Bernard Wood is a distinguished geochemist who has made substantial contributions to understanding the origin, dynamics and structure of the Earth, principally through experimental studies and theory. His work on the structure of the Earth demonstrated how seismological, phase equilibrium and elastic properties may be integrated to test compositional models of the mantle and core and established mechanisms to explain lateral variations in reflectivity of the seismic discontinuities. A model, based on elastic strain energy, has enabled quantification of trace element partitioning between crystals and silicate melts. This enables dramatically improved modelling of igneous processes.
His recent work deals with accretion and differentiation of the earliest Earth. Based on the composition of the outer silicate Earth, he has shown that the Earth began as a highly reduced body and became more oxidised as it grew and the core separated. Amongst other awards, he received the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society and the European Geosciences Union’s Holmes Medal.