The International Permafrost Association is proud to announce that the first IPA Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to Dr. J. Ross Mackay from Canada. The award will be formerly delivered to Dr. Mackay during a ceremony held at the Third European Conference on Permafrost in June 2010 in Longyearbyen.
With this award, the International Permafrost Association rewards its founding Secretary-General and one the greatest permafrost researchers alive.
Ross Mackay was born on 31 December 1915 in Formosa (Taiwan). He took his BA at Clark University (1939), and MA at Boston University (1941). He returned to academic work in 1946 after the war, with appointment as Assistant Professor at McGill University, while he completed his PhD at the University of Montreal (1949). In 1949 Ross Mackay moved to the University of British Columbia, where he has since remained.
In 1951 he began fieldwork in the western Arctic, spending the summer in the Paulatuk area and from 1954 to 2009, Dr. Mackay carried out fieldwork almost every year in the Mackenzie Delta area and adjacent regions and here made many of his observations on the development of ice-wedge polygons and other periglacial features. The fieldwork provided the basis for his emergence as the world authority on permafrost and ground ice.
J. Ross Mackay has published over 200 scholarly works and fifty of the papers were published after his formal “retirement” in 1980. He is identified internationally with the literature on pingos and ice wedges. He was elected President of both the Canadian Association of Geographers (1953-54) and Association of American Geographers (1969-70). He represented Canada as a founding member of the International Permafrost Association, acting as Secretary-General for 1983-93. He was appointed an Officer, Order of Canada in 1981. He was the first recipient of the Canada’s Centenary Medal for Northern Science. He has also received the Massey, Miller, and Logan medals. In 1986 the King of Sweden presented Ross with the Vega Medal, awarded internationally every two years since 1880. Ross is a Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, and a Foreign Fellow, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He has received five honorary degrees.
It is an honor, for the International Permafrost Association to grant its first lifetime achievement award to Dr. J. Ross Mackay.