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Dick LawsDick was a zoologist, gaining both his bachelor’s degree and his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He spent the late 1940s studying the ecology of elephant seals in South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands, where he had to construct his own laboratory with timbers from a derelict Norwegian whaling station. During a two year stint on Signy Island, he also fulfilled the roles of Base Leader, magistrate and postmaster! After spending a season as a whaling inspector, he joined the UK’s National Institute of Oceanography in 1954 where he studied whales. His work on marine mammals proved to be very important, allowing individuals to be aged for the first time, leading to the development of species-specific population models.

After a spell in Africa in the early 1960s, Dick joined the British Antarctic Survey in 1969 as head of the Life Sciences Division. He was appointed Director of BAS in 1973 and held that post until his retirement in 1987. Subsequently, he was Master of St Edmund's College, Cambridge for many years.

His work for SCAR began in 1972 as a member of the Biology Working Group, becoming the group’s Chairman in 1980. As the UK Delegate to SCAR from 1984 to 1993, he became President in 1990.

For his many achievements, Dick was awarded the Polar Medal and clasp and the Bruce Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1983. His name is also commemorated in Laws Glacier on Coronation Island in the South Orkney Islands.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.


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