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Fellows Directory

John Hayes

John Hayes

Dr John Hayes ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2016


Initially trained as chemist, John Hayes was drawn to the earth sciences by his interest in the production and fates of organic matter in earth’s carbon cycle.  He made the first measurements of the distribution of the isotopes of carbon within biolipids.  That innovation provided a foundation for new studies of the pathways of carbon in natural environments, both modern and ancient.

Because the production of organic matter requires concomitant production of O2 or some other oxidized product, Hayes’s studies of the carbon cycle bear strongly on the development of the global environment and provide evidence about the timing of evolutionary events such as the development of O2-producing photosynthesis.

He was for 26 years professor in the departments of chemistry and geology at Indiana University, then moved to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the US and received the Treibs and Goldschmidt Medals of the Geochemical Society and, jointly with Geoffrey Eglinton, the Urey Medal of the European Association for Geochemistry.

Dr John Hayes ForMemRS died on 3 February 2017.

Professional positions

Scientist Emeritus, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, biological, Chemistry, organic
  • Engineering
    • Instrumentation
  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Chemical oceanography, Climate sciences, Geochemistry
  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Environmental biology


Natural products of microorganisms, metabolism, isotope effects in organic chemical reactions, mass spectrometry, cycling of carbon in the ocean, atmospheric history of carbon dioxide, biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, The Carbon Cycle

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