Professor Geoffrey Eglinton FRS
Geoffrey Eglinton was a chemist whose insights into the geological fate of organic compounds made him an internationally respected biogeochemist. In addition to the significance of his research on molecular biomarkers (‘chemical fossils’), he was responsible for developing numerous experimental techniques that remain in widespread use.
One of the first researchers to illustrate the potential of coupled gas chromatography–mass spectrometry in organic geochemistry, Geoffrey also pioneered the use of infrared spectroscopy to characterise both inter- and intra-molecular hydrogen bonding. These innovative techniques improved understanding of diverse aspects of the distribution, stable isotopic content and provenance of organic compounds in the global environment.
Geoffrey’s team at the University of Bristol’s celebrated Organic Geochemistry Unit was chosen to conduct the first organic analyses of moon rocks brought to Earth in 1969 by astronauts aboard Apollo 11. He was awarded the NASA Gold Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, as well as the Royal Society’s Royal Medal. In 2008, he also received the prestigious Dan David Prize in the field of geosciences.
Professor Geoffrey Eglinton FRS died on 11 March 2016.
Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol
Interest and expertise
- Earth and environmental sciences
Biomarkers, leaf waxes chemical fossils carbon 13 C4 plants palaeoenvironments, proxies