Skip to main content

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.


  • Creation: 1962-2022


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Mostly open, but some recent material might be covered by Data Protection legislation. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

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.


6 boxes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in several times by David Sugen, in November 2020 (SC-Acc-2021-0080), March 2022 (SC-Acc-2022-0022), and April 2022 (SC-Acc-2022-0024 and SC-Acc-2022-0077).

Separated Materials

David Sugden also donated seven relatively rare volumes containing some of his publications, which have been transferred to the printed collections:

  1. "The Case for a Stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet", in Geografiska Annaler, Volume 75 A, Number 4, 1993.
  2. Geografiska Annaler, volume 87 A, Number 2, 2005.
  3. L. D. Williams, D. E. Sugden, J. G. Gallagher, R. V. Birnie, Millimetric Radar Backscatter from Snowcover (Stevenson: Dundee, 1990).
  4. "Special Issue in Honour of the Long-standing Contributions of Professor David E. Sugden to Antarctic Geoscience", in Antarctic science, Volume 26, No 6, December 2014.
  5. "Special Issue. Facing up to Climate Change", in Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, volume 103 part 2, 2012.
  6. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Facing up to climate change: breaking the barriers to a low-carbon Scotland. Report of the RSE Committee of Inquiry, March 2011 (Edinburgh, 2011)
  7. Antarctica. A Keystone in a Changing World (Washington: The National Academy Press, 2007)

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in October 2022.

Research Archive of David Sugden, 1962-2022
Aline Brodin
October 2022
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379