Obituary: Chris King (1949-2022)
25 February 2022
It is with the greatest sadness that European Geosciences Union shares the information of the death of Professor Chris King, chair of the EGU Education Committee.
Professor King joined the EGU Education Committee in 2017 and became its chair the following year. He brought with him a joyful enthusiasm and commitment that inspired a number of new initiatives including the EGU Higher Education Teaching Grants, Higher Education Geoscience Teaching Workshops, and the introduction of the EGU geoscience education Field Officers to name but a few.
Jean-Luc Berenger, Deputy Education Committee chair, could not have put it better when he wrote “Chris has been a great promoter of geoscience education around the world. He has created simple and effective tools to help researchers and teachers to promote geoscience. It is with this spirit that he has also led the Education Committee in recent years. We have learned a lot from him and many new actions have been created under his leadership.”
Having started his career as a geoscientist working in Africa, Chris King subsequently moved into education ultimately becoming a specialist in Earth science/geology on the science teacher training team at Keele University in the UK. It was from there that he led the way in developing a number of geoscience education initiatives that culminated in his appointment as Professor of Earth Science Education at Keele University in 2003.
The significant contribution Chris King made to geoscience education and teaching has been recognised through a number of awards including the Geological Society of London’s ‘Distinguished Service Award’ and the Geologists’ Association’s ‘Halstead Medal’, for “work of outstanding merit, deemed to further the objects of the Association and to promote Geology”. Most recently, he was awarded the Geoethics Medal 2018 from the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) in recognition of “his passion and unique skills that have enhanced geoscience education and made it more accessible for a wider audience”.
But Chris King was not only recognised as an educator. His calm and pragmatic approach was always appreciated by those who knew him, and he often brought a fresh insight to challenging problems. Chris King was always optimistic, thoughtful and considerate in the way that he engaged with and encouraged those around him, but the thing that truly stood out was his obvious devotion to his family, especially when it came to spending time with his grandchildren.
Everyone who knew him will feel the passing of Chris King but our thoughts at this time are with his wife, Phoebe, and the rest of his extended family who will feel his loss the most. It is to them that EGU extends its deepest condolences.
President, European Geosciences Union