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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Geography professor honoured with Fellowship of the American Geophysical Union

Published: 23 September 2015
Professor Best undertakes fieldwork

Jim Best, Diamond Jubilee Visiting Professor of Geography at the University of Southampton, has been honoured by his election to a Fellowship of the American Geophysical Union. Professor Best will receive the honour in recognition of his outstanding track record of research in process sedimentology.

Professor Best’s research is notable for its interdisciplinary nature, effectively linking hydrology, engineering, sedimentology and biological sciences through the application and development of a range of new methods and techniques that have enabled new substantive understanding of complex environmental geophysical flow dynamics and their sedimentary deposits. Indeed, his experimental and field studies on the interactions between turbulent flow and sediment transport make him something of a household name to both geomorphologists, process sedimentologists and hydraulic engineers and his work on bedform dynamics and confluence dynamics have also been very heavily cited.

His excellent research publication record is only one indication of the high esteem in which Jim is held by his peers; other indications are his very successful 5-year editorship of Sedimentology, one of the premier journals in his primary field, and his service on numerous editorial boards, research council peer-review colleges (NERC in the UK and NSF in the USA) and committees. Moreover, Jim has received a number of other prestigious awards during his career, including a Royal Society of London Fellowship, the British Society for Geomorphology ‘Gordon Warwick’ award for ‘outstanding contribution to geomorphological research and scholarship with particular reference to fluvial geomorphology’, and a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship in 2005.

In addition to the science, ideas and service he has contributed, he has served as a mentor to over 50 successful post-graduate students. His former students are now leading professional careers spread roughly equally in academe and the environmental-hydrocarbon industries. Jim has also worked with a range of talented post-doctoral scientists and has ably guided their early careers.

Professor Stephen Darby, Head of Geography commented: “We were already delighted to be hosting Jim as a Diamond Jubilee Visiting Professor, as he has engaged so strongly with our staff and students to help further our pioneering work on the morphodynamics of the world’s largest rivers, but this latest recognition makes us even prouder. Jim’s work on a wide range of geophysical flows has been highly influential and I can think of nobody who is more deserving of this prestigious accolade.”

AGU Fellowships are given annually to a select group of geoscientists who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the discipline - only 0.1% of the AGU's approximately 60,000 members are recognised as Fellows.

Professor Best will be inducted into his fellowship at a ceremony in San Francisco on the 16th December, as part of the AGU's forthcoming Fall Meeting.

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