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Richard Gilbert West. 31 May 1926—30 December 2020

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Gibbard, PL 
Turner, C 


jats:p <jats:inline-graphic xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="RSBM20220017f07.tif" /> </jats:p> jats:pRichard West was undoubtedly the greatest British Quaternary geologist of his generation. Following National Service in India, he was admitted to Clare College, Cambridge in 1948 to study the Natural Sciences Tripos. Considering Geology for Part II, he finally selected Botany and was awarded First Class Honours. Under the supervision of Professor Harry Godwin FRS, in the Subdepartment of Quaternary Research (SDQR) for his PhD thesis he studied Pleistocene interglacial deposits in East Anglia. His detailed investigations at Hoxne and Ipswich led to a lifetime unravelling the environmental, geological and vegetational history of Quaternary deposits in Britain, particularly in East Anglia. In the course of this work, he was responsible for recognizing and defining the majority of the cold or glacial and interglacial stages into which the Quaternary Period in Britain is subdivided. His expertise extended from pollen and plant macrofossil analysis to physical geological evidence, glacial deposits, periglacial phenomena, and sea-level change. These studies required extensive cooperation with specialist colleagues, to the extent that the majority of his investigations are determinedly multi-disciplinary, an approach in which he was undoubtedly a leader. At Cambridge, becoming Director of the SDQR and later Professor of Botany, he supervised, nurtured and inspired numerous research and Master's students and influenced many others, both academics and amateurs alike. His research articles (over 150) and books provide a lasting legacy in Quaternary research. After retirement and up to the time of his death he continued to research, producing several important publications, principally on the evolution of the East Anglian Fenland.</jats:p>



3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 37 Earth Sciences, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 50 Philosophy and Religious Studies, 5002 History and Philosophy Of Specific Fields, 3705 Geology

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Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society

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The Royal Society