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Prof Richard Howarth
  • Honorary Professor
  • Dept of Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
Born 1941. 1960-63: BSc, geology, University of Bristol. 1963-66: University of Bristol: PhD thesis: The Boulder Bed of Co. Donegal, Eire; supervisor, Dr. [now Prof.] Bernard E. Leake. A sedimentological and geochemical study of an Eo-Cambrian (Dalradian) tillite. Statistical calibrations for the first XRF spectrometer in a British geology department; began to use multivariate methods for the interpretation of geochemical and other data. 1966-68: Bataafse [now Shell] Internationale Petroleum Mij. N.V.: The Hague: Computer programming and statistical analysis for research project relating hydrocarbon production of world-wide sedimentary basins to their geology.1968-85: Applied Geochemistry Research Group, Department of Geology, Imperial College (ICST), London: NERC Post-doctoral Research Fellow (1968-72); Probationary Lecturer (1972-75); Lecturer (1975-78); Reader in Mathematical Geology (1978-85). Application of statistical and computing methods to quality control, mapping and interpretation of regional geochemical survey data for mineral exploration, geological and epidemiological purposes.1985-92: British Petroleum Group: Senior Consultant, Information Systems Services, London (1985-86); Project Leader (1986-89); Research Associate, BP Research (1988-92).1993-present:  Department of Earth Sciences, UCL: Visiting Professor in Mathematical Geology (1993-2001); Honorary Professor in Mathematical Geology (2001-present). Consultancy (1969-1985; 1993-2000) to private companies and national bodies in the UK, Portugal, USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia on a wide range of topics in computer and statistical applications related to geology, geochemistry, geochemical laboratory quality control, oilfield production and manufacturing problems. Membership of numerous Committees and Working Parties (1970-2002) Editorial: Associate Editor, Geocom Bulletin (1968-71); Editor, Geocom Programs (1971-73); Regional Editor, Computers & Geosciences (1975-88); Associate Editor, Mathematical Geology (1977-80); Computers & Geosciences (1989-1995); Geoscientist (1996-99); Mathematical Geology (2001-2006); Editor, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (2002-2006); Editorial Board, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (2002-).
Research Summary
The application of modern statistical methods to problem-solving in the geological sciences. My research has included: regional and environmental geochemistry; chemostratigraphy; properties of aggregates and concrete; and methods for statistical quality control in chemistry. My computing work has underpinned creation of The Wolfson Geochemical Atlas of England and Wales and development of the 87Sr/86Sr time scale (latest version 2013). The history of the development and application of quantitative methods in geology and geophysics, especially the early application of numerical (and particularly graphical) methods (from the late 18thC up to, roughly, the 1960s); biographical studies.
Teaching Summary
1968-85: ICST, Department of Geology: Fortran and Basic programming, and numerical and statistical methods at undergraduate level; and statistical interpretation of regional geochemical data at MSc level.  Supervised/co-supervised 13 PhD and 6 MSc theses, and also advised on data-analysis aspects of thesis work for numerous other masters and doctoral students.1984-91: Kingston University: External Examiner, Diploma course in Analysis of Geological Data.1993-present: Department of Earth Sciences, UCL: Lectured on statistical methods to MSc class in Hydrogeology (1993-2001) MSc course in Micropaleontology, and to final year undergraduates in geophysics (1997-2003). Gave statistical advice and assistance to staff, and to 6 MSc and 12 PhD students in connection with dissertation projects.1995-98: Queen Mary College,  London: Visiting Lecturer to MSc course in geomaterials. Gave statistical assistance to 1 PhD and 1 MSc student.
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