Professor Jane Plant CBE 1945-2016

Professor Jane Plant CBE
It is with great sadness that we report that Jane passed away on Friday 4th March 2016. She will be remembered vividly by many of her former colleagues at BGS as well as by former research collaborators and students across the world. A geochemist of high international standing and a leader in her field, Jane made a lasting impression on those who had the privilege of working with her – her passion, drive, creativity and pursuit of meaningful impact in her research were exceptional. Reflecting on Jane's work as a BGS scientist, it is easy to see that she left a substantial legacy – a high resolution baseline geochemical dataset with many applications of economic, environmental and social benefit for the UK and methods that have been adopted and adapted around the globe as standard for undertaking geochemical surveys. Further, Jane developed strong and prolific research outputs in metallogenesis, crustal evolution and environment and health; In the latter she was the initiator of what continues to be a significant area of research for BGS. Her scientific reputation was recognised throughout her career by numerous prestigious awards, honorary professorships and memberships of learned society, governmental and parliamentary committees.

Jane's legacy extended beyond her scientific outputs – her leadership, with a firm commitment to creating and supporting opportunities for the development and progression of early-career scientists also made a lasting impact; she made exceptional career progress becoming one of the nation’s most senior female scientists in an era when leading female scientists were rare and faced many barriers to progression. As a result of her experiences she became a role model and champion to many younger scientists.

Jane retired from BGS in 2005 when she held the role of Chief Scientist but her career continued to gather momentum in other directions, commencing in 2003, with publication of 'Your life in your hands', the first of a series of books she wrote on the relationship between diet and health. After leaving BGS, Jane held the position of Emeritus Professor of Geochemistry at Imperial College until her death.


G-BASE: geochemical map of Scotland: Nickel (Ni)

Jane attended Ashby de la Zouch Grammar School for Girls and joined BGS in 1967, aged 23, with a first-class degree in Geology from the University of Liverpool and was assigned to the Atomic Energy Section in London under Stan Bowie. Her career progressed rapidly; initially developing methods in the north of Scotland for a regional geochemical Survey to identify resources of economically important metals for which she was awarded, in 1977, a PhD from the university of Leicester for her work "Regional Geochemical mapping in Great Britain with particular reference to sources of error".

By 1983 Jane had achieved Band three Individual Merit Promotion in recognition of her scientific achievement. Following a sabbatical year in 1988-89, spent in Northern Canada developing her skills and experience working as Vice-President of a junior exploration company, she moved from London to Keyworth as all BGS Geochemistry operations relocated. Subsequently, Jane held a succession of senior leadership positions in BGS culminating in 2002 with her appointment as BGS Chief Scientist.

In 1997 Jane was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in recognition of her contribution to science and industry.


14 March 2016