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Professor, Environmental science, Lancaster University

Barbara Maher is Professor and Co-Director of Lancaster's world-leading Centre for Environmental Magnetism and Palaeomagnetism. She was awarded the Mineralogical Society's Schlumberger Medal in 2014, and received the Institute of Physics Appleton Medal in 2004. She has also been the recipient of the Royal Society's Wolfson Research Merit Award from 2006-2012.

Professor Maher led the team which recently discovered the abundant presence of externally-derived, magnetite pollution particles in the human brain, identifying for the first time a possible causal role for these toxic particles in human neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.

Her research interests are in Environmental Magnetism and Palaomagnetism, for purposes of retrieving palaeoclimatic, palaeoenvironmental and dating information from the magnetic records of Quaternary terrestrial sediments (soils, loess, tills, lake sediments), deep-sea sediments, and pre-Quaternary rocks.

She is also involved in the application of magnetic methods to current environmental processes and problems, including magnetic monitoring and sourcing of particulate pollutants, tracing of modern fluvial sediment sources, and magnetic 'clean-up' of contaminated waters


  • –present
    Professor, Environmental science, Lancaster University


  • 1984 
    Liverpool University, PhD Environmental geophysics