Home Home
contact | search | site map

An Awode to Elderfield

I am thrilled to introduce the Goldschmidt Award to Harry Elderfield
For the countless secrets of ocean chemistry he has revealed
Harry has "annexed" the Periodic Table of the ocean, as such
Barely an element has escaped the Elderfield touch

Magnesium nearly got away, but with his sheer persistence,
Harry pinned down its sink to those sneaky mid-ocean vents
From dust to diagenesis, Harry fathomed the oceans' ins and outs
Biogeochemical cycles, elemental roundabouts

Harry invented a Sr isotope clock that could tick
And beat precise time for the entire Cenozoic
His analytical brilliance with elements earth and rare
Established a tracer that tells us which watermass is where

Titrating the past with oceans sparked a new Elderfield era
Paleoceanography using the chemistry of foraminifera
Harry has pioneered a plethora of proxies in their lime
And the rollercoasting "Elderfield curve" of proxy optimism through time

King among trace proxies, Harry mastered that scamp magnesium
To wrestle a record of temperature independent from ice volume,
Even ice sheets refuse to behave as you might expect
Waxing when oceans stay warm, oblivious to the greenhouse effect

Harry is infectious with enthusiasm, a true geochemophile
A delight to work with his unassuming schoolboy style
The Elderfield has blossomed a bouquet of successful "Elderflowers"
Yet his tendrils touch society way beyond academic towers

Founding editor of G-cubed, and many Treatises; he was king-pin
For tackling disposal of Brent Spar and ocean acidification
Harry defies thermodynamics, never tending to a lower energy state
With his ERC, Harry is now battling boron at no slowing rate

So Harry, for your continuing colossal contribution, thank you
And congratulations on the highest accolade which was perhaps overdue!

By Ros Rickaby
Citation for Henry Elderfield, 2013 V.M. Goldschmidt Medalist
Presented at the 2013 Goldschmidt Conference in Florence, Italy