5 May 2017

Lancaster’s Professor Keith Beven becomes one of the first hydrologists to be made a Fellow of the Royal Society, one of science’s greatest honours

Professor Keith Beven is among 50 distinguished scientists to be elected as Fellows of the Royal Society. The Fellowship is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from or living and working in the UK and the Commonwealth.

The President of the Royal Society Venki Ramakrishnan said: “Science is a great triumph of human achievement and has contributed hugely to the prosperity and health of our world. The new Fellows of the Royal Society have already contributed much to science and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them into our ranks.”

Professor Beven is a Distinguished Professor in the Lancaster Environment Centre. He is the most highly cited hydrologist in the world and has published 10 books and over 350 papers.

He said: “Election to the Royal Society is one of the greatest honours afforded to a scientist. It is something I never aspired to, as I thought it most unlikely that someone from hydrology, as one of the inexact sciences, would be recognised in this way. 

“In fact, there does not seem to have been a Fellow of the Royal Society who has called him or herself a hydrologist before though many, from John Dalton to Howard Penman and John Monteith, have made important contributions to the field. 

“But even though hydrology is a difficult science, it is also important. There is a need for a better understanding of hydrological processes as water has such an impact on human activities, biodiversity, pollutant transport, and predicting future climate.”

Professor Beven’s research has already resulted in a number of awards including the Horton and Langbein Awards of the American Geophysical Union, the John Dalton Medal of the European Geophysical Union, and the IAHS/WMO/UNESCO International Hydrology Prize.