Skip to main content

Birkbeck academic awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Service Award

Professor Ian Crawford has been awarded the honour for his outstanding services to geophysics.

Professor Ian Crawford
Professor Ian Crawford

On Friday it was announced that Ian Crawford, Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Service Award for his leading role in the promotion of lunar science and human space exploration both within the UK and internationally.

The Royal Astronomical Society’s Awards seek to highlight and honour individuals who have promoted, facilitated or encouraged the sciences of astronomy or geophysics both nationally and internationally. There were 20 medals and prizes awarded as part of the 2021 honours.

Professor Crawford has had a long and illustrious career in the field, championing the need for deeper research into the Moon, at a time when it wasn’t at the forefront of scientists’ interests. Over the past 20 years, he has been involved in developing science planning for space mission designs, such as the UK MoonLITE, ESA MoonNext and the International Lunar Network proposals. Professor Crawford has also played a leading role in several lunar scientific experiments and has supervised 11 PhD theses in lunar science and astrobiology. Many of his students have gone on to play leading roles in the science community.

A staunch advocate of human space exploration, Professor Crawford’s efforts led to the 2005 RAS report which helped change the UK’s stance on involvement in the International Space Station. As a result Britain now participates in the International Space Station.

In addition, Professor Crawford has worked tirelessly in numerous roles including: RAS Geophysics Vice President (two years) and Secretary as well as his participation in numerous national and international advisory panels. In August 2020 he was appointed as a member of the UK Space Agency’s Space Exploration Advisory Committee. He is Programme Director for Planetary Science with Astronomy at Birkbeck and founded the APEX Astrobiology and Planetary Exploration seminar series which has been running for 16 years. Most recently he has co-edited a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society. 

Professor Crawford said: “I feel very honoured to receive the Royal Astronomical Society's 2021 Service Award for Geophysics (which, by the Society's definition, also covers contributions to the planetary sciences). I would like to thank the Society, and also the colleagues who, quite unknown to me, nominated me for the award. It came as a complete surprise!”

Royal Astronomical Society President Professor Emma Bunce said: “I’m delighted that we can recognise the wealth of talent in astronomy and geophysics through our prestigious awards and medals. In the midst of a challenging time, we should not lose sight of the achievements of the stars of our science community, inspiring us by answering the deep questions about the Earth beneath our feet and the Universe around us.”

Further Information

More news about: