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Professor Edward Robinson is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious National Medal for Science and Technology.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson presented the medal to Professor Robinson at an awards ceremony hosted by the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) at Vale Royal on January 12.
The National Medal for Science and Technology is a special honour bestowed by the Prime Minister on Jamaicans who have made outstanding contributions in Natural and Applied Sciences, including Engineering.
The award is made to any citizen of Jamaica, during his or her lifetime or posthumously, whose work has significantly advanced knowledge, and through the application of science and technology has contributed significantly to the economic, cultural and social development of the nation since Jamaica’s Independence.
Professor Robinson was selected from among nine nominees which included distinguished scientists and technologists, and received, along with the medal, a certificate, a framed citation and a cash award of $1 million.
Professor Robinson is known locally and internationally for his expert contributions in the earth sciences, including paleontology, oceanography, mineral and energy resources and environmental and engineering geology.
British by birth, his connections with the island began when he met and fell in love with a Jamaican student, Jeanne Mair, while he was an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. On completion of his studies, he relocated to Jamaica and was employed as a Geologist by the Government of Jamaica in the Geological Survey Department. This year marks the Professor’s 50th year in the field.
Professor Robinson’s work has contributed to the development of knowledge and use of minerals in Jamaica, including high quality limestone, gypsum, anhydrite, silica sand, and bauxite. His work has assisted the country’s oil and gas exploration and has recently produced valuable insights into the coastal erosion activities of Jamaica’s marine environment.
The Prime Minister commended Professor Robinson, “on setting such high standards of excellence for himself and living by them”.
“The award is made in recognition of the fact that science cannot exist without scientists,” the Prime Minister said, and further pointed out the importance of recognizing and publicly paying tribute to those who have done exemplary work.
In his response, Professor Robinson expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister and the NCST for honouring him with the National Medal. He made mention of his colleague and previous recipient of the National Medal, Professor Gerald Lalor, “who has all along, by example, shown me how to do good science and to do it well”.
“I have really enjoyed those five decades as a Geologist and I am glad that in a small way I have been able to contribute to science education at the University (of the West Indies) and to the development of some of Jamaica’s natural resources,” the Professor said.
He holds the position of Professor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies, and is still an active researcher. He heads the Marine Geology Unit of the Department of Geography and Geology.
The event marked the second staging of the National Medal for Science and Technology Awards. It was first held on November 27, 2003 and coincided with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the NCST.Previous recipients of the National Medal for Science and Technology include, Dr. Arnoldo Ventura and Professor Lalor. The Medal was awarded posthumously to Dr. T.P. Lecky, Dr. Cicely Williams and Austin Thomas.
The Medal is awarded biennially with a maximum of two awards being presented.