David Oldroyd (left) with other history of geology colleagues enjoying a glass of champagne at Manchester United football ground during the 2013 INHIGEO meeting.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Professor David Oldroyd, one of the most distinguished historians of geology of our time.

David Roger Oldroyd was an Australian geologist, as well as an historian of geology and evolutionary theory. Oldroyd studied at the University of Cambridge, the University of London and did his PhD at the University of New South Wales where he was an Associate Professor of the School of Science and Technology Studies at the time of his death. In 1994 he became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. 

Oldroyd was Secretary General of the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences  (INHIGEO) (1996-2004) and was thereafter its Vice President.

He was President of the Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science.  

He was a corresponding member, and in 2008 a full member, of the International Academy of the History of Science in 2002.

In 1994 he was awarded the Geological Society of London’s Sue Tyler-Friedman Medal for the History of Geology, and in 1999 the Geological Society of America History of Geology Award.

He spent many years as editor of Earth Sciences History, and was the author of many important works on the history of geology, a selection of which includes the following:

  • Earth Cycles: A Historical Perspective, Greenwood 2006
  • Editor: The earth inside and out: some major Contributions to geology in the twentieth century, Geological Society, London 2002
  • Earth, water, ice and fire: two hundred years of geological research in the English Lake District, Geological Society, London 2002
  • Sciences of the earth: studies in the history of mineralogy and geology, Aldershot 1998
  • Thinking about the Earth.A History of Ideas in Geology, Harvard University Press 1996
  • The Highlands Controversy.Constructing Geological Knowledge through Fieldwork in Nineteenth-Century Britain, University of Chicago Press 1990
  • The Arch of Knowledge: an introductory story to the history of the philosophy and methodology of science, New York: Methuen 1986
  • With Ian Langham: The Wider domain of evolutionary thought, Dordrecht: Reidel 1983
  • Darwinian impacts: an introduction to the Darwinian revolution, Open University Press 1980

A full obituary of David Oldroyd will appear in the next Hogg Newsletter.