Geography, Earth and environment at Brighton

River researcher honoured with prestigious Royal Geographic Society Award

Professor Phil Ashworth has received the Cuthbert Peek Award for pioneering research that has boosted understanding of river dynamics and flooding worldwide.

The Cuthbert Peek Award recognises those “advancing geographical knowledge of human impact on the environment through the application of contemporary methods, including those of earth observation and mapping”. It is one of a raft of prestigious medals and awards given annually by the Royal Geographic Society, which since its founding in 1830 has honoured Sir David Attenborough, pioneering 19th century evolutionary theorist Alfred Russel Wallace, plus famed explorers David Livingstone and Captain Robert Scott.
Professor Phil Ashworth using ground penetrating radar for flood research
Professor Ashworth is a University Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor alongside his work as Professor of Physical Geography. Among recent projects, he has been quantifying the relationship between river flow and sediment patterns in the world’s largest rivers such as those in the Amazon basin, including the impact of large dams. Earlier this year, his consortium was also awarded a £3.7m grant for a five-year project to create vital new global flooding models.

Speaking about his award, Professor Ashworth said: “I am delighted to accept this award created by an endowment from the esteemed scientist and RGS Council member Sir Cuthbert Peek. The award is shared with all my co-researchers but especially my life-long mentors, Professors Rob Ferguson and John Lewin. Rivers have been my joy and where I have made some of my greatest friends. I am grateful to the RGS for this recognition of work that is battling to understand how our glorious rivers work and change.”

The Royal Geographical Society is the world’s largest Learned Society in Geography, with nearly 15,000 fellows around the globe. Sir Cuthbert Edgar Peek(30 January 1855 – 6 July 1901) was an astronomer and meteorologist, and took part in activities of several learned societies alongside undertaking scientific expeditions to Iceland and Australia.

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Stephanie Thomson • May 4, 2021

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