Top Royal prize for Oxford Professor Heather Viles
Professor Heather Viles, Oxford’s internationally-renowned geomorphologist, has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s highly-prestigious Royal Medal. Approved by Her Majesty The Queen, Royal Medals recognise extraordinary achievement in geographical research, fieldwork, teaching, policy, and public engagement. Professor Viles has been awarded the 2020 Founder’s Medal for her excellence in establishing an entirely new geographical field; biogeomorphology. This new discipline combines the field of ecology with geomorphology and investigates how buildings and landscapes interact with the world around them.
An international leader in investigating the wear and tear of ancient buildings, Professor Viles has researched the impact of acid rain on churches and been engaged in research around the world. But she has also has been involved beyond this world – investigating the possibility of life on the surface of Mars.