Tribute to Jeff Harris

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Jeff W. Harris is a pioneer in the field of diamond research with major contributions in the areas of diamond classification, inclusion identification and geochemistry, and in age-dating techniques. Jeff's research provided detailed information on the different environments of diamond formation in the subcratonic lithosphere and in the deep sublithospheric mantle. Integration of the diamond studies overseen by Jeff with craton scale seismic and isotopic studies led to a new understanding of the temporal and spatial distribution of diamonds of different source paragenesis.

Jeff completed his undergraduate studies with an Honours degree in Geology at the University of Liverpool in 1964. During his time as a graduate student (MSc completed in 1965 and PhD 1968) in the field of crystallography at the University of London, Jeff worked with Dame Catherine Lonsdale and Judith Milledge and met a fellow graduate student who was equally interested in diamonds, Henry Meyer. After a few years of visiting lectureships, Jeff began his long lasting relationship with De Beers in 1973, initially as regular research staff in the Diamond Research Laboratories of De Beers Industrial Diamond Division in Johannesburg, South Africa and subsequently, till his retirement in December 2006, as a senior consultant. During this period, Jeff oversaw De Beers' academic research program. Much to Jeff's enjoyment, this task required him to circle the globe several times per year visiting his academic and industrial collaborators, and acquiring and distributing diamond samples breezing from South Africa through Germany, France, USA and Canada before resting a bit back home in Edinburgh. His many academic collaborators benefitted greatly from Jeff's energetic approach, his ability to acquire rare research specimens and his active participation in their research programs. Jeff must have broken many thousand diamonds to recover inclusions for university studies and, with his “team diamond” network spanning the globe, could solve many difficult situations for the researchers working with him. A special thanks to Barry Hawthorne and De Beers Consolidated Mines for giving Jeff the financial resources for this enterprise.

His academic career took Jeff through the Universities of Edinburgh (1974–1976), Strathclyde (1979–88) and finally Glasgow (since 1988), where he “retired” as a Senior Research Fellow at the end of 2006. Jeff is, however, still very active in both research and teaching. In addition to his affiliation with Glasgow University, Jeff holds the title of Honorary Professor at Frankfurt University (since 2001) and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta (since 2004). To date Jeff authored or co-authored two books and over 150 peer reviewed papers, of which 12 are published either in Nature or Science. Jeff's contributions to diamond research make him one of the foremost scientists in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)XXI-XXI
Number of pages1
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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