from 2007 to 2015. He was elected Vice President (Physical Secretary) of the Royal Society in 2014.

An enthusiast for technological innovation, most of Halliday's recent research is in developing and using new mass spectrometry techniques to shed light on the origin and early development of the solar system and recent Earth processes, such as continental erosion and climate. However, he has also been engaged in other studies, such as the mechanisms of volcanic eruptions, and the formation of mineral and hydrocarbon deposits.

Halliday's scientific accomplishments have been recognised with awards including the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society, the Bowen Award and Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Urey Medal of the European Association of Geochemistry and the Oxburgh Medal of Institute of Measurement and Control. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000 and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2015.

Professional positions

Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Former Physical Secretary and Vice-President, The Royal Society

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Climate sciences, Chemical oceanography, Geochemistry, Geology
  • Astronomy and physics
    • Planetary science (Astronomy and Physics)


Earth sciences, Geology, Planetary sciences, Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Environmental sciences, Isotypes, Stable isotypes, Mass spectrometry, Solar system, Oceanography, Paleoceanography, Petrology, Volcanology, Radioactivity, Isotopic dating, Geochronology

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