Professor Dick Aldridge

Posted by pt91 at Feb 10, 2014 12:10 PM |

We have learnt, with great regret, of the death of Professor Dick Aldridge, Emeritus Professor of the Department of Geology. He joined the University in 1989 from the University of Nottingham, where he was Reader in Palaeontology. He became a Professor at Leicester in 1996 and served as Head of the Department of Geology from 1998 to 2004. He held the F.W. Bennett Professorship from 2002 until his retirement from the University in 2011.

His passing is an enormous loss to the academic community as well as to his family and friends. A Londoner by birth, he gained his BSc in Geology and a PhD from the University of Southampton. “Dick” was a palaeontologist, specializing in the investigation of fossils in rocks some 400-525 million years old. He was a world authority on conodonts, microfossil teeth that he together with colleagues used in ground-breaking discoveries that helped elucidate the early evolution of vertebrates. Such research was highlighted in Simon Knell’s book on “The Great Fossil Enigma”. He investigated ancient exceptionally well preserved fossil deposits, especially in South Africa and also China, in order to reveal the palaeobiology and evolution of extinct animals and thereby gain insight into key episodes in the history of life. Using a range of microfossils he also established schemes to date, correlate and environmentally signature early rock sequences both locally and internationally.

His leadership and wisdom was widely sought after, and he served many learned societies and organisations with distinction. He was, inter alia, President of the International Palaeontological Association (2002-6), The Palaeontological Association (2008-10), The Micropalaeontological Society (1995-8), and the Geology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (2001-2). He also served on a range of NERC, Royal Society and other professional committees. His academic merit and contributions were widely recognized. He was the recipient of the Lapworth Medal of the Palaeontological Association, The Coke medal of the Geological Society and The Brady Medal of the Micropalaeontological Society.

Dick enjoyed teaching and he excelled at it. In addition to his distinguished scientific research and publications his enduring legacy will undoubtedly be his enthusiasm for learning and for the philosophy and curiosity-driven nature of science that was warmly appreciated by all the undergraduate students that he taught over the years and by the doctoral research students, numbering almost 30, who benefited from his training. Many of those he supervised now occupy senior positions in academia and other professional bodies. He was, put simply, a much-loved and generous colleague, always willing to help and offer advice. With his engaging wit, work with Dick in the classroom and in the field was always nothing less than fun.

He is survived by Alison, his wife of more than 40 years, and by their sons James and David, daughter Rebecca and seven grandchildren.

A celebration of the life of Professor Richard Aldridge will be held at 2p.m. on Thursday 20th February 2014 at College Court, Leicester. The celebration will be followed by light refreshments.

College Court

Knighton Road

Leicester LE2 3UF

Sat Nav - LE2 3TQ

Telephone: 0116 244 9669

Accommodation, if required, can be booked directly with College Court.


Emeritus Professor David Siveter & Professor Mark Purnell

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