Professor Mary Fowler, a geophysicist, has been Master of Darwin College, Cambridge since October 2012. Her BA was in Mathematics (Girton College, Cambridge, 1972) and her PhD in Geophysics (Darwin College, Cambridge, 1976). After a Fellowship at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland she held positions at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, before joining Royal Holloway, University of London in 1992 where she served as Head of the Department of Earth Sciences and Dean of the Science Faculty.
Professionally in additional to editorial and advisory roles, she has served on various Research Council, Royal Society, Leverhume, RAE and REF panels, on the Councils of the Geological Society and the Royal Astronomical Society, as Chair of the Committee of Heads of UK Geoscience Departments and Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society. Personally she had a decade-long ‘career-break’ and worked part-time for another decade while her family was growing up.
Her research publications have contributed in a number of important areas including the first use of synthetic seismogram techniques to model oceanic crustal structure from marine seismic experiments; studies on the mechanisms of formation of sedimentary basins; the study of magma chamber processes on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and her work on the biogeography of deep-sea hydrothermal vent fauna.
She is best known around the world for her book, The Solid Earth: An Introduction to Global Geophysics”, for which she was awarded the Prestwich Medal by the Geological Society in 1996. Reviewers said of the first edition “This fine new geophysics textbook will now be added to the top of my list of recommendations, as it promises to be excellent both for teachers and for those seeking a review of these processes from a geophysical point of view.” (Nature); and of the 2nd edition “The book provides an exciting review of a decade of advances and improved comprehension of the interior working of the Earth. It is truly a wonderful text and a source of reference for many facts in the field of Geoscience.” (Environmental Geology).