Bill McGuire

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Bill McGuire, Professor Bill (William Joseph) McGuire, born 1st December 1954, is a volcanologist and Professor of Geohazards at University College London. Professor McGuire is a regular media commentator on volcanoes, natural disasters and the dangers of human-made climate change. He was a Government adviser on the Icelandic volcanic ash problem in 2010. He is a fellow of the Royal Institute.

Industry Funding

The Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, of which Professor McGuire was director from 1997-2010, is funded by AON Benfield [1] “the world's premier reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor.” [2] In 2010 the company launched Aon Benfield Research, to co-ordinate its “academic and industry research relationships under one banner” and to expand its capabilities. [2]

Encompassed by and linked through this new initiative are a number of worldwide research establishments and industrial partners: Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, Aon Benfield Hazard Centre in Pretoria, ClimateWise, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Eurotempest, GFZ Potsdam, HR Wallingford, Lighthill Risk Network, NTU Singapore's Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management, Risk Frontiers, Spurr Consulting, Tropical Storm Risk and University of Western Ontario. [2]

To celebrate the launch in 2010, June was Aon Benfield Research Month. Research reports on catastrophe management and impact forecasting were presented alongside analysis from brokers to assist (re)insurers in interpreting the research quantifiably for their own industry costs. The inaugural event featured a presentation by Professor McGuire. [2]

Professor McGuire has also been a consultant on natural hazards and climate change for the HSBC group since 2006. [3]

Science Media Centre

Professor McGuire was a member of the scientific advisory board of the SMC from 2002-2012. He has provided comments on various science issues for the SMC during this time usually related to climate change. Professor McGuire’s employer UCL is a funder of SMC. He is also a member of the RI.



  • 1981-90: Lecturer in igneous petrology and geochemistry, West London Institute of HE (now Brunel University);
  • 1990-93: Lecturer, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of HE
  • 1993-95: Senior lecturer, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of HE
  • 1995-97: Reader in volcanology, Cheltenham and Gloucester
  • 1997-2012: Professor of geophysical and climate hazards University College London (UCL)
  • 1997-2010: Director, Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre
  • 2011-2012: Co-director, UCL Environment Institute
  • 2012- : Emeritus Professor of geophysical and climate hazards, UCL

Other appointments

  • 2006 - : Consultant on natural hazards and climate change, HSBC Group

Affiliations, awards and publications



  • 1976: Fellow of Geographical Society
  • 1993-1996: Chair Volcanic Studies Group, Geological Society of London
  • 1993-1996: UK national correspondent, International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, UK representative, European Volcanology Project Ctee European Science Foundation
  • 1997-1999: Member, Council Geological Society of London
  • 1993-1995: Member, UK panel International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (sec 1996-2000)
  • 2003: Fellow of Royal Institute
  • 2005: UK Government Natural Hazard Working Group, Lancet - UCL Commission on Climate Change and Global Health
  • 2010: UK Government Science Advisory Group Emergencies (Icelandic ash eruption)
  • 2010- : Advisory Board, Contraction and Convergence Foundation
  • 2012: Director, Warm Wet and Windy Peak Climate Change and Eco Festival Cromford Derbyshire
  • -2011: Member, Editorial Board: Disasters, BBC Focus Magazine Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Series A)
  • 2012-: Member Editorial Advisory Board Versita Earth Sciences open access jls and books
  • Member: Association of British Science Writers, American Geophysical Union


Author on 2011 IPCC report on climate change and extreme events. [4]



  • Waking the Giant (2012)
  • Apocalypse: a natural history of global disasters (1999)
  • Raging Planet: earthquakes, volcanoes and the tectonic threat to life on Earth (2002)
  • A Guide to the End of the World: everything you never wanted to know (2002)
  • Seven Years to Save the Planet: the Questions and Answers (2008)

Media appearances


  • 2000 Presenter: Disasters In Waiting (BBC Radio 4)
  • 2001 Scientists Under Pressure (BBC Radio 4)
  • 2005 Consultant, Supervolcano (BBC1) 2005
  • 2005 Annual science lecture Natural History Museum
  • 2007 Climate change: Britain under threat
  • 2009- Science adviser Footprint Friends
  • 2012 Roscoe Lecture (Liverpool John Moores Univ)
  • 2012 Gregynog Lecture (Univ of Aberystwyth)
  • 2013 Could we survive a mega-tsunami? (BBC 2)

A full list of Professor McGuire’s extensive film and television appearances is available at


  1. [1] Aon Benfield website, accessed 3 September 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 [Aon Benfield announces academic & industry research collaboration] ENP Newswire, 21 May 2010, accessed 3 September 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Professor Bill McGuire page Debrett’s website, accessed 3 September 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 [2] Bill McGuire’s own website, accessed 3 September 2013
  5. Bill McGuire IMDB, accessed 3 September 2013