United States Permafrost Association

Dmitry Streletskiy
President Elect
John Zarling
Past President
Thomas Douglas
Susan Wilson
Gerald Frost
Board Members
Cathy Wilson
John Thornley
IPA Representative
Fritz Nelson
Thomas Krzewinski
PYRN Representative:
Matthew Whitley

US Permafrost Association
PO Box 750141
Fairbanks, AK
Ph: 302-831-0852
Fax 302-831-6654

Frozen Ground
Frozen Ground 2018

USPA In Memoriam - Hugh M. French

The US permafrost community regretfully conveys the following news about our Canadian colleague and long standing member of the U.S.Permafrost Association:

Hugh M. French - Permafrost Researcher

In memoriam Hugh M. French former IPA (International Permafrost Association).

"The IPA is saddened to announce the sudden passing on May 11, 2019 in Victoria, B.C. of Dr. Hugh M. French, former Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor Emeritus in the departments of Geography, Environment and Geomatics and of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Hugh is internationally recognized as a specialist on periglacial processes and permafrost science. In a career as a professor that started with his first visit to the Arctic in 1967 and spanned 36 years, plus a further 16 years post-retirement, he wrote or co-wrote more than 160 publications covering topics such as ground ice formation and distribution, slope processes, natural and anthropogenic thermokarst, and frozen ground engineering. He was one of the most widely travelled geocryologists, publishing studies carried out in the Canadian High Arctic and Subarctic, the Tibet Plateau, Antarctica, and parts of Europe and the USA which experienced periglacial conditions during the Quaternary. He also supervised numerous graduate students, several of whom remain prominent in the field. His many other accomplishments included founding the journal Permafrost and Periglacial Processes which he edited for 16 years, and writing four editions of his textbook The Periglacial Environment over nearly 30 years, the last of which was published in 2017. Hugh played important roles in the International Permafrost Association helping found it in 1983 and subsequently as Vice-President (1993-1998) and President (1998-2003). He received the Roger J.E. Brown Award of the Canadian Geotechnical Society for outstanding contributions to permafrost science and engineering, the Award for Scholarly Distinction in Geography from the Canadian Association of Geographers and the International Permafrost Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Hugh was a lifetime member of the recently founded Canadian Permafrost Association and a great supporter of its goals. The Hugh M. French Award for outstanding contributions to permafrost science and/or periglacial geomorphology, which had already been named in his honour, will be awarded for the first time at the Eighth Canadian Permafrost Conference in Québec in August 2019. The IPA offers its sincere condolences to Hugh’s wife Jill, and his many friends and international colleagues. He will be missed."

Source: Toni Lewkowicz

Hugh was a principal organizer of the International Permafrost Association. Photograph of the participants at the organizing meeting of the IPA during the Fourth International Conference on Permafrost in July 1983 at the University of Alaska.

IPA Founders - Including Hugh M. French

Participants in the 1983 founding meeting of the IPA.

IPA Celebration, Hugh French and Fritz Nelson

A ceremony at the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost honored historically significant contributions to permafrost science and engineering, including the publication of Siemon Muller's lost manuscript (Frozen in Time). From left, standing, are: Jerry Brown (president of the International Permafrost Association); Hugh French and Fritz Nelson; and seated, from left, are Eric Muller (Siemon Muller's son), Louise and Oscar Ferrians, and Sherry Muller, June 30, 2008

Five IPA Presidents

Five IPA Presidents, Toni Lewkowicz, Hugh French, Hanne Christiansen, Jerry Brown, and Cheng Goudong, 7th Canadian Conferences on Permafrost, Québec, Canada, September 20-23, 2015.