Dr Edward (Ted) Irving, one of Canada's most respected geoscientists, died on 25 February 2014 in Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada, aged 86 years, leaving his wife, Sheila, children Katie, Susan, Martin and George, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. After his early work as a student at Cambridge, England, he moved first to Australia and then to Canada. Over more than 60 years his scientific career was devoted mainly to the use of magnetic remanence recorded in ancient rocks to address fundamental geological questions. This seemingly simple technology proved to have remarkably many applications. Through his measurements and analyses of rock samples that recorded the magnetic field at the time of their formation, Ted was in the forefront of demonstrating that continental drift was real, at a time when the theory was out of favour. His meticulous work on rocks from many areas of the world was instrumental in showing how continents have been constantly moving, breaking up and colliding to make new larger continents and then breaking up again. He published more than 200 articles in international scientific journals. His reference text Paleomagnetism and its applications to geological and geophysical problems is still widely used. Applying remanent magnetism to study the motion of continents, and to other important geological problems, required careful analyses and interpretations. These included showing that the secular change in the Earth's magnetic field direction averaged over time aligns with its rotation pole, that the Earth's magnetic field has reversed its polarity at irregular intervals of a few million years, and that overprinting by re-magnetizations of rocks at different geological times can be separated by special laboratory techniques. Other contributions included important research in ancient climates, continental glaciations, the origin of mountain systems, and the relative displacements of parts of continents (terranes), especially the inferred large northward movement of parts of western North America, a conclusion that remains controversial. His most important results depended critically on his developing and using the best field sampling methods, laboratory instrumentation and procedures, and methods of data analysis. During his career he established world-class palaeomagnetic laboratories in Cambridge and Canberra, and in Ottawa and Victoria in Canada. Ted Irving had broad interests and knowledge. He was a serious gardener and horticulturalist and wrote several scholarly articles on plants, especially on the biogeography of rhododendrons and magnolias. He received numerous awards and medals and wide recognition, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London, and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. He also received many awards and medals from professional geological societies. Ted Irving received honorary doctorates from three universities, and the Order of Canada, in recognition of his outstanding scientific contributions.
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