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Sugden, David Edward, b 1941 (British Glaciologist and geomorphologist)



  • Existence: born 5 March 1941


David Sugden (b. 5 March 1941) is a glaciologist and glacial geomorphologist. His research focuses in particular on glacial and polar landforms, Antarctic ice sheet stability, and the dynamics of the Patagonian ice cap under a changing climate.

He studied at the University of Oxford, and graduated with a BA in 1962. He then took up an offer for a three-year research studentship funded by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and spent these three years working on the glaciation of the Cairngorms until he graduated with a DPhil in 1965. Immediately after, he spent one year in the South Shetland Islands as a scientific officer for the British Antarctic Survey, before becoming a Lecturer and then a Reader at the University of Aberdeen, where he taught polar geography. In 1968, he organised with his wife Britta the Aberdeen University Greenland Expedition, which involved a mixed party of students. Sugden stayed in Aberdeen for 20 years, until he moved to Edinburgh as Professor in January 1967. He was Head of Geography twice (1987-92 and 1997-2000), and transformed the Geography department to one of the best in the UK. In Aberdeen and in Edinburgh, David Sugden taught courses on glaciers and glaciology (his specialism) and on geomorphology; several of which included field courses and fieldtrips in various locations, such as the Dee Estuary, Lochnagar and the surrounding area, the Balmoral Estate, Snowdonia, Greenland, and Iceland.

In 2003, the University of Edinburgh amalgamated departments into larger schools. David Sugden was persuaded by Grahame Bulfield, former Head of the Roslin Institute, to become the Head of GeoSciences. They brought together Geophysics, Geology, Geography, Meteorology, Ecology, and Environmental Chemistry to form the largest such grouping in the UK, and the only one involving both natural and social sciences. Sugden was Head of GeoSciences until 2006, and then became Acting Director at SAGES (Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society) in 2006-2007. He is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

David Sugden has served as President of the Geography Section of the British Association (1998-99), Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society (1995-96), and President of the Institute of British Geographers (1995-96). He has won several prizes and awards throughout his career, including: the International Glaciological Society's Seligman Crystal (2012); the Vega Medal for physical geography from the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (1993); the Polar Medal for outstanding contribution to polar science and exploration by a British citizen (2002); the David Linton Award from the British Society for Geomorphology (2004); the Royal Geographical Society’s Cuthbert Peek Award (1980); and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Mungo Park Medal (1993).

Sugden is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Stockholm and the University of Dundee.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Autobiographical documents relating to David Sugden's career, 2022

Identifier: Coll-2044/3
Scope and Contents This series contains typed documents authored by David Sugden concerning his studies, his career, and his academic and scientific achievements.It includes: - "CV 2022": an extensive CV with personal information, studies, appointments, research and teaching activities, prizes and awards, research students he supervised, scientific lectures, and publications (numbered). - "Personal thoughts on work": two autobiographical texts written for his family...
Dates: 2022

Original thesis entitled "Aspects of the Glaciation of the Cairngorm Mountains" by D. E. Sugden, 1965

Identifier: Coll-2044/1
Scope and Contents

1. Original D.Phil. thesis, typescript, entitled "Aspects of the glaciation of the Cairngorm Mountains". Authored by D. E. Sugden, submitted for the degree of D. Phil. in the University of Oxford, July 1965. Contains photographs.

2. Supporting maps in a box-file.

Dates: 1965

Published papers, 1962-2022

Identifier: Coll-2044/4
Scope and Contents

This series consists of all the main papers authored by David Sugden (refereed/invited) throughout his career, between 1962 and 2022. For a detailed list, see Sugden's CV in Coll-2044/3, which includes a bibliography. Most papers (not all) are numbered, which refers to the corresponding number in said bibliography.

Dates: 1962-2022

Research Archive of David Sugden

Identifier: Coll-2044
Content Description

This fonds consists of the research archive of Professor David Sugden, including:

  1. His original thesis;
  2. Originals and printed copies of his fieldtrip diaries and four boxes of accompanying slides,
  3. Autobiographical texts reflecting on his career, and a detailed CV including a bibliography;
  4. Copies of his published papers.
Dates: 1962-2022

Additional filters:

Archival Object 3
Collection 1
Climate change 2
Glaciers 2
Antarctica 1
Autobiographies 1
Bibliographies 1