Alexander Halliday

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Alexander Norman Halliday the Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute.[1]

Early life[edit]

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1977.


Professor Alex Halliday FRS was Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Oxford from 2004-2018. Before coming to Oxford, he spent twelve years as a professor at the University of Michigan and then six years in Switzerland, where he was Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the ETH in Zurich. His research involves the use of isotopic methods to study Earth and planetary processes.

Halliday is a former President of the Geochemical Society;[2] the European Association of Geochemistry; and the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology Section of the American Geophysical Union. He has experience with a range of top science boards and advisory panels including those of the National Environment Research Council, HEFCE, the Natural History Museum London, the Max Planck Society, the Royal Society and the American Geophysical Union. At Oxford he was Head of the Division of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (science and engineering) from 2007 to 2015. In 2014, he was elected Vice-President and Physical Secretary of the Royal Society.[3]On 14 December 2017 it was announced that Professor Halliday will be appointed as the new Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute.


An enthusiast for technological innovation, most of Halliday's recent research is in developing and using new mass spectrometry techniques to shed light on the origin and early development of the solar system[4] and recent Earth processes, such as continental erosion and climate. However, he has also been engaged in other studies, such as the mechanisms of volcanic eruptions, and the formation of mineral and hydrocarbon deposits.

Accomplishments and awards[edit]

Halliday's scientific accomplishments have been recognised with awards including the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society,[5] the Bowen Award and Hess Medal[6] of the American Geophysical Union,[7] the Urey Medal of the European Association of Geochemistry[8] and the Oxburgh Medal of the Institute of Measurement and Control.[9] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000 and a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2015.[10]