Iain Stewart (geologist)
|Iain Simpson Stewart|
|Born||1964 (age 49–50)
East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, Scotland
|Institutions||University of Plymouth|
|Alma mater||University of Strathclyde, Bristol University|
|Thesis||The evolution of neotectonic normal fault scarps in the Aegean Region (1990)|
|Doctoral advisor||Paul Hancock
|Doctoral students||Kate Donovan
Iain Simpson Stewart, MBE FGS (born 1964) is a Scottish geologist, a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He is Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth and also a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme.
Described as geology’s “rock star”, Stewart is best known to the public as the presenter of a number of science programmes for the BBC, including the BAFTA nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet.
Early life and education
Stewart was born in 1964 in East Kilbride, in Lanarkshire, to Sheena and Jack. He has two younger brothers, Graeme and Frazer. He attended Mount Cameron Primary and then Claremont High School from 1976 to 1982. In an interview with the Herald, Stewart revealed that he initially struggled with geology: "I was a middling student, never really at the top of the class, nor at the bottom. Which I think is good, in a way. When you're out there at the top, it can be quite isolating."
Stewart was a child actor and holder of an Equity card. His first appearance on television came in 1978, in a BBC Scotland adaptation of John Buchan's 1922 novel Huntingtower. Amongst his contemporaries at the East Kilbride Rep Theatre was the actor John Hannah. Leaving acting behind, he studied geography and geology at Strathclyde University, graduating in 1986 with a first class honours Bachelor of Science degree. He obtained his doctorate, entitled "The evolution of neotectonic normal fault scarps in the Aegean Region" in 1990 at the University of Bristol on research into earthquakes in Greece and Turkey. In 1990 he began teaching geology at the West London Institute of Higher Education (WLIHE) in Osterley (occupying the Warden's flat with his wife for several years), and from 1995 at Brunel University due to its merger with WLIHE. After 12 years in London he moved back to Scotland to develop a new career as a science broadcaster. Nostalgic for Brunel, he said "And invariably, you move on to places that for all their benefits, seem surprisingly narrow, and more fallow, in comparison. In short, it was a remarkable place to be". He moved to the University of Plymouth in 2004, later becoming Professor of Geoscience Communication, a position he believes to be unique in the world.
Stewart returned to television as an expert academic for Helike - The Real Atlantis, a 2002 BBC Horizon film about the destruction of the Greek city of Helike by earthquake and tidal wave in 373 BCE, newly rediscovered in 2001. This, he says, "gave me a hunger to get more geology on telly." He featured in another Horizon film, Earthquake Storms, in April 2003, before appearing as a team member in the fourth series of Rough Science (shown January/February 2004), a series where a group of scientists is challenged to solve tasks using only the resources of the local surroundings and a small set of supplies.
His main research interests are in the broad area of Earth hazards and natural disasters, particularly in terms of identifying past major earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean region. Stewart also specializes in geology's effect on culture and religion throughout the history of the world. He appears in other roles, including as a scientific commentator.
As well as teaching at Plymouth University, he is a patron of the English Riviera Geopark, a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geological Programme and chair of its ‘Hazards’ theme, a vice-president of The Geographical Association and its primary Geography ‘Champion’, a member of the Steering Committee of the IUGS-Commission on Geoscience for Environmental Management Working Group on 'Communicating Environmental Geoscience', a member of the UK National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement's Academic Action Research group, and a member of The Geological Society of London's external relations committee. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems, University of Durham.
- Journeys from the Centre of the Earth (2004), six one-hour films charting how geology has shaped the history of the Mediterranean, shown in the United States on Discovery's Science Channel as Hot Rocks: Geology of Civilization. The series won the prestigious "Best Earth Science programme" award at the 2005 Jackson Hole Film Festival.
- Journeys into the Ring of Fire (2006); four one-hour films showing how rocks shaped the history and culture in Japan, Peru, Indonesia and California.
- Earth: The Power of the Planet (2007), U.S. title: Earth: The Biography, five one hour films (Volcano, Oceans, Atmosphere, Ice, Rare Earth) about the forces that have shaped the planet and made it what it is. Cerapachys iainstewarti, a species of Madagascar ant discovered during the filming of this series, was named after Stewart.
- Ten Things You Didn't Know About... Volcanoes (2006), Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Avalanches, (2008).
- The Climate Wars (2008), three one-hour films tracing the history of the science and politics of global warming.
- Hot Planet (2009), with Kathy Sykes, examined global warming ahead of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
- How Earth Made Us (2010), ASIN: B002SZQCA2 (Blu-ray), U.S. title: How the Earth Changed History, ASIN: B003DC8824, five one-hour films on how geology, geography and climate have influenced mankind.
- Walking Through Landscapes, (2010) Radio show, BBC Radio Scotland.
- Making Scotland's Landscape, (2010) BBC television.
- Men Of Rock (2011) about scientists working in Scotland who pioneered geological study and understanding. BBC
- How to Grow a Planet (2012)
- Volcano Live (2012)
- Rise of the Continents 4 part series (2013) BBC TV
- Fracking: The New Energy Rush(2013) Horizon, BBC TV
- Swallowed by a Sinkhole (2014) Horizon, investigates why the geology of Florida makes it the sinkhole capital of the world, BBC TV
- Sintubin, M., Stewart, I.S., Niemi, T. Altunel, E. (eds.) 2010. Ancient earthquakes. Geological Society of America Special Paper 471, 280p.
- Pascal, C, Vermeersen, B., Stewart, I.S. (eds.) 2009. Neotectonics, seismicity and stress in glaciated regions Thematic issue of the Journal of the Geological Society. London.
- Stewart, I.S. and J. Lynch. 2008. Earth: the biography. Washington DC: National Geographic. ISBN 1-4262-0236-9.
- Stewart, I.S. 2005. Journeys from the centre of the Earth: how geology shaped civilization. London: Century/Random House. ISBN 1-84413-813-5
- Morner, N.A., Stewart, I.S., Trifonov, V.G., Caputo, R., Nikonov, A.A., Kozhurin, A.I.,& Kopp, M.L. (Eds.) 2004. Active Faults in the Eastern Hemisphere. Tectonophysics Special Issue volume 380, nos. 3-4.
- Dunne, W., Stewart, I.S. & Turner, J.P. (Eds.) 2001. Brittle Microtectonics, Neotectonics and Archaeoseismicity. Journal of Structural Geology, special issue, vol. 13, No.2/3, 500pp.
- Stewart, I.S., Sauber, J. & Rose, J. (Eds.) 2000. Ice Sheets, Crustal Deformation and Seismicity. Journal of Quaternary Science special issue, vol. 14/15.
- McGuire, W.J., Griffiths, D., Hancock, P.L. & Stewart, I.S. (Eds.) 2000. The Archaeology of Geological Catastrophes. Geological Society of London. Special Publication, 171, 413p. ISBN 978-1-86239-062-1
- Stewart, I.S. and C. Vita-Finzi (eds.). 1999. Coastal Tectonics. Geological Society of London. Special Publication ISBN 1-86239-024-X
Honours and Awards
In 2010 Stewart was recognised by the Royal Geographical Society for “popularising geography and earth sciences.” He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to geology and science communication. In 2013 Stewart was the recipient of the Athelstan Spilhaus Award by the American Geophysical Union.
- Donovan, Katherine Helen Mary (2010). Cultural Responses to volcanic hazards on Mt Merapi, Indonesia (PhD thesis). University of Plymouth.
- Dewez, Thomas John Bernard (2003). Geomorphic markers and digital elevation models as tools for tectonic geomorphology in central Greece (PhD thesis). Brunel University.
- Buck, Victoria Ann (1999). Archaeoseismology in Atalanti region, central mainland Greece : theory, method, and practice (PhD thesis). Brunel University.
- Kortekaas, Stella (2002). Tsunamis, storms and earthquakes :distinguishing coastal flooding events (PhD thesis). Coventry University.
- "Iain Stewart". Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Iain Stewart". Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- Jha, Alok; Sample, Ian; Boase, Nell; Duckworth, Andy (2008-09-08). "Science Weekly: Iain Stewart on climate change". Guardian (London). Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Television Specialist Factual". Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Biography". Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- "Eaglesham pupils help launch windfarm activity programme". Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- "I don't get recognised much, I'm not in the same league as Brian Cox". Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Clip from Huntingtower YouTube.com
- Hall of Fame
- "Memories of Past members of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences". Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Middleton, Christopher (2010-02-25). "My perfect weekend: Iain Stewart". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Horizon: Helike - The Real Atlantis, BBC Two 9.00pm Thursday 10 January 2002
- Samantha Booth, Scots TV scientist Iain Stewart is on one-man mission to make geology sexy, Daily Record, September 6, 2008
- Horizon: Earthquake Storms, BBC Two, Thursday 1 April, 9 pm 2003
- Rough Science: Iain's Diaries, BBC/Open University
- Staff details plymouth.ac.uk
- BBC - BBC Four Documentaries - Journeys From the Centre of the Earth - Dr Iain Stewart
- Stewart on global warming YouTube.com
- The London Gazette: . 15 June 2013.
- Iain Stewart, University of Plymouth website, Undated.Accessed 3 February 2012.
- Journeys From The Centre Of The Earth, BBC / Open University
- Hot Rocks: Geology of Civilization, Science Channel
- Biography, English Riviera Geopark
- Journeys into the Ring of Fire, BBC documentary.
- Earth: The Power of the Planet, BBC
- Earth - the power of the planet, University of Plymouth
- Earth: the biography, National Geographic Channel
- Brand new ant species named after TV star academic plymouth.ac.uk
- Earth – The Climate Wars (BBC Press Office)
- "Hot Planet". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC One). Archived from the original on 2012-04-21.
- Grant, Olly (9 July 2012). "Volcano Live, BBC Two, preview". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Swallowed by a Sinkhole". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Two). Retrieved 2014-02-03
- "2010 medals and awards". Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Athelstan Spilhaus Award". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- Iain Stewart on Twitter
- Iain Stewart at the Internet Movie Database
- Plymouth University page
- "The golden age of geology": Opinion piece by Iain Stewart at cosmosmagazine.com.
- BBC Website for How Earth Made Us.