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Fellows Directory

Derek Vance

Derek Vance

Professor Derek Vance FRS


Elected: 2023


Derek Vance is a geochemist whose research has addressed a wide range of fundamental questions in the earth sciences through his development and application of novel geochemical methodologies.

He has quantified the timescales on which mountain ranges are uplifted and eroded. His analytical and conceptual advances have constrained the rates and long-term variability of chemical weathering.  He has used new isotope measurements of transition metals to understand biogeochemical cycles in the ocean.  His discoveries range across time, from establishing markers for early life, through the chemical consequences of glacial cycles, to the chemical processes critical to the present and future surface-earth environment.

Derek is from Co. Donegal (Ireland) and was educated at Trinity College Dublin and Trinity College Cambridge. After spending 25 years in UK universities, he became Professor of Geochemistry at the Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, in 2012. He has acted as department head (2019-2022) and has served as President of the European Association of Geochemistry.

Professional positions

Professor of Geochemistry, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Chemical oceanography, Geochemistry, Planetary science


Geochemistry, biogeochemical cycles, surface Earth, oceans, planetary science

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