Professor Gideon Henderson

Professor of Earth Sciences

Gideon Henderson is a geochemist who has greatly improved our knowledge about changes in the Earth’s climate over its history. His findings have been fundamental to building predictions of climate change initiated by human industrial and agricultural activities. Gideon’s most recent research includes collaboration with ocean modellers on the feasibility of ocean geoengineering schemes as a means of storing carbon dioxide.

Gideon has refined and developed techniques to obtain data about ‘geochemical proxies’ throughout the depth of the oceans and underlying sediments. These proxies include stable and radioactive isotopes of uranium, thorium and silicon. From their analysis, he has been able to construct timescales for processes such as ocean circulation, rainfall and weathering, as well as the Earth’s historic sea level.

Gideon’s accolades include the European Geosciences Union’s outstanding young scientist award, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize. He is a member of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research’s planning group for GEOTRACES, an international research programme for the study of biogeochemical cycles and the distribution of trace elements in the marine environment.

Gideon Henderson was Co-Director of the 21st Century Ocean Institute, a member of the Oxford Martin School from 2008-2012. He was a founding director of the Geoengineering Programme, of which he remains an Associate. He also remains connected with the School through his role as an Oxford Martin Senior Fellow.

His research focuses on understanding long-term climate change and the carbon cycle, and therefore to improve prediction of future change. In the oceans, Gideon’s research focuses on understanding the complex system of feedbacks that controls the changing carbon cycle.