International honour for Victoria University Professor

Victoria University of Wellington’s Professor Colin Wilson has received one of the highest international honours in science, with his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Colin Wilson

Professor Wilson’s achievement is in recognition of his research into volcanoes and for world-class contributions to the understanding of explosive volcanism and crustal magmatism. 

He is the first New Zealander to be elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society since 2006. 

The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and includes 80 Nobel Laureates. 

Professor Wilson, who has been a Professor of Volcanology in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University since 2009, was elected to the Society along with 46 other new Fellows from around the world. 

He says he is deeply honoured by the Fellowship.

“I studied at Imperial College in London, which is just down the road from the Royal Society, and I would often attend geology talks there,” says Professor Wilson. 

“It’s a wonderful group to be part of. Its Fellowship has included people like Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, so there is a sense of following in the footsteps of these eminent scientists, and that is something that is very special to me. Being part of the Royal Society makes you part of that 350 year history and that group of people that in itself lends weight to what you try to do in your work.”

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford congratulated Professor Wilson on an outstanding achievement.

“We are extremely proud of Professor Wilson’s election to the Royal Society, which is richly deserved and a reflection of the quality of the earth sciences at Victoria University and the eminence of Professor Wilson in the field.”

Victoria University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Science, Professor Mike Wilson, says: “Professor Wilson has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of volcanic eruptions and how volcanoes work, and we are very proud to have him here as part of the Science Faculty at Victoria.”

Professor Wilson will travel to London for a formal admission ceremony and new Fellows seminar in early July, where he will give a short presentation on his area of research.