Winners of the Barrow Award


Prof. Frank Spear. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Frank is a Professor of Geology and Head of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, where he has been based since 1985. Frank completed his BA at Amherst College, Massachusetts, in 1971, and his PhD on ‘Phase equilibria and mineral chemistry of a hydrothermally synthesized amphibolite’ at the University of California in Los Angeles in 1976.

Frank is widely known for his classic ‘big-blue’ textbook “Metamorphic phase equilibria and pressure-temperature-time paths”, which galvanized the field in the mid-1990s, as well as for his pioneering contributions across multiple aspects of metamorphic petrology. At the time Frank started his research, quantitative metamorphic petrology was in its infancy. The first thermometers had only just been proposed, with little direct experimental support, and most research relied on broad categories of conditions—greenschist facies, amphibolite facies, etc.—for ‘quantification’. Together with his students, Frank has been one of the most influential scientists in the field of quantitative metamorphic petrology, with major contributions including: major and trace element thermobarometry; metamorphic phase equilibria of major and trace phases; inversion of chemical zoning to determine pressure-temperature paths; use of trace element zoning to infer reactions, and help put the ‘t’ in P-T-t paths; calculation of cooling rates from diffusion profiles; identification of potentially significant overstepping (using QuiG barometry); development of sophisticated thermodynamic modelling software (especially “Program Gibbs” and “Thermobarometry”); and, development of tectonic interpretations of collisions and core complexes.

It is difficult to conceive how one individual could have such an impact on so many fundamental and current research areas in metamorphic petrology. Therefore, the Barrow Award, which recognises “a scientist that has made outstanding contribution to metamorphic studies”, is clearly a most fitting and deserved recognition for Frank.

The Barrow Award 2023 was judged by Lorraine Tual, Mahyra Tedeschi and Victor Guevera. Frank was nominated for the award by Matt Kohn and David Pattison, with supporting letters from Philip England and Jane Selverstone. The citation above was written by the Metamorphic Studies Group committee, using text from the application package.


Prof. Katy Evans (Curtin University)

Katy is a Professor in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University, where she has been based since 2007 as a Research and Teaching fellow, ARC Future fellow and Professor. Katy completed her undergraduate studies and PhD at the University of Cambridge, completing her PhD on ‘Acadian Metamorphic Fluid Flow in East Central Vermont’.

Katy is an influential scientist who has conducted high-impact research and made fundamental contributions not only to the field of metamorphic geology but also crossing disciplinary boundaries into economic geology building on her thermodynamic work into sulphide minerals. She has written several important, highly-cited process-oriented papers on the role of fluids in orogenic systems, the redox budgets, and sulfide minerals that are of importance for our understanding of orogenic (subduction) processes as well as (gold) mineralisation. The most important fundamental contribution that Katy has made to the field of metamorphic geology has been in creating a foundation for our understanding of how metamorphic fluids control redox changes in the deep Earth. Katy has also become a world-leading expert on unravelling the complexities of serpentinization and deserpentinization through a long-running collaboration with Ron Frost. Due to her work on redox budgets, element cycles and serpentinites, Katy has become recognised as a world leader in the role of redox processes and fluids in metamorphic systems. This recognition has led to many keynote and invited presentations, and particularly to invited papers and book chapters as well as winning competitive research fellowships in Australia.

Katy has provided outstanding support for PhD students, encouraging students and nurturing them to go onto successful careers in geoscience. Her students have gone on to leadership positions with Rio Tinto, BHP and Northern Star, and post-doctoral fellowships at CSIRO. Katy is also an excellent teacher and she coordinates and teaches on modules including field geology, Mineralogy and Geochemistry and a masters-level Mineral Deposits unit.

Katy has made an outstanding contribution to the community though her dedication to editorial work. She has been an editor for Journal of Metamorphic Geology since 2018, and was an editor for Geology from 2016-2020, was recognised as a Geology Exceptional Reviewer in 2020. From 2017, she has been a member then Chair (2019-2020) of the Great Southern Science Council, a volunteer organisation of scientists who are passionate about connecting science and the community.

Those who have worked with Katy are all aware of her scientific insight into geological processes based on a deep understanding of thermodynamics and chemistry, a character that also clearly stands out in her published work. While Katy has won this award for her contributions thus far, many of us in the metamorphic community look forward to her future contributions to metamorphic geology with equal interest.

Katy stands out as an excellent researcher, mentor, teacher and member of the metamorphic community and we believe that the Barrow Award is a fitting recognition of Katy’s outstanding work.

The Barrow Award 2022 was judged by Clare Warren, Donna Whitney and Pavel Pitra. Katy was nominated for the award by Andrew Tomkins and her nomination was supported by Roger Powell and Mike Bickle.


Prof. Roger Powell (University of Melbourne)

2021 is a notable year for The Metamorphic Studies Group, as it is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Therefore, it is highly appropriate that this year’s Barrow Award goes to Prof. Roger Powell, whose work over the last ~40 years has fundamentally changed the way we do research in metamorphic petrology. In particular, Roger has been instrumental in advancing quantitative metamorphic petrology through the development of the THERMOCALC software and the use of phase petrology to understand metamorphism.

Roger is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne, where he has been based since 1984 as a lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and professorial fellow. Prior to this he was a lecturer at the University of Leeds in the UK. Roger completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Durham and was awarded his PhD from the University of Oxford in 1973. In 2015 Roger was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has won several notable academic medals and awards including the Jaeger Medal from the Australian Academy of Science (2013) and the Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union (2009).

Roger is perhaps best known for his thermodynamic computational program THERMOCALC. The key contribution of Roger to the metamorphic community is through his development, together with Prof. Tim Holland, of an internally consistent database of thermodynamic data for metamorphic minerals and melts, along with software to allow evaluation of metamorphic conditions in natural rocks. Through his numerous workshops around the world promoting, explaining, testing and improving the database, activity models and software, he has been instrumental in educating a whole generation of petrologists. Roger had made sure the world is aware of the tools available to understand metamorphic processes and has worked tirelessly to improve and widen the scope of the software package.

Roger has shown an incredibly long-term vision in seeing the benefits of computational methods in petrology from as far back as the 1970s where the nucleus of THERMOCALC was first developed, through the 1990s with the emergence of calculated petrogenetic grids and calculated pseudosections, and into the 21st century and the common use of this approach and the development of geologically realistic model chemical systems. While the broader THERMOCALC endeavour has involved many people, it has been Roger that has stood at the core of this work.

Roger has done much more for the community than just his own central science: he has built a wide research network worldwide that has introduced many to the, often daunting, challenge of calculating and using quantitative phase diagrams. He has published a great number of papers including co-authors from all over the world, many of whom would visit Melbourne for research visits to learn from Roger. He has been a member of the editorial review board of the Journal of Metamorphic Geology for a record 35 years, including as editor from 2000 to 2012, and has taught numerous international short courses on many aspects of metamorphism. Importantly he has served as a supervisor or academic mentor to many, guiding and advising them on science, life and the finer aspects of wine. Many have gone on to highly successful careers and are part of the lively metamorphic community.

The 40th anniversary Metamorphic Studies Group Barrow Award is a fitting mark of our UK recognition of the substantial, innovative and absolutely fundamental contributions that Roger has made to our science and to thank Roger for the decades of service that he has committed to the worldwide metamorphic community.

The Barrow Award 2021 was judged by Aphrodite Indares, Chunjing Wei and Paddy O’Brien. Roger was nominated for the award by Richard White and his nomination was supported by Simon Harley and Richard Palin.


Dr Clare Warren (The Open University)


Dr. Clare Warren is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, UK, where she has been based since 2011 as a NERC Postdoctoral and Advanced Postdoctoral Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and Senior Lecturer. Clare completed her undergraduate studies and PhD entitled ‘Subduction of the Arabian continental margin beneath the Semail Ophiolite, Oman: insights from U-Pb geochronology and metamorphic modelling’ at the University of Oxford. Subsequently, Clare was a Killam Fellow at Dalhousie University, Canada

Clare’s contribution to metamorphic petrology is that of a multi-method and multi-scale thinker and versatile researcher. She has made significant contributions to more than one topic in metamorphic petrology from mineral scale processes (Ar diffusion) to large-scale tectonics (exhumation of UHP rocks or evolution of the Himalayas). She has challenged existing paradigms and made a significant indent in “established” methodologies showing, for example, that other mechanisms have to be considered when interrogating Ar-Ar data.  Similarly, her work on UHP exhumation has proposed potential mechanisms that do not rely on the usual suspects (e.g. slab break off).

Her profile represents that of a modern petrologist, who can work with multiple tools and strategies including textures, isotopes, numerical modeling, field work, geochronology, tectonics and geodynamics. This breath of expertise is rare and she manages this exceptionally well. She is a well-recognised Earth Scientist within and across fields and a great role model for the whole community.

Clare is an energetic and effective ambassador for Earth Science in general and metamorphic geology in particular. Clare is a terrific catalyst – someone who will plunge in and organise seminars, workshops, field trips, and weekly tennis games as appropriate.

Clare is dedicated to serve the science community through organisation of groups, workshops and conferences, and as an editor. Her contribution to the Metamorphic Studies Group goes well beyond the call of duty and service, where she has served for over 10 years on the committee including as secretary and treasurer. Her educational achievements and high standards are reflected in the award of the Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Through service and education, she has touched and improved the science experience of many colleagues, both junior and senior.

Clare’s outstanding scientific record in metamorphic geology, her excellent efforts in supervising students of metamorphic processes and her highly commendable activities in support of the metamorphic community make her a well-deserved awardee of the Barrow Award. Clare demonstrates the importance of female scientists for the entire Earth science community, and we believe that the Barrow Award is a fitting recognition of Clare’s tireless work promoting metamorphic geology for the whole science community.

Words of support adapted from Daniela Rubatto, Becky Jamieson, Matthias Konrad- Schmolke and Ralf Halama.

The Barrow Award 2020 was judged by: Daniela Rubatto, Bernado Cesare, Bruce Yardley, Matthias Konrad-Schmolke and Nick Rogers. Clare was nominated for the award by Ralf Halama and her application was supported by Rebecca Jamieson and Jan Wijbrans.