Bill McGuire

Author Biography and Research Interests: 

Bill McGuire is the Director of the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. He is author or editor of over 400 books, papers and articles focusing on volcano instability and monitoring, volcanic hazards, natural hazards and environmental change, climate change and global geophysical events. He has worked on or visited volcanoes all over the world, including Mount Etna, Rabaul and Ulawun (PNG), Pinatubo and Ta’al (Philippines), and Soufriere Hills (Montserrat).

Bill has held the positions of UK National Correspondent of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, and Secretary of the UK Panel of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. He has been a council member of the Geological Society and in 1996 was Senior Scientist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution and a member of the RI’s Science Media Panel. He is currently on the editorial boards of three journals: Disasters, Acta Vulcanologica and Volcanology & Seismology. Bill was a member of the Natural Hazards Working Group established by the UK Government in January 2005, in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami, to work towards an Intergovernmental Science Panel on Extreme Hazards.

Bill's recent work has focused on the instability and collapse of volcanoes, volcanic risk and insurance, the potential impact of global geophysical events – about which he has briefed the All-parliamentary Group on the Earth Sciences - and the hazard implications of climate change. His most recent academic texts are: Natural Hazards and Environmental Change published in 2002 by Arnold and the World Atlas of Natural Hazards, also published by Arnold in August 2004. At UCL, Bill is director of the unique postgraduate certificate course, Natural Hazards for Insurers and instigator and deputy course director of a Masters programme in Geophysical Hazards.

Bill is a member of the Association of British Science Writers, a regular contributor to The Guardian newspaper, New Scientist, and BBC Focus magazine, and is on the editorial board of the latter. He has also written – amongst many other publications - for the Sunday Times, the Mail on Sunday, Geographical, Prospect, and Society Today. His popular science books include Apocalypse: a natural history of global disasters, Raging Planet: earthquakes, volcanoes and the tectonic threat to life on Earth, and A Guide to the End of the World: everything you never wanted to know (re-issued as Global Catastrophes: a very short introduction). In November 2005, he gave the prestigious Natural History Museum Annual Science Lecture. Bill is a much called-upon TV and radio pundit whenever a natural catastrophe strikes. He was heavily involved and appeared in two of the most popular programmes in the BBC2 Horizon series: Supervolcano and Megatsunami, and was the focus of the Carlton First Edition programme: Disasterman. He has also presented two series on BBC Radio 4, Disasters in Waiting and Scientists under Pressure, and a series of shorts for Channel 5 and Sky News Channel on End of the World scenarios. He was Chief Consultant for the major BBC science drama, Supervolcano, and was one of the key subjects of the highly rated Channel 4 ‘docudrama’, Krakatoa, and the award-winning The Wave that Shook the World, about the Asian tsunami. His latest books are - Surviving Armageddon: solutions for a threatened planet, published in June 2005, and Global Catastrophes: a very short introduction, published in January 2006. His new book, What Everyone Should Know about the Future of Our Planet, and what we can do about it, will be published in May 2007.

Information Source:


Seven Years to Save the Planet: The world's climate is on the rampage - is it too late to stop it?

Bill McGuire

30 Oct 2008; Science Oxford.

The future of the Earth's climate looks bleak - new research points to higher temperatures, bigger storms, more floods and the drowning of coastal towns and cities across the planet. Prof Bill McGuire, head of Europe's leading academic hazard research centre, explains that if we are to stop it from happening we may have less than 10 years to do something about it.



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