Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringInstitute for Security Science & Technology

Distinguished Research Fellow







4.16Faculty BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Sir Keith O’Nions took up the post of Acting Rector of Imperial College London on 1 January 2010, after joining the College in July 2008 to set up and direct a new Institute for Security Science and Technology.

Before joining the College Sir Keith was Director General, Science and Innovation in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. This followed his position as Chief Scientific Adviser at MOD from January 2000 to July 2004 and Director General, Science and Innovation and Chief Scientific Adviser at DTI from 2004 onwards.

He attended the University of Nottingham, gained a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Alberta in 1969 and became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oslo in 1970.

From 1971 to 1975 he was Demonstrator and then Lecturer in Geochemistry at University of Oxford. He became Professor of Geology at Columbia University in 1975, Royal Society Research Professor in Cambridge from 1979 until 1995 when he moved to be Head of Earth Sciences at Oxford.

Keith O'Nions has participated in a broad range of academic and technological committees. He became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1979 and a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1980. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (1983), Honorary Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences (1998), Fellow Indian National Science Academy (2001) and Honorary Fellow Royal Academy of Engineering (2005). He has received Honorary doctorates from a number of Universities.

He was a member of the UK Government’s Council of Science and Technology (1998-2000) and Trustee and then Chairman of the Natural History Museum (1996-2005).

Keith is married with three daughters and received a Knighthood for services to Earth Sciences in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours.



Meynadier L, Allegre C, O'Nions RK, 2008, Plate tectonics, radiogenic isotopic tracers and paleoceanography -: The case of the manganese crusts in the Pacific, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:272, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:513-522

Chang VTC, Williams RJP, Makishima A, et al., 2004, Mg and Ca isotope fractionation during CaCO<sub>3</sub> biomineralisation, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol:323, ISSN:0006-291X, Pages:79-85

McKenzie D, Stracke A, Blichert-Toft J, et al., 2004, Source enrichment processes responsible for isotopic anomalies in oceanic island basalts, Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol:68, ISSN:0016-7037, Pages:2699-2724

Chang VTC, Makishima A, Belshaw NS, et al., 2003, Purification of Mg from low-Mg biogenic carbonates for isotope ratio determination using multiple collector ICP-MS, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, Vol:18, ISSN:0267-9477, Pages:296-301


Zhu XK, Guo Y, Tang SH, et al., 2004, Metal-silicate fractionation and chondrule formation: Fe isotope constraints, 14th Annual V M Goldschmidt Conference, PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, Pages:A756-A756, ISSN:0016-7037

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