WH Morton Prize

WH 'Bill' Morton (1941-1977) came to the Geology Department in Manchester from Whitgift School, Croydon, one of a cohort of enthusiastic A-level students inspired by the teaching of the geology master  Dr RJ Jones in the 1950s and 1960s (John Knill, Peter Warren, John Pollard, Pat Brenchley, Rodney Gayer, David Gee, Peter Kennett).

Bill graduated with a First Class Hons BSc in Geology (1961) and continued for a PhD (1964) on the Roundstones Gabbro, Connemara, Ireland under the supervision of Dr John Dewey. Bill was a keen and skilled speleologist (caver) and pioneered several new routes in caves in the UK and abroad. He also travelled widely including a trip to the West Indies in search of tektites, a controversial topic at that time!

After his PhD Bill became a lecturer in geology at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, where he was highly regarded as a gifted and caring teacher.  Sadly  on 10 March 1977 Bill was shot dead by rebel troops while on a field trip with his students near Addis Ababa.  In Ethiopia he researched the local geology, contributing his geological expertise to an international team including archaeologists and anthropologists searching for evidence of early man in the Afar area.

Bill also wrote the authoritative "Field Guide to Ethiopean Minerals, Rocks and Fossils" (1978), published posthumously by the University of Addis Ababa Press (copy in the School library).

Bill’s family, friends and colleagues raised the Morton Prize Fund in memory of an untiring geologist and gifted teacher with a special concern for his students which sadly led to his tragic and untimely death.


2015 Emily Bamber

2014 Joseph Shaw

2013 Alex Hughes

2012 Isabelle Pouncey

2011 Elliot Brookes

2010 Brandon Allen Lee

2009 Joshua Hurst

2008 Lisa Abbott

2007 John Thimbleby

2006 Oliver Duffy

2005 Angela Escolme


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