Paul Smith - Polar Medal 2017

Paul Smith 


Paul Smith 

Professor Paul Smith BSc PhD FGS was awarded a Polar Medal in 2017 'for outstanding achievement and service to the United Kingdom in the field of polar research' as an Arctic Geologist and Polar Scholar in Palaeobiology and Earth History.


As a geologist and palaeontologist with a focus on the earliest forms of animal life, Professor Paul Smith has over thirty years’ experience of working in the high Arctic, particularly Greenland and Svalbard. His interest in the Arctic originated during PhD work on the micropalaeontology of Ordovician rocks in North and Northeast Greenland, and early research was part of the multinational programme led by the Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland (GEUS) to create the first comprehensive geological maps of the north and northeast coasts of Greenland. After a period at the Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme working on the Lower Palaeozoic rocks of Svalbard, his research interests moved towards understanding the evolutionary origin of vertebrates and the environmental constraints on the Cambrian Explosion.  His most recent field work has looked at the exceptionally preserved Lower Cambrian fossil fauna of Siriuspasset in northernmost Greenland, and at rocks immediately predating the Cambrian Explosion in the fjord region of Northeast Greenland.  Paul is currently the director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Details of his research are available at:   

See: Museum director receives prestigious Polar Medal for contribution to Arctic science

See: Professor Paul Smith awarded Polar Medal