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This medal is awarded to the individual who has, in the estimation of the assessors, made the most distinguished contribution to the Environmental Sciences and the Geosciences, including Environmental Science itself, Climatology, Geophysics, Geology, Physical Geography, and other cognate subjects. It is awarded to Professor Charles Hepworth Holland, Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and former Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Trinity College.

Charles Holland has been at the forefront of research on palaeontology and stratigraphy in a distinguished career extending over a period of 50 years. He has made seminal contributions to the palaeontology and biostratigraphy of the Silurian system both in Ireland and internationally, and to our understanding of fossil cephalopods.

He has published some 150 papers and books, including his general work, The idea of Time, published in 1999. He was the driving force behind two editions (and a third forthcoming) of the definitive Geology of Ireland, which he edited and to which he contributed, and a series of influential volumes on the Lower Palaeozoic geology of the world. He was a founding editor, in 1978, of what is now the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Academy.

Following the award of a first in Geology by the University of Manchester in 1950, and a PhD from the University of London, Charles Holland held academic positions in both his Alma Mater and London, before taking up an appointment as Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, and Head of the Department of Geology at Trinity College, Dublin in 1966; in which position he served with much distinction until his formal retirement in 1993.

Aside from being an outstanding researcher and a proponent of the highest standards in research, Charles Holland has been a highly effective advocate for his discipline, and has made an exceptional contribution to the organization and success of his subject, as educator, collaborator, strategist and administrator.

His early recognition of the benefits of international cooperation at the highest level stands out. He was closely associated with the formation in 1958 of the Palaeontological Association, now arguably the most important learned society for Palaeontology in the world, and was elected President in 1974 and 1975. Subsequently, he was elected President of the Geological Society of London, the premier society for the geosciences in these islands, and later was the recipient of that Society’s Major Edward Coke Medal.

Charles Holland remains extremely active in research and, in recent years, has worked on the Silurian nautiloids of Britain and Ireland, and on the diverse nautiloid faunas of the late Ordovician and early Silurian of Anticosti Island, Canada.

Through his pioneering research, his leadership in his discipline, and the international impact of his work, Charles Holland stands as one of the most influential figures in Palaeontology and Stratigraphy, both nationally and internationally. For many geologists in Ireland and beyond, he has been a true role model.