4 January 2018

Dr Hugh Tuffen is recognised by his peers for his outstanding research, enthusiastic leadership and profile raising activities

Dr Hugh Tuffen, reader in Volcanology at Lancaster University, is fascinated by the power and beauty of volcanoes, having developed a passion for rocks as a boy roaming the fells of Cumbria.

This month Hugh’s enthusiasm and achievements were recognised by his peers, when he won the 2018 Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group (VMSG) Award.

The VMSG is a joint special interest group of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Geological Society of London, and is the main hub for UK volcanologists.

The ThermoFisher Scientific VMSG award is bestowed annually on an individual who is deemed to “have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of volcanic and magmatic processes.”

The award committee conferred the honour in recognition of Hugh’s “research contribution to the understanding of glacio-volcanological interactions and silicic eruption dynamics; his enthusiastic leadership and support of the annual ‘Volcano-Ice’ meeting that has encouraged PhD and post-doctoral researchers to deliver their research in a subject-appropriate and academically supportive forum, and for raising the profile of UK volcanology at the national and international level.”

Hugh is an outstanding volcanologist who has made significant contributions to several strands of volcanology. In his 16 years of activity, Hugh has collaborated with 102 co-authors, resulting in over 50 peer-reviewed studies which have been cited some 1800 times. His efforts to integrate field observations and meticulous geochemical analyses have established the paradigm that magma may rupture and heal, even several times, during ascent and eruption.

He has also written a book for children, encouraging them to become volcanologists, and been filmed for the BBC carrying out his research in the field.

He is the Director of Lancaster University’s successful Volcanology and Geological Hazards MSc, one of only two volcanology masters at UK universities. In 2010 he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, assisted, he claims, by the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted the day before his interview.

In his spare time he plays the cello and raises a growing family.